Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Kind Of Love - Apples by Grace Schulman

Rain hazes a street cart's green umbrella
but not its apples, heaped in paper cartons,
dry under cling film. The apple man,

who shirrs his mouth as though eating tart fruit,
exhibits four like racehorses at auction:
Blacktwig, Holland, Crimson King, Salome.

I tried one and its cold grain jolted memory:
a hill where meager apples fell so bruised
that locals wondered why we scooped them up,

my friend and I, in matching navy blazers.
One bite and I heard her laughter toll,
free as school's out, her face flushed in late sun.

I asked the apple merchant for another,
jaunty as Cezanne's still-life reds and yellows,
having more life than stillness, telling us,

uncut, unpeeled, they are not for the feast
but for themselves, and building strength to fly
at any moment, leap from a skewed bowl,

whirl in the air, and roll off a tilted table.
Fruit-stand vendor, master of Northern Spies,
let a loose apple teach me how to spin

at random, burn in light and rave in shadows.
Bring me a Winesap like the one Eve tasted,
savored and shared, and asked for more.

No fool, she knew that beauty strikes just once,
hard, never in comfort. For that bitter fruit,
tasting of earth and song, I'd risk exile.

The air is bland here. I would forfeit mist
for hail, put on a robe of dandelions,
and run out, broken, to weep and curse — for joy.

Apple and Sausage Tarts with Cheddar Cheese Crust

While these tarts aren't the most attractive treat to be wrapped it buttery pastry (read:FUGLY), the combination of flavors is just too intriguing to miss out on. The sweet+savory combination of apples and sausage would, I think, make these wonderful for breakfast. Do give them a try. Although I will confess, the next time I make them, I'm going for a double crust!.

For the crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound extra-sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 1/2 cups)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 to 8 tablespoon ice water

For the filling

2 1/2  to 3 apples ( I used a mixture of Envy, Macintosh, and Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and diced
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup Sour Cream
salt to taste ( about a 1/8 tsp or so)
8 ounces of pork breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled ( I used Jimmy Dean)

For the crust

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, butter, shortening, and cheese and blend together either with a pastry blender or your fingers ( guess which one I prefer!), until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, with some smallish pea-sized butter lumps. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, to the flour mixture, until the dough holds together when you squeeze it between your fingers. Divide the dough into two round, flat disks and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

For the filling, 
In a large bowl, toss the diced apples with the sugar, salt, cinnamon and flour. Then add the vanilla, sour cream and sausage and toss to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Roll out the pastry dough to about 1/8 of an inch thickness and cut a 5"x 5" square for each tart*. Fill each tart with 1/4 cup of the filling and fold the points in towards the center until they meet.

Bake at  425 for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.

Yeild approx 8 tarts

*A note on the tart design, only half of my tarts maintained the above shape with all that filling inside, the other four sort of did as they pleased with some corners flopping all around and others tight in place like soldiers. Were I to make this recipe again, I would be likely to either make enclosed hand pies or utilize a tart pan for uniform results.

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