For the past few weeks I’ve been professing my love for fall and all of its wonderful baking ingredients. It was, after all, October and in New England that certainly means fall is here. Wouldn’t you just know it that Columbus Day weekend arrives and brings with it one last dose of summer? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – I think it snowed in October last year, so anything is possible! In any case, I’m housesitting for Shane’s parents this week and since they’re just a few minute walk from the beach, I took advantage of the summer weather by sitting on the warm sand for a few hours yesterday afternoon, soaking up some sun and listening to the ocean. It was a real treat. When I returned to the house, this terrific fold-over apple torte, selected for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie by Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen, was waiting on the kitchen counter, to remind me that fall is indeed on its way.
This week’s recipe was actually written to include pears, not apples, and even though I bought a pear to use in my torte, it didn’t ripen enough by the time I was ready to bake. There’s no shortage of ripe apples on hand, fortunately, so I went that route instead. Baking a full-sized torte this week wasn’t an option since as I said I’m down at Shane’s parents’ house and therefore don’t have an outlet for sharing desserts. I used my mini 4.5″ springform pan, filling it with 1/2 of the recipe for Dorie’s pie dough. The filling for the torte is a combination of fruit (for me, the apples and dried cranberries, but in the original recipe it’s pears, dried apricots and walnuts) and custard. I came this close to skipping the custard as I pretty much don’t like it in any form except frozen as ice cream, but I always feel guilty not giving Dorie’s recipes a try as written because she has definitely surprised me on occasion. Things got a bit tricky guessing how much filling to use in my mini – I wound up going with almost one diced medium apple and about 1/3 of the custard recipe. During the baking process it became clear I had overdone it with the fruit – the custard couldn’t rise to cover it the way I think it should have. This became even more clear as I looked around at some of my fellow bakers’ tortes this morning and noticed that mine didn’t look like many of them. Still, I thought it was a pretty dessert – definitely unique, if nothing else.
The real treat this week was the discovery of Dorie’s pie crust. Somehow in two and a half years of baking with the group I hadn’t tried it, which I now realize was a big mistake as I really loved it. It came together easily and rolled out beautifully. I struggle with rolling out pie dough without cracking/tearing/etc. but had none of those issues here. Just as importantly, it was delicious – flaky and buttery and everything else you want from the perfect pie crust. As for the torte, it was good, but not a favorite. I didn’t like the texture of the baked custard so I mostly ate around it, picking the fruit off and pairing it with the yummy crust 🙂 As soon as that pear ripens, I’m making another mini – this time with dried apricots and none of the custard – and this time, I think it’ll be perfect!