Apple and Pear Tartlets
Serves: 12 appetizers
Ingredients:Pastry crust (1 8” or 9” pre-baked shell):
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons cold all-vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisco)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 4 baking apples (Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious, Jonagold or McIntosh)
- 4 Ripe but firm Bosc pears
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground preferred
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cognac
Pie Crust Directions:
Cut butter into ¾” inch pieces and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
Place the Crisco in 1 tablespoon lumps into the food processor along wi6th the frozen butter pieces. Pulse about 8 times (1-second pulses), or until the dough appears slightly yellow and pebbly in texture and the butter is reduced to very small pieces, the size of tiny peas or smaller.
Put mixture into a medium bowl.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture. With the blade of a large rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, then press down on dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more water if dough will not come together. Work slowly, mixing the dough to evenly distribute the water. This should take about 1 minute. The dough should be very wet and sticky at this point. It is better to add too much water than too little.
Shape dough into a ball with your hands, turn onto a lightly floured surface, and flatten into 4” wide disk. Dust very lightly with flour, wrap in plastic,, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
If dough has spent more than 1 hour in the refrigerator, let warm up a few minutes on the counter before proceeding. Roll out dough and place into pan/molds. Push dough gently down the sides of the pan. Trim dough around edge of pan, leaving a ½” border. Fold excess dough underneath the edge of the dough and shape edge using fingers or press with the tines of a fork.
Place in refrigerator for at least 40 minutes. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
Apple / Pear filling Directions:
Make pastry crust and prepare tartlet pans.
Peel and core the apples and pears. Cut the fruit into thin slices that will fit into the tartlets. Toss with fresh lemon juice and cognac. Place fruit into a covered baking dish and cover dish.
Preheat an oven to 375 degree F.
Bake crusts on lower rack for 21 minutes or until dough sets up and loses its wet soft texture – use foil and pie weights as needed. Remove foil / pie weights and bake for another 7 minutes or until crust just turning golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium-high heat, combine ¼ cup of the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the water, ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the syrup from the heat and add to baking dish with fruit.
Cover and bake until nearly tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover, baste with pan juices and bake until easily pierced, about 15 minutes longer.
Place the baked fruit into prepared tartlet shells. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before server. Let tartlets get to room temperature.
To serve: Place tartlets on a baking sheet and broil for 1 minute to warm them up and finish browning. Serve immediately.