This past Saturday in Boston was one of those fall days where you just want to stay inside: damp, cold, windy, and overcast. After an active morning of participating in an Urban Raid event (scaling walls and jumping over hurdles and flipping tires and the like), Ruby and I settled inside to drink tea and waste our afternoons baking the epitome of fall baked goods: pie.
As this was a somewhat impromptu baking experience, we put together an apple-pear-peach-cranberry filling (i.e. all the leftover fruit from my fridge and freezer) for a simple pie crust in a rustic galette style (read: lazy).
In fact, I really enjoyed how the filling turned out: the different apples and pears lent their various textures to keep the filling soft but not sloppy, and the cranberry sauce at the bottom was evenly distributed to allow for some sweetness and sharpness with each bite. With respect to the crust, I’d recommend adding a bit more than two tablespoons of water, and adding an egg wash if you want the crust to look really gorgeous and shiny – but I found the amount of salt to be a perfect complement to the flavors of the filling.
We hodge-podged a few recipes together to make our creation – I’ve done my best to give credit where credit is due below. Enjoy!
Crust from Serious Eats
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
8 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water (cold water from the tap worked for us)
Cranberry sauce from Chowhound
8 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (we used frozen)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
Fruit: really whatever you want! We used:
5 apples (mix of small Macouns and medium sized Cortland)
1/3 of a peach
1 teaspoon cornstarch
First, put together the crust (as this will have to chill before assembly!). Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the butter and mix (either with a pastry cutter, or with fingertips as Ruby did here) until there’s no visible butter remaining – I’ve heard pea-sized chunks or slightly larger is the right size.
Add the first two tablespoons of water and mix into dough until it forms a single mass. If it’s still quite dry and floury, add up to one more tablespoon. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap (or parchment paper) and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
At this time, preheat the oven to 415 F (this was our attempt to compromise between two recipes) and adjust the rack to the middle.
For the cranberry sauce: dump all ingredients in a pot.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat (useful to keep the lid on for this first step). Remove the lid, lower the heat to medium, and stir occasionally until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken considerably when it cools. Remove from heat and cool – the closer the room temperature, the better. That being said, we stuck ours in the freezer for 5 minutes, got impatient, stirred it for three minutes to release more of the heat, and then went ahead in putting it on our crust.
While the cranberry sauce is bubbling away, cut up the fruit and mix in the cornstarch. Obviously, above is a rough recommendation – and if you’re using a wetter mixture of fruits (more pears than apples, for example) I’d add up to another half teaspoon of cornstarch. We ended up using 4/5 of the prepared fruit and ¾ of the cranberry sauce in filling our tart.
Assembly: roll out the dough as large as you can in a rough circle (12-14 inches is a good width to aim for). You’ll likely need to flour your rolling pin and surface lightly. Slide the crust onto the baking sheet atop a piece of parchment paper. Dollop on the cranberry sauce and spread in a circle, leaving about 2 inches around the edge. Mound the fruit mixture on top – remember that the fruit will shrink as it cooks, so be generous!
Fold the edges up around the fruit, keeping in mind that the cranberry sauce will reliqueify during baking and leak through any cracks that extend down to the bottom of the crust. No worries if any cracks do pop up – just rip a small piece of dough of an edge to patch (the beauty of rustic tarts!).
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the fruit looks cooked and the crust has just started to get some goldeny-brown edges. Wait as long as you can to avoid burning your tongue on the hot fruit and cranberry sauce, then dig in!