Raise your hand of you’re that person who has to grocery shop in a specific order?
It’s not just me.
You see, our local grocer has two entrances: one next to the bakery and one next to the beer/produce. I usually park closer to and enter in the latter, and work my way through the leafy greens, to the meats, to the cheese and dairy, through the bakery (because by this time GamerMan usually needs a snack since we’ve been in the store for 3.5 hours), then snake through the middle aisles we need, and back out the beer!
But Saturday afternoon there was absolutely NO parking so I was forced to park near and walk in the bakery entry.
Now you wouldn’t think this would be such a huge deal considering the majority of time I spend in the kitchen is dedicated to pastry, but let me tell you. I freaked out.
Where was I? What do I do first? Who are all these people standing next to me eating the free cookies!?
Somehow I made it over to the produce section and found these mini gala apples. And since I’d had such a traumatic experience, I decided to buy a bag full to calm and reward myself for not going postal.
I could have eaten them raw, but what fun is there in that!? No, this occasion called for sugar and cinnamon and copious amounts of butter. Sometimes you just need a fork-full of comfort :)
Mini Gala Tarts – FTY Original
(makes 6 tarts)
(makes 2, you’ll only use 1 later on):
8 oz. butter; cubed and frozen
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar; white, superfine is best
3-4 tablespoons ice water + 3 tablespoons vodka; plain (Stolichnaya!), iced
5 mini Gala apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon; ground
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c sugar; white, superfine is best
juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
For the dough…
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Add in butter and pulse for 8-12 seconds until no bits of butter are larger than a pea. One tablespoon at a time, add in vodka and 2 tablespoons of water (do this slowly and pulse as you go! If your food processor has a drip reservoir, use it and pulse once a second until the liquid is incorporated.) After adding that liquid, check the dough for consistency – if a squeezed handful holds together without crumbling, you’re good. If not, add remaining water HALF a tablespoon at a time until the squeeze-test passes.
Divide dough among two sheets of plastic wrap and mold each into a rough disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
For the filling…
Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Wash and quarter the cored mini Galas. Slice each quarter into 4 equal slices. Working one apple at a time, add the slices to the lemon juice and toss to coat (the goal here is to ensure no cup apples turn brown while you’re slicing up their brothers). Once apples have been sliced, add sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup to the mixture. Toss to coat and set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove a disk of chilled dough from the fridge and set upon the counter. Prepare a lightly floured surface, and if you have a marble rolling pin, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Grab two baking sheets and place upon them your tart tins (three to a sheet). Preheat oven to 350F.
When the apples are ready, it’s time to roll out the dough! Grab your marble rolling pin from the freezer, unwrap your dough, and place it on your prepared surface. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds that will fit your tart pans. Press into tart pans and cut off any overhanging dough, adding it to any scraps you have from your first roll-out. Repeat rolling out the dough until you’ve covered each pan.
You can do this next part however you want (it’s not like getting fancy changes the taste!) so you can a) plop a hand full of apple slices in each tart or b) carefully place apple pieces in a circular fan design. Either way you’re going to have some leftovers, so grab a fork and finish off those last slices. But DON’T throw away that apple-cinnamon-sugar-maple-lemon juice! Toss in the flour and whisk to combine. Pour a tablespoon of the mixture over the filling of each tart.
Optional flavor boost: Place a thin pad of butter atop each tart before baking! YUMMMM.
Bake for 20 minutes @ 350, rotating pans front to back, top to bottom, at the 10 minute mark. Assess for brownness (cover with foil if things start to get crispy) and return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes @ 300F. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing tarts from their pans.
Top with ice cream and enjoy warm!