Recipe for Szarlotka (Polish Apple Tart)

Ingredients

PASTRY:
2 1/2 cup cake flour; sifted (sift
1 ; before measuring)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground mace
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tb 1% milk
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

FILLING:
2 lb apples (about 5); peeled
1 ; quartered, cored, and cut
1 ; into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch ground cloves

Instructions

Pastry: In a large mixing bowl, stir together cake flour, sugar, cinnamon, mace, and salt. With a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles fine meal. In a measuring cup, combine 1/4 c milk, egg yolk, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the egg mixture and stir with a fork until just incorporated. Divide the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. Press to flatten into discs, wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Filling: Place apples in a wide skillet over medium heat; cover the pan. Cook until the apples start to sizzle; then reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, covered, stirring the apples frequently, until they are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in sugar and spices. Remove from the heat and mash the apples with the side of a large spoon to make a chunky puree. Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble: Set oven rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 9-inch tart or springform pan or an 8-inch square baking pan, or coat with a nonstick cooking spray. On a well-floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle or square about 11 inches across. Loosely roll the pastry around the rolling pin; unroll into the prepared pan, pressing it to fit the sides of the pan without stretching. Spread the cooled apple puree over the dough.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the remaining pastry into a circle or square about 9 inches across. cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Carefully lift the strips with a metal spatula and arrange them in a lattice patern over the apple puree (place half the strips parallel in one direction, then arrange the remaining strips parallel in the other direction). Gently press the strips to adhere to the edges. Trim the edges of the pastry. Brush the lattice with the remaining 1 tb. milk.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the pan sides and cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle the top with confectioners' sugar.





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