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Country-Style Brandied Apple and Dried Cherry Tart

Country-Style Brandied Apple and Dried Cherry Tart
Graceful-looking and easy to assemble, this free-form tart is baked on a baking sheet. It has an all-butter crust, although it can be made with half butter and half solid vegetable shortening. If dried cherries are not available, substitute dried cranberries.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into
      small pieces
  • 6 to 7 Tbs. ice water

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup dried pitted cherries
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 3 lb. Golden Delicious or other baking apples
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions:

To make the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle with the ice water, 1 Tbs. at a time, tossing lightly with a fork until the dough comes together in a loose ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap in aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small bowl, combine the cherries and brandy. Cover and let stand until plump, about 30 minutes.

Peel, core and quarter the apples, then cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Place in a large bowl, add the cherries and brandy, and toss to coat. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and flour, then sprinkle over the apples.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F. Lightly butter a large baking sheet.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a round 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Carefully drape it over the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the apples on top of the crust, mounding them slightly in the center and leaving a 3 to 4-inch border uncovered. Fold up the crust edges to cover the apples partially, leaving the center uncovered.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the apple mixture is bubbly, about 40 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Carefully transfer to a serving platter or tray. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift confectioners' sugar over the top. Cut into wedges to serve.
Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).