Fruit Custard Tart

I got this recipe from a series of Italian cooking classes that I was lucky enough to take several years ago. You can use all sorts of different fruits for this, whatever you have on hand. I used Granny Smith apple this time but I’ve made this with raspberries, blueberries, etc. I also like to “soak” my fruit in a little liquor, whatever I have that’s the same flavor. In this case, a little apple schnapps, but I’ve also used Calvados (apple brandy). Enjoy!

Fruit Custard Tart


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg


  • 2 large apples, sliced
  • 3 eggs, 2 yokes and 1 whole
  • 2 tbsp. apple liquor
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat your oven to 350°. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add in the cubes of butter and pulse until combined. It should look like peas. Add in the egg and extract and pulse until it has gathered. Press into a 9 1/2″ tart pan.

Place the apples over the dough in the tart pan. In a medium bowl add the egg, egg yolks, sugar, flour and beat in the cream. Pour over the apples and bake for 1 hour or until set. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.


Apple Hand Pies

As my blog tag line states, these are my experiments in the kitchen. This recipe definitely falls into that category! It is still very much a work in progress. Most recipes I post I’m in the process of making them as I’m writing up the blog post. This one is not one of those. In fact, I made it twice before I posted this recipe. And it’s still not perfect. I’m not completely satisfied, even though it turned out tasty.

OK, so I do like a challenge. One of the bartenders at one of my favorite waterholes is vegan. She was commenting on the fact that so few people make desserts that are vegan; even though there are a lot of alternatives for butter, eggs, and other dairy products. I gave it some thought, looked in my favorite cookbook, and found a pie crust that used vegetable shortening instead of butter or lard. Growing up in Spokane, WA. there was a bakery close to where we lived and made hand pies. You know, sort of like what Hostess makes. You could buy, and I’m seriously dating myself here, 6 for $1.00 (or that’s what I remember anyway). I thought this would be perfect, I’d make apple hand pies!

One thing I did learn from this is that unlike traditional pie crusts, where keeping it cold is ideal for a perfect crust, this one does not work that way. The first time I made it I tried keeping it cold, it cracked at every opportunity. The second time I started out with it cold but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. So I warmed it up and the dough stopped cracking. Unfortunately, it also didn’t come out flakey either, it was somewhat dry. Hence it is a work in progress, I’ll keep working at it. But it is nice to have a vegan dessert in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ice-cold water


  • 3 apples, I used granny smith
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 1 and 2
  • 4 tbsp Calvados*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch


  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Calvados*


To make the pie crust I use my Cuisinart food processor. Add in the flour and salt, pulse a couple of times to combines. Add in the vegetable shortening in little chunks. Pulse until it starts to look like coarse cornmeal or peas. Add in the water one tbsp at a time, pulsing to combine; until the dough holds together without cracking but isn’t moist. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.

For the filling; peel, core and dice the apples into small cubes. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil and add in the apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and Calvados. Saute until the apples just start to soften. Add in the corn starch and cook for another minute or so, until it thickens. Cool.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″. I used a 6″ biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Scoop 1 tbsp of the apple filling onto the dough, wet the edges, and fold it over. Crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.  Bake in a 375° oven for 25 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and Calvados, beat until smooth. Drizzle over the hand pies once they’ve cooled.

*You can substitute apple juice for the Calvados (which is apple brandy) if you like.

Dutch Apple Pie

So recently I was away at a conference and on the last day there was a bunch of fruit that the resort had put out for us that our staff hadn’t taken. So I was like, we paid for this so I’m going to take it. I scored 4 Granny Smith apples and a bunch of bananas. The bananas I can freeze, that’s easy; but I wanted to use the apple before they went bad (and didn’t really want to freeze them). So I decided on making a Dutch apple pie. Like many recipes, I switch it up a little. I like pumpkin pie spice mix instead of the individual spices most recipes call for. I also add a little Calvados, which is an apple brandy. The alcohol burns off and I find it enhances the apple flavor. Enjoy

Dutch Apple Pie

  • 2 1/2+ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tsp sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt*
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 Tbsp cold water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4-5 apples (depending on the size, you want about 3 lbs)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Calvados brandy
  • 1 1/2 Tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
Streusel Topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt*
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
*You want the salt to be fine. Kosher salt runs the gamut from really course to fine, I just put it between my palms and rub it; it comes out pretty fine.


