There are photos of pink apples all over the internet! And I can’t get my hands on them, because they aren’t local. What to do? Create my own pink apples by poaching them in red wine!
I love the variation of flavor in this apple tart, it is a distinct departure from apple and pumpkin spiced foods while still using what is in season and local to me. It is also easy to put together and very time flexible as well. Prepare your tart crust and poached apples beforehand and assemble the tart the next day. Also, by slicing your apples before poaching, you cut down on the time it takes to put it together.
You can use any type of dry or sweet wine to poach fruit in, but keep in mind if you use a dry wine you may need more sugar for the poaching liquid. Taste it. If you think it needs more flavor try adding a pinch of salt first, then add more sugar one or two teaspoons at a time.
If you don’t have any wine try poaching in cranberry, cherry or pomegranate juice or apple juice with some berries or cherries added for color. Just leave out the added sugar unless it needs a little AFTER reducing. A teaspoon or two of honey added to your juice reduction will add some complexity to the syrup to make up for the lack of wine. Taste before and after adding to get your perfect level of sweetness.
1 cup wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2-3 green cardamom pods (crack the shell to expose it to the liquid)
1 whole star anise pod
2-3 medium apples, sliced (I used Stayman Winesap, choose an apple variety that is fresh, local to you and good for baking, keeps shape but softens and has a slightly tart flavor)
Place wine, water, sugar, spices and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and place apple slices in the liquid. Let simmer gently in the poaching liquid for 5 minutes. Remove apples from the liquid, place in a bowl and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble tart.
If you want soft apples, poach them longer; piercing them with the tip of a knife will clue you in to their texture. If the knife goes in easy, they are soft. I like for my apples to have texture since they are being baked. If you like soft apples in your apple pie, poach away!
Keep the poaching liquid simmering gently until reduced to syrup consistency. Reduced by half, you should have about 1/2 to 2/3 cup syrup. Remove spices, let cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
You’ll notice I left the skin on my apples, I like the color of the skin after they’ve been poached. I also like the contrast in texture it provides. If you’re not using organic apples or don’t like the texture, go ahead and skin them.
Prepare crust for the tart.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ice cold water
Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut the butter and shortening in with a pastry cutter or fork (or pulse in food processor) until mixture is crumbly (like little pea sized crumbs).
Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to come together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just enough to form a ball. If it’s not coming together, add another tablespoon of water. Flatten ball to a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before rolling out.
Poached Apple Tart
2 cups poached apple slices
1 recipe perfect crust
1 cup unsweetened applesauce*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, stirred with fork
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll the crust out on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness – use any shape desired. Brush the crust with egg, then sprinkle the flour and sugar over it. Top with the applesauce, coming just 2-3 inches from the edge.
Dot with butter evenly. Now arrange your poached apple slices over the top and fold the edge in over the filling. Seal and brush edges with egg wash.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
If you want a shiny finish on your tart, brush it with a clear mild flavored jelly (like apple) that has been gently heated to liquid. Brush the jelly over the fruit only, while the tart is still warm.
Cool completely before serving if you’ve glazed the tart with jelly. If you left it natural, serve it warm! Serve with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream and extra poached apples, drizzle the poaching syrup over the top.
Recipe will make one 8 to 9 inch square or circle tart.
*Use store bought unsweetened applesauce or make your own by simmering skinned, cored apple quarters in a saucepan with a little water and cinnamon until soft.