Waking up in Maine.
The cool morning air coming through the open window was inviting me to walk around the burgeoning Dragonfly Farm with my camera, but the warm blankets that only my face was poking out of were almost impossible to part with.
The crisp, inviting New England morning air won, and I climbed out of bed, gathered my camera and a basket, and set out to see what had changed in the months since I last visited. I met met my cousin walking across the wet field as she was on her way to let the new flock of laying hens out for the day. The White Plymouth Rock pullets were excited to get out and eat their way through the acres that are richly stocked with bugs, greens, flowers, and wild berries. Because they live with a family of excited people who have never had chickens before, they have been handled a lot, and so are very friendly.
After meeting the chickens, I continued my tour through the August version of the farm, and was delighted to find wild blackberries, raspberries, and crabapples nestled among the edges of the encroaching forest.
With the help of Wilson, the golden retriever, I collected enough fruit to make a breakfast tart--although by the time I made it back to the kitchen, the berries were gone. So the tart ended up being crabapple only, and it was wonderful.
10-20 Crabapples, depending on their size*
1-2 Handfuls of wild berries
1/2 Cup of sugar, divided
1 Stick of butter, divided
1 Cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup water
Optional: 1 Tablespoon lemon, and/or 1/2 cup sliced of crabapple
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Blend flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in a bowl with a fork or a whis
- Add butter to flour mixture and crumble together with your fingers until there are pea-sized pieces or smaller of the flour-butter mixture
- Add the beaten egg and mix until a dough forms
- Gently knead the dough on a floured surface and form into a disk
- Put the dough in the refrigerator to cool**
While the dough is cooling...
- Slice the crabapples into thin pieces
- Cook the sliced apples in a skillet with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon sugar until the apples are tender***
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface, place in a tart pan or on a cookie sheet
- Arrange the apples (and berries if you have them!) on the tart crust
- Place on the center of rack of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown
While the tart is baking...
- For the glaze (which is just a flavored simple syrup), add the sugar, water, and lemon or fruit if you are using it, to a small skillet over low heat until the sugar has dissolved
- Strain the fruit out of the mixture, and set aside to cool
- When the tart comes out of the oven, drizzle the glaze over the fruit, and serve (can be served warm or allow to cool)
* Crabapples can vary in size, and they cook down quite a bit, so cut up more than you think you need--it is okay to pile them up!
** Most recipes call for cooling the dough for two hours--I am rearely that patient, and have had pretty good luck putting the dough in the freezer while I am preparing the filling, about 30 minutes
***I pre-cooked the apples because they were very tart and very firm. If they are sweeter, this step may not be necessary