For the dough: I use my food processor and pulse the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the cold butter and continue to pulse until it looks like cornmeal with pea-sized bits of butter. Beat the egg with 2 Tbsp of cold water and add it in. Pulse until the dough just comes together. If it’s dry add a little more water, just a bit at a time; you don’t want it to be too moist or the dough won’t be flakey. Dump out onto a lightly floured board and gather it into a round disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

For the filling: Peel and slice the apples into wedges, I like mine fairly thin. Put in a medium bowl and add in the lemon juice and 2/3 cup of sugar. Toss to coat and set aside. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add in the apples and cook, over medium-high heat, until the sugar dissolves (about 2 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and cook for another 7-8 minutes (until the apples have softened). Use a colander and the bowl you had the apples in to strain off as much of the liquid as you can. Put that liquid back in the skillet, with the 2 Tbsp of Calvados, and cook over medium heat until it has thickened and turned golden brown. This will take about 10 minutes.

Pour the apples out of the colander back into the bowl and add the syrup from the skillet. Add in the pumpkin pie spice and mix well. Put it in the refrigerator to cool. It can last for up to 2 day if you cover it, 6 month if you want to freeze it.

For the Topping: In a medium bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Add in the butter and combine with your hands until it clumps together.

Assemble the pie:  Pre-heat your oven at 375° with the rack in the lower 3rd setting. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough until it’s roughly a 12″ circle (or just slightly bigger than your pie pan). Gently press it into your pie pan (a 9″ pan is what I use but you can use slightly larger or smaller). Cut most of the excess off the edges, crimp if you want, and then add the apple filling. Take the topping and drop clumps of it on top until it’s completely covered.

Put it on a cookie sheet, just in case of overflow, and bake for about 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool before eating or you’ll burn the heck out of your mouth.


Cinnamon-swirl Apple Slab Pie

I got this recipe from watching Martha Stewart. Again I modified it slightly but not much. I added a little calvados, which is apple based brandy. Also more cinnamon, it didn’t taste very cinnamony the first time I made it, so I added cinnamon to the apple filling as well as the topping. Be warned! This thing is huge! But incredibly tasty. It’s a good recipe for taking to a large party. The picture isn’t the greatest but I forgot to take it until I was at work with a bunch of coworkers waiting to dig in. Enjoy!


Cinnamon-swirl Apple Slab Pie

Dough (double the recipe, make in 2 batches)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2  Tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in small pieces and cold
  • 7 to 8 Tbsp ice water


In a food processor; pulse the flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces or butter remaining. Drizzle in 5 Tbsp of water and pulse to combine. Add more water, 1 Tbsp at a time, and pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched.

Form into a rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Slab Apple Pie

  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour plus some for dusting
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (4 at room temp and 2 cut into small pieces and cold)
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Lbs pie apples (I used Granny Smith) cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp kosher salt, divided 1/4 & 1/4
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Sanding sugar


On a lightly floured board, roll out one rectangle of dough into a 12″x17″ rectangle (or the size of your rimmed baking sheet). Transfer to the baking sheet, pressing it into the bottom and up the sides. Fold any overhanging under and around the edge.

In a small bowl, combine the room temp butter, brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and 1/4 Tsp salt. Roll out the second rectangle of dough to 12″x16″. Spread the butter mixture all over the dough. Starting at the long edge, roll it up tightly into a log. Transfer to another baking sheet. Refrigerate both doughs for at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat your oven to 425° with the rack in the lower third and a foil-lined baking sheet on a rack below that. In a large bowl combine the apples, lemon juice, sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, flour, 1/4 Tsp salt, vanilla and calvados. Toss to coat.

Fill the pie crust on the baking sheet that you refrigerated. Dot with the cold butter.

Cut the dough log into 1/4″ slices, rotating with each slice to keep them round. Arrange the slices over the apple mixture, slightly overlapping until covered. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.

Brush the top of the pie with the egg you’ve beaten and sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Bake for 20 minutes so the top crust will set. Reduce the temp to 375° and bake for another 1 or until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Cool before eating.