I love this rustic apple tart because it’s so forgiving. You don’t need to fuss about it. It has quickly become one of my favorite easy desserts.
Jackie from WNEP’s Home & Backyard recently gave me a challenge. Come up with a recipe inspired by the 17th century for an upcoming episode.
I immediately started researching colonial recipes. Just what did the early colonists eat back in the 1600’s? One thing that kept coming up were pies. They ate a lot of pies. Meat pies. Veggie pies. Fruit pies. The reason being, they were easy to eat and they were baked in their own vessel — the pie shell.
I decided I would make a Rustic Apple Tart for the segment. I learned a lot from my research. Here were some interesting facts I learned about the 17th century:
- While pies were very common, the colonists rarely ate the dough. It was usually very thick and very hard.
- Pie shells were called “coffins” — sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?!
- The only apples native to America in the 1600’s were crab apples. The apples that we eat today were brought over from Europe.
- The first apple orchards didn’t produce much fruit because there were no honey bees in colonial America. They had to be brought over from Europe too.
- 17th century apple pies were seasoned with cloves, saffron and rosewater.
Interesting, right? I thought so.
I took the concept of a rustic apple tart and modernized it a but. I traded the saffron, cloves and rosewater for brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. And, I made the crust light and flaky, so you could eat it. Jackie and I had a great time making these Rustic Apple Tarts. They really are easy desserts to whip up.
Easy Desserts: Rustic Apple Tart
Compliments of It’s a Keeper
3 cups flour
12 Tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup ice water
- Combine flour, butter, shortening and salt in a food processor.
- Slowly drizzle in ice water.
- Pulse in food processor until dough forms a ball.
- Remove dough from processor, divide into two equal parts and wrap each in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Apple Filling Ingredients:
4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted
- Combine apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Roll out one disc of refrigerated pastry to about 10″ in diameter. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, imperfections make it more rustic.
- Transfer pastry to a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Pour apple mixture into middle of pastry, leaving about 1 inch around the entire circle.
- Fold up the edges around the filling.
- Brush edge of pastry and filling with melted butter.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and apples have softened.
- Allow tart to cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.
For more recipe inspiration, be sure to check out these pages on It’s a Keeper: