Apple Pear Tartlets

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The crispness in the air that fall ushers in means many things at my house, but there is one certainty: Apple pie makes its triumphant return.  I admit, though, that apple pie is far from my favorite fall inspired dessert.  Give me all things pumpkin spiced.  Give me pears aplenty.  Give me a raw apple, but hold the crust and cinnamon, please.

Apple pie tends to be a labor of love for me.  A dessert that I make for those around me that I love and who share their love with both me and apple pie.

This year, however, I decided to mix it up.  I knew there had to be a way that I could provide the crusty, cinnamon doused apple goodness that my fiancé and others around me love and find myself able to enjoy it as well.  And presto!  I devised Apple Pear Tartlets.

What makes these tartlets so superior to your typical apple pie?  Well, first, they’re tartlets, and I think we all know that desserts are just better in miniature.  Their small size also means that they pack an ample amount of flaky crust in each bite verses the experience you get with pie.  Secondly, by adding pear to the mix, the flavor palate is dramatically expanded.  Two amazing fall fruits packed into the perfect two bite dessert?  Sign me up.

Also, these tartlets do not require a large amount of fruit – two apples and one pear is all you need!  This means that if you just have some leftover fruit hanging about, why not make something delicious with them?

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Apple Pear Tartlets
Makes 24 tartlets

Ingredients

Crust
2 1/2 cups organic flour
1 1/4 teaspoon pink sea salt
1/2 cup ice water
1 cup unsalted butter – should be well chilled and cut into small squares
Egg wash – one beaten egg yolk combined with one tablespoon water

Filling
Two Granny Smith apples
One Red Pear
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar – depending on your taste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon flour

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Chop apples and pears into very small pieces.  Set aside.
  3. Combine salt, butter, and flour in your standing mixer using the paddle attachment.  Mix for approximately one minute until well blended.  Gradually add the ice water into the mixture and blend until just combined.  Be careful not to over blend.  You will see small dots of butter in the mixture.
  4. Remove dough from mixer.  Blend together with your hands.  Separate the dough into two balls – one for the first batch of tartlets, one for the second.  Place the one dough ball in the refrigerator and the other on an amply floured work surface.
  5. Roll the dough on your work surface into a circular area.  Should be very thin.
  6. Using a circular cutter or even a 1/2 cup measuring cup, begin cutting small circles in the dough.
  7. Transfer each circle to a fluted mini tartlet pan and press in.  To make 24 tartlets, your fluted pan should have 12 sections.
  8. Once the pan cavities are filled dough, set them aside.
  9. In a large bowl, combine all your filling ingredients.  Mix well.
  10. Place a small amount of filling in each tartlet cavity.  The filling should stand just above the top of the pan.
  11. Using the dough, create a ball and roll flat.  Using a table knife, cut small lines of dough to create a mini lattice crust.
  12. Delicately and carefully place the lattice pieces across the top of each tartlet.  (If they break, don’t worry!  Just roll the dough in your hand to recombine the two broken pieces.  These are too small to require absolute perfection.)
  13. Once all your tartlets have their lattice tops, place in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Repeat and make 12 more.  (You’ll need them.  Trust me.)

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Baking Notes:

While experimenting with this recipe, I used conventionally grown apples and pears and organic versions.  The organic fruits bursted with flavor notes that the conventionally grown fruit simply didn’t.  I’m a big believer in using organic fruits in baking.  The results speak for themselves.  And because this recipe requires a small amount of fruit, it is an affordable recipe to try using organic fruits with.

You can use other apple or pear types with this recipe, but I found that Granny Smith apples provided that great apple bite.  And when combined with Red Pears – much sweeter and softer than your typical green Anjou variety – it makes a wonderful combination.

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3 thoughts on “Apple Pear Tartlets

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