Summer fruits give way to apple treats

I’ve gorged on the absolutely fabulous local summer fruits – juicy peaches, blushing apricots, and red, yellow and purple plums.

While my Facebook friends post pictures of their kids on Lake Winnipesaukee, I post pictures of lattice-topped blueberry pies, apricot tarts and peach crostata. I get even more "likes" than the darling kids!

Now, I have the dilemma of the early apples arriving while the big, sweet peaches are still calling to me. After all, the peach season is a fleeting few weeks, while the myriad of early, medium and late apples will be available for months.

I had my first Mac a couple weeks ago – tiny and not quite ready for prime time. Then, the ginger golds arrived – one of my favorites when they first debut – crisp, yellow with a slight blush, and tart.

My local orchard had me when the honey crisp showed up last week. Fickle woman am I; bye-bye peach crostata and hello apple tart.

I love the way the varieties roll out – Paula red, cortland, macoun, delicious, gala, empire, matsu, Granny Smith. These are only the common varieties – many orchards offer upward of 20 varieties, with suggestions on which ones are best for baking or eating.

Let’s face it – do you know anyone who would turn down a luscious apple dessert? Apple pie is the all time fave. But there’s one big problem with it: Mom’s apple pie. Everyone has a memory of the best apple pie they ever ate, and no other version, regardless of how many blue ribbons earned, can ever be as good as Mom’s.

Try this homey Apple tart, post a picture of it on Facebook and count the "likes!" Honestly, I have made this tart dozens of times, and everyone is crazy for it.

There’s no better event to sample the abundance and tradition of apples in our area than the Hollis Apple Festival at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, in Monument Square in the center of Hollis. The Hollis Woman’s Club and the Hollis Town Band team up to provide lively music, apple crisp and Doc Davis ice cream, and fun activities for the whole family.

APPLE TART

Crust

1¼ cups flour

½ cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter

3 tbsp. whipping cream

3 tbsp. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Filling

About 1½ pounds baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced into ¼-inch slices (Jonamac, honey crisp, mutsu)

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup whipping cream

¼ cup flour

3 egg yolks

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla

For Crust

Butter a 9-inch round tart pan with removable bottom or 9-inch pie pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, butter, cream, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in food processor, or using a pastry blender or your hands; blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you want little lumps of butter remaining – not completely smooth).

Transfer ½ cup of the mixture to a small bowl and blend in remaining 2 tbsp. brown sugar. This is the streusel mixture that will go on top of the tart.

Press remainder of the crust mixture into the bottom and sides of the tart or pie pan. Bake until crust is lightly browned – about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 350 degrees.

Filling

Mix together sugar, cream, flour, egg yolks, lemon juice,and vanilla. Pour filling into crust.

Arrange apples in a circle on top of filling and sprinkle with reserved crust mixture. Bake until filling is set and apples are tender, about 40-50 minutes. Check to make sure it isn’t burning, but the apples need to be tender.

Garnish with ice cream or whipped cream.