Just in time for the holidays, Snowpocalypse 2008 descended upon us this weekend. Outside, everything is smothered in a deep pile of white fluffy snow, which I have to admit is much more enjoyable when going outside is entirely optional.
Meanwhile, the festive menu planning continues apace in my cozy little oasis of warmth and light. An order for our Christmas goose has been placed at Blackstone (the local hoity-toity butcher shop), the stuffing recipe is en route from Montreal with Mumsy Dearest at this very moment, and the shopping list continues to grow exponentially.
As I type, there’s a batch of Chunky Orange Pomegranate Marmalade bubbling on the stove, a cat purring on my lap (who will be rather miffed when I displace her in a moment to go stir my jam), and a mug of hot tea. All is well with the world.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and restful holiday, from my kitchen to yours.
3/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp ice water
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tbsp sugar
dash of nutmeg
6 medium-sized apples, preferably Granny Smith
2 tbsp brandy or apple liqueur
Cinnamon, for garnish
To prepare the shell:
Using a food processor, pulse walnuts and sugar together until finely chopped. Add flour, salt and butter; continue pulsing until the mixture is the texture of fine meal. Pour in ice water and pulse 3-4 times or until mixture begins to come together.
Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of six 4″ mini tart pans with removable fluted rims. Prick the bottom several times with a fork. Cover and place in refrigerator to chill for 30-60 minutes.
Once chilled, remove the shells from the refrigerator and line with foil, then fill foil with pie weights (dried beans or uncooked rice do the trick nicely as well, if you don’t happen to keep pie weights around). Preheat oven to 425F and bake the shell for 5 minutes. Remove , and continue baking for 5 minutes longer to crisp. Set aside on a rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350F.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar and nutmeg. Zest the lemon and stir in 1 tbsp of zest into the sour cream mixture. Cut the lemon into quarters and set aside.
Peel and core the apples. Cut each apple into thin slices, rubbing the lemon quarters onto the cut surfaces as you go to prevent the apple from browning. Place apple slices in a large bowl and gently toss with brandy until evenly coated.
Divide the sour cream mixture between the cooled shells. Top the sour cream mixture with apple slices, working in a circle and overlapping each slice over 3/4 of the previous slice to create a rosette pattern (the middle of the tart should be somewhat higher than the edges at this point).
Arrange the tarts on a baking sheet and bake in 350F oven for 25-30 minutes or until apples are tender but not yet browned. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon and serve with a scoop of maple-walnut ice cream.