I saw my first apples of the season this week at Volante Farms in Needham, Massachusetts this week. They were lovely little Pristines, a great American variety that was introduced to the market in 1994. Pristines are unusually good keepers for early season apples and they have a nice acidity with pear-like flavor.
Now, some of you may feel that it’s too early to be talking about apples, with all the ripe blueberries and peaches in the market. But I’m always happy to see the local apples come around again. And I happen to have a recipe for a late summer apple-raspberry tart in my book, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook (W.W. Norton). It’s a great way to deliciously combine two fruits that aren’t usually paired together, and it’s quite simple to make. (Incidentally, Pristines are usually recommended for eating fresh, not for baking, but because this tart spends about 35 minutes in the oven, I think I’m going to try them anyway).
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time
Active time: 45 minutes
For the crust:
1¼ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
9 tablespoons (126 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) ice water
For the filling:
3 large early season apples, such as Gravenstein or Pink Pearl (about 1½ pounds total; see Apple Notes), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¾ cup (130 g) fresh raspberries
First, make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Sprinkle the butter cubes on top and use your fingers to work them in (you want to rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do). Stop when the mixture looks
like cornmeal with some pea-sized bits of butter remaining (try to work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt). Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water on top and stir with a fork until the dough just begins to come together. If needed, add one more tablespoon ice water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just enough to fully combine—three times should do it. Gather into a ball, then press into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and set a rack to the second-to-bottom position. In a large bowl, gently toss the apple slices with the brown sugar and lemon juice. Set aside. Unwrap the dough and put it in the center of a large piece of parchment paper. Cover with a second piece of parchment paper. Roll out the dough, working from the center, until you have a 10½- inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of parchment and carefully transfer the dough to a tart pan, peeled side down. Peel off the remaining parchment and press the dough into the sides of the pan. Drape any excess over the edge, then run a rolling pin over the edge to trim.
Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Arrange apple slices over the crust, then dot with raspberries. Pour juices from the bowl over the fruit. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are soft, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 8 servings