Sunday, October 7, 2007

apple tart in two parts/part one

We are in a strange but lovely season. October already and still the days are hot and the temperatures high with no rain, except an occasional burst. The gardens keep growing, the flowers still blooming, trees still laden withe apples, but there are leaves changing and everything looks stretched a little too thinly as if exhausted by August and early September's full-blown show, and the trees, grasses, black-eyed susan's, and flox are digging down deep to keep on going.

This is more or less how we feel at the restaurant. Foliage season is fiercely upon us and the town of Woodstock has never looked so pedestrian. Bumper to bumber traffic, foot to foot visitors pounding the pavement, in our little three blocks of town. All the restaurants and inns are booked with more and more inquiries every day. One feels somehow deficient and gets tired of saying, "No." The tables have been full with a healthy mix of those brave locals willing to come to town and happy vacationers. Mostly happy. There are always the seasonal snafus, and the surly diners. We try to weather them with grace.

The apples from our own trees are almost exhausted as well, so we have started to forage from a few wild trees in secret spots. Like mushroom hunters who'd never tell where to find their prized perigord or porcini, we sneak off to hidden sources, and pick the green apples with the red blush. To bite into them fresh is enough to get us through the day, the flesh tart and crisp and full of delicate flavor. A mixture of both our own and these wild apples make their way into our fresh tarts made with a baked pastry cream. They are balm to the weary traveler and the weary worker alike.

Pasta Frolla for Four 8 inch Crusts

Our tart recipe will come in two parts as you must make the tart crust first. We make a batch of four crusts at a time, and recommend the same. You can freeze the other three crusts because who doesn't want to always have a tart crust on hand?

1 1/5 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt, scant
1 lb. butter, soft
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice
5 1/2 c. flour

Cream the sugar, salt, butter; add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and mix very well. (Frolla comes from frollare in the Italian and means to beat well.). Add flour and salt and beat until just uniform. Roll out to the thickness of a pencil and mold into tart pans.

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