A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ~Author Unknown
That’s my friend Connie Davila. We’ve grown-up together. We met in our twenties and have shared a thirty-seven year friendship. Rain or shine, Connie has always been in my corner. She has been my sounding board, she asks questions that shows she’s interested in what I’m doing, and gives me praise for taking the initiative to do something new. For sure, I’ve come up with some hair-brained ideas, but she’s stuck with me with the same attitude that reads like the bumper sticker, “Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies!”
We don’t keep track of who did what for whom last. If we don’t talk for several weeks, nobody gets bent out of shape. Connie and I are low-maintenance friends in each other’s lives. We just pick up where we left off. So it was no surprise when I called her to inquire if she would be willing to “take one for the team” and be a taste-tester for my Apple Crumb Tart. She didn’t hesitate, “Yes! When are you coming over?”
I arrived at her house, tart in hand, and she began the tedious task of eating the apple tart. What I learned that day is that Connie really savors her food. She takes a bite, closes her eyes, and seems to go into a food-induced coma! We laughed so hard and chatted so much and 32 snapshots later, I finally had the perfect, eyes-open, picture. When that happened, the clouds parted, and the angels sang “Ahhhh!”
The Apple Crumb Tart morphed from a pie recipe. The recipe was given to me by my late, dear friend, Patricia Lee Thompson who made the best Apple Crumb Pie!
Apple Crumb Tart
8-10 pared, cored and sliced apples (a mix of two types of apples)
(I use a mix of any type of apple as my first choice, but I always use McIntosh as my second apple)
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
Combine sugar, flour, spices. Mix with apples. Line your tart pans with pastry. Fill with apple mixture. Dot with small dabs of butter. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top of the apples. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until done.
Basic Flaky Pie Pastry (a double batch)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
½ cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
½ cup cold water
To make with an electric mixer: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter, tossing it with the flour. With the mixer on low speed, blend the butter into the flour until you have what looks like coarse, damp meal, with both large and small clumps. Add the shortening and repeat. Turning the mixer on and off, add half of the water. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the remaining water, mixing slowly until the dough starts to form large clumps. If you’re using a stand mixer, stop periodically to stir the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix. I make the pastry in my stand mixer, or you can also even make it in your food processor.
Using your hands, pack the pastry into a ball (or 2 balls for a double batch) as you would pack a snowball. Knead each ball once or twice, then flatten the balls into 3/4-inch-thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling into your tart pans.
TIP: This dough freezes well for up to a month. If you have leftover dough, or if you plan to use the dough in the future just wrap each disk in plastic, then in aluminum foil. Take the dough out of the freezer the day before you plan to use it and let it thaw in the fridge.
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter
Combine all ingredients, mix in butter until mixture is crumbly (fork can be used for mixing mixture). Sprinkle over apple tarts before baking.