I love apples. I say this knowing full well that it is not yet apple season. Apple season is half about the apples and half about the return of the crisp chill to the air and the wonderful smell of leaves burning. Even down here in Nashville, where fall doesn’t really arrive until October, the signs of apple season are remarkably similar to my home town of Rochester. So here I am in the middle of a steamy southern summer and I’m craving apples. And not just apples but apples in pastry.
I know it’s bad. I know I should be craving peach cobbler or strawberry shortcake or something that is in season. But I’m not – and grocery stores carry apples year round for a reason. And as I stared at those grocery stores apples, I started thinking…. Over a year ago, I developed an original recipe to enter my very first cooking contest. I never did hear from Southern Living so I can only assume that my Rustic Apple Tart with Manchego Cheese Short Crust was not up to snuff for their contest, but C asks for it regularly so I figured I would throw eating locally out the window and appease not only my husband but my cravings as well.
The key ingredient to this recipe – aside from the apples and Manchego cheese – is the honey. If you like apples and cheese you can find any number of recipes for pastries that bring them together. In my opinion, the addition of the honey into the short crust – and as a garnish – ties together the tartness of the apples and the salty cheesiness of the Manchego with a sweetness that is not overpowering.
I know it’s not humble to say, since I wrote this recipe, but I love this dish. That said, I love just about anything with apples, but this time the Apple Tart with Manchego Cheese Short Crust assuaged my apple pastry craving. And already my thoughts are turning to those wonderfully ripe peaches I see at the farmers market – maybe peach cobbler will be my next craving….
Apple Tart with Manchego Cheese Short Crust
1/4 – 1/2 c. of ice water
1 T. of Honey
2 and ¼ c. All Purpose Flour
1/2 c. finely shredded Manchego Cheese
1 T. Domino Sugar
1 t. Salt
3/4 c. butter
1 egg yolk
3 Granny Smith Apples
1 T. Sugar
1. T. Butter
Cinnamon & Nutmeg (optional)
Shaved Manchego Cheese
Making the Manchego Cheese Short Crust
Add 1 T. of honey to a 1/2 a cup of ice water and stir vigorously until dissolved. Set aside.
Combine the 2 1/4 c. of AP Flour with 1/2 c. of finely shredded Manchego cheese and pulse until smooth. Add the T. sugar and t. of salt and pulse to combine. Either in the food processor or in a separate bowl add the cold butter and combine until crumbly. Toss in a lightly beaten egg yolk. Then slowly add the honey water until the crust begins to come together being careful not to add too much water. Gather the dough together in a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a half hour.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel, core and slice 3 Granny Smith apples. After dough has refrigerated for a half hour, place the dough on a floured work surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness into a rough circle. Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Pile as many of the apple slices as possible into the center of the dough, leaving several inches around the edge of the dough. Sprinkle the apples with a T. of sugar. Fold up the edges of the dough onto the apples. Dot the exposed apples with a T. of butter. Place in the 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden. If you like cinnamon or nutmeg you can sprinkle a dash of the spices over the top of the exposed apples.
Let cool for a half an hour if served warm or longer if served cold. To serve – slice wedges from the tart and drizzle liberally with honey and shave thin slices of Manchego Cheese as a garnish.