One of my fondest memories of living in Texas in the 1980s is dessert Pie. I took to this quintessential American dessert like a duck to water. Pumpkin, pecan, apple, rhubarb, key-lime, black bottom, peach, peanut butter … the list goes on. I abashedly claim that in my heyday, I polished off most of a full-size pumpkin pie! I paid for it shortly – I don’t think I touched another pumpkin pie for months after that.
After moving away from Texas, I lost touch with this pie-eating part of my life. 1990s Singapore did not afford many options in pie. Neither was the prospect of fiddling with pastry in the perpetual heat and humidity particularly enticing. So, craving for Pie subsided, with the occasional resurgence satisfied with an expensive store-bought slice.
Recently, a friend posted a beautiful latticed-effort on Facebook. I found out that his was a Food Processor pastry recipe which was completely news to me. I was intrigued and began my quest for an easy way to get dessert pie on the table.
I tried this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen, but found shaping the pie into a tin and latticing too fiddly for my impatient nature.
I searched and found this Rustic French Apple Tart on Once Upon A Chef. No pie tin required.
After many messy (albeit still delicious) attempts, I finally settled on a quick way to get a fruit pie/tart done. I used the pastry from Natasha’s Kitchen, but shaped and filled it as recommended on Once Upon a Chef. I vary the size of the pie/tart depending on how much fruit I want to use, how many people I want to serve, or the size of the box I have available for gifting.
The Food Processor makes the crust-making a cinch. It is done in just about 5 min. The time-consuming part of the process is preparing the fruit: in the case of apples, peeling, coring & slicing them.
What I have a rustic (read: very homemade looking) pie/tart with a fresh, less saucy filling than the traditional apple-pie filling.
Although Natasha’s Kitchen recipe produces a pie closer to my American memories, my family seems to prefer the less goo-ey option.
Rustic Apple Pie (using a Food Processor)
There is enough pastry for 3 x 6-7inch pies.
- 320g flour
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 225g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 5-7 Tbsp cold water
This is filling for 1 x 6-7inch pie.
- 2 medium green apples (or equivalent amount of fruit you might want to use up)
- 20g butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 30g brown sugar
- Egg for egg wash
- Brown sugar for sprinkling
Preparing the Crust
- Place flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add cold diced butter and pulse the mixture until coarse crumbs form. Mixture should be dry and powdery.
- Add 5-6 Tbsp ice water and pulse just until moist clumps or small balls form. Press a piece of dough between your finger tips and if the dough sticks together, you have added enough water. If not, add more water a teaspoon full at a time. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll out.
- Transfer dough to a clean work surface, and gather dough together into a ball (it should not be smooth and DO NOT knead the dough). Divide dough into 3 and flatten to form 3 disks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
- I freeze unused disks of dough until I am ready to use them.
Preparing the Fruit
- Peel & core apples. Slice thinly. Wash berries; slice if necessary.
- Mix melted butter, sugar & cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the fruit gently.
Putting the Pie together
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Flour your work surface.
- Roll out 1 disk of dough to about 1/8inch thick (It’s fine if the edges are ragged – it adds to the rustic look)
- Sprinkle a little flour over the rolled dough.
- Arrange the apple slices (and other fruit, if using) in a concentric circles, leaving about a 1 and 1/2 inch edge. Work as quickly as you can to avoid the dough getting warm. (resist the urge to put in too much fruit as this will cause tearing and leaking during baking)
- Fold the edges of the dough over the apples in a free-form fashion, working your way around and creating pleats as you go (don’t pull too tight around the apples to avoid the dough tearing).
- Chill in fridge for about 10-15 minutes.
- Brush the pastry with egg wash.
- Sprinkle some brown sugar over the pastry and over the fruit.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes or until pliable before rolling.
- The assembled tart may be frozen for a few months. To freeze, place the baking sheet in the freezer until the tart is frozen, then wrap tightly. (Wait until right before baking the tart to brush the beaten egg and sprinkle the sugar onto the crust.) Bake directly from the freezer. (It may take a few extra minutes to bake from frozen.)