For Thanksgiving this year, I'm meeting my family in Naperville, Illinois, at my aunt and uncle's house. We're going to spend the holiday with family [that we don't get to see nearly enough] and shopping our little hearts out on Black Friday. Oh, IN CHICAGO!!
If I haven't mentioned it before, take note. Chicago is by far my most favorite city I have visited to date. Yes, I've done a fair amount of travel in my twenty-some years, but I obviously haven't been everywhere. However, Chicago tops my list as of November 15, 2011 ☺ So needless to say, but I'll say it anyway!, I'm beyond excited for this years Thanksgiving. It's bound to be a wonderful few days.
Anywho, since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I know most of you are scrambling around figuring out what to make for the oh-so-important holiday dinner. So of course I want to hand out a couple of perfect Thanksgiving dessert recipes, but not just the classics. But something with a twist. How about an Apple Tart with a Cheddar Cheese Crust? Try that on for size.
There's a couple of reasons I think this is a most fabulous recipe for this year's holidays. One, it's unique. Cheddar cheese in the crust? In a dessert?! Yes, your read right. That's exactly what I typed. And it's ah-mazing. The cheese itself is rather subtle, but it adds a slight saltiness to the crust and sweet filling that complements the entire tart just right.
Second? It's EASY PEASY! As I've been reading through blogs lately, I've noticed the trepidation many have when it comes to pie crusts. Well here's my solution! Yes, you do have to make the crust, but the recipe is quite forgiving and there's no shaping to pans or crimping of crusts. Just a slab of flakey, buttery, slightly cheddary, free-form crust gently tucking in a cinnamoney-apple filling. Delish? I think so .
- If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender or your finger tips to make the crust.
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, chilled and grated
2-2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, chilled
4 to 6 tbsp. cold water
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2-1/2 lbs. assorted baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. apricot preserves
1 tsp. water
- For crust, in food processor, add cheese, flour, sugar, and salt and combine using on-off pulses. Add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing just until mixture forms a dough. Gather dough together and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 16-inch circle. Wrap pastry circle around rolling pin and transfer to baking sheet (pastry will hang over edges).
- For filling, in large bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add apples and lemon juice; toss gently to coat.
- Mound apple mixture in center of pastry, leaving about 3-inches from edges. Fold uncovered pastry up over filling, pleating pastry as needed to create a round tart. Brush top of pastry with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown (if necessary, cover tart loosely with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent overbrowning).
- Meanwhile, in small saucepan, combine apricot preserves and water. Cook and stir over low heat until preserves are melted. Brush melted preserves over apples. Let tart cool slightly before serving.