Sweet Apple Tart with Toasted Walnuts & Bourbon


Apples are enchanting, seductive goddesses. They whisper to us in tarts, pies, and desserts and surprise us in beverages (appletinis and ciders). The forbidden fruit has caused mischief and found its place in Greek mythology, the Bible, Halloween (bobbing for apples), and fables. “Have a bite.”

Pick up a few apples (Granny Smiths are perfect) from your local fruit stand, farmers market or grocer and give your family a happily ever after. Better yet, ask them to join in on the dessert making process. Kids love peeling away the skins. Leave the slicing and dicing to the more mature family members.

Sweet Apple Tart with Toasted Walnuts & Bourbon
Serves: 6-12
  • Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter or lard, chilled
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
  • Filling
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ lbs. apples (peeled, seeded and thinly sliced)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • egg wash (1 egg combined with 1 tablespoon milk)
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour and the salt. Combine the butter or lard into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  2. Drizzle the water over the flour and stir until just incorporated. Press together to form the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the apples, sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon to the pan. Cook over medium high heat until apples soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the walnuts. Add the bourbon and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. Place a large pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line a pizza peel with parchment paper.
  4. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-16” round and transfer to the peel.
  5. Spread the peach mixture on top of the round, leaving a 1½ - 2 inch border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling and brush the edge with the egg wash (egg combined with the milk).
  6. Bake the tart on the stone for 30-40 minutes, until the dough is golden brown on the bottom.
  7. Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool slightly. Cut the warm tart into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Pair with a glass of yeasty Champagne and raise a toast to the arrival of Autumn and big apples. Did you know, the heaviest apple recorded in the Guiness Book of World Records weighed 4 pounds and 1 ounce? The apple was grown in Hirosaki Japan.

Movie Night suggestion: Nominated for 3 Oscars, Enchanted (2007) collides modern day New York City with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Both tales present the audience with beautiful poisonous apples. The apples in this story are laced by the stepmother since poisoned apples don’t grow on trees. Giselle is sent to New York City (the Big Apple) where she finds her one true love. The handsome prince is thrown at her much like the love apples in ancient Greece (ouch). This humorous film is layered with Disneyisms, Greek history and Biblical mythology.

Film notes: HIDDEN MICKEY – The bus driver’s hair is shaped like Mickey’s ears as well as the green pepper slices on the pizza Robert and Giselle are served at the Bella Notte restaurant.

Remember when Orange County’s area code was (714)? When the prince searches the building for Giselle, one of the doors he knocks on is apartment 714. The area code where the original Disney park is located.

The people riding the tour buses next to Prince Edward laughing and pointing aren’t extras, but real tourists.

Director Kevin Lima has a cameo part as “Pip in New York.”

Julie Andrews, who starred as the title character in Disney’s live-action Mary Poppins (1964), provides her voice as the Narrator. Three other princess actresses make appearances in the film. Jodi Benson (Ariel), Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas) and Paige O’Hara (Belle).

The law firm where Robert works is Churchill, Harline, and Smith, the surnames of the songwriters from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

Listen closely. Goofy yells when the troll is thrown through the air by the tree Giselle falls from.

One of the elderly male dancers appeared in Mary Poppins as a chimney sweep.

The film was a box office success story, earning more than $340 million worldwide.

As Lima worked with Bill Kelly, the writer, to include Disney references to the plot, “it became an obsession.” He derived the name of every character as well as anything that needed a name from past Disney films to bring in more Disney references.

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