By Anna Pump
There’s nothing better than New Jersey apples in the fall. When I lived in Frenchtown, my family and I would drive along the back roads to find the best orchards for apple picking. Today, my son, Harm, who lives in Stockton, frequents Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick (pick your own through October) and Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown (the farm stand is open through Thanksgiving).
There are 30 different varieties of apples grown in New Jersey. My favorites are Cortland, McIntosh, and Winesap — the oldest variety in the state, dating back to the 1700s. I usually use McIntosh apples for my apple tart because they break down nicely. This dessert is a fall favorite at Loaves and Fishes and is easy to make. It is an old family recipe that never fails.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp cold butter, diced into cubes
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 tbsp cold water
3 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, halved, and cored
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 tbsp water
Crust: Place the flour, sugar, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the cubes of butter. Pulse 5 times. Add the egg yolk and, with the motor running, add the water. Process until the dough is crumbly. Remove from bowl and, by hand, knead the pastry into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Roll the pastry into a 12-inch round. Fit it into a 9-inch round tart pan. Prick the bottom liberally with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.
Filling: Place the apples, cut-side down, on a cutting board. Retaining their shape, cut each apple downward into very thin slices. Keeping the sliced apple intact, carefully transfer it to the pastry shell. Slant the apple slightly so the cuts are just visible. Continue in the same manner with the remaining apple halves until the pastry shell is covered and piled high with apples. Dot with the butter, sprinkle with the sugar, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the apples are just cooked and are a nice brown color. Cool for 15 minutes.
Glaze: In saucepan, heat the apple jelly with the water. Brush the glaze over the apple tart. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Anna Pump, a former resident of Frenchtown, is the proprietor of Loaves and Fishes in the Hamptons and the author of The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook, Country Weekend Entertaining, and most recently, Summer on a Plate.