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Open-faced apple-streusel tart

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
September 30, 2009

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Serves 8

Most home bakers are intimidated by the idea of making flaky, tender pie crust. This recipe eliminates most of the stress but you get an elegant result worthy of a French patisserie. The sweet shell is like sugar cookie dough (if it cracks, simply press it back together, and no one will notice). The apples are topped with streusel. Prepare both while you let the dough rest (this is important). Choose Cortlands from your local orchard or a mix of Golden Delicious and Fuji from the grocery store. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Just like grandma used to make. Well, not exactly.

CRUST

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Extra flour (for the dough)
1. Have on hand a 9-inch tart pan with removable base.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk, cream the butter and sugar until soft and light. Add the yolk, and when the mixture is smooth, beat in the cream.

3. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and salt. Mix until the dough forms large moist clumps. Turn them out onto a lightly floured board. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in foil. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

4. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough to a 10-inch round. Lift the pastry onto the rolling pin and lay on the tart pan. Ease the dough into the pan, pressing it firmly into the edges. Roll the pin over the top to cut off excess dough. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

STREUSEL

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
1. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and butter. With a fork, press the mixture until it forms pea-size crumbs.

2. Do not overmix; topping should be crumbly.

FILLING

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 medium baking apples (see list), peeled and sliced
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and apples. Toss well.

3. Pour the apple filling into the tart shell, pressing the apples out to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with the streusel mixture.

4. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake tart for 1 1/2 hours, turning it from front to back halfway through baking. The topping and crust should be golden brown and the filling bubbling. Cool the tart in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

5. Set the tart on a bowl so the rim falls off. Cut the tart into wedges. Karoline Boehm Goodnick