Sunday, February 13, 2011

Look Ma! I Baked! - savory apple tart


Sometimes I just get antsy. Sometimes I just need to cook something special occasion without having the occasion (because I might not actually have anyone to feed it to). This week has been like that a lot. I have been spending the better part of this week looking for a job - and the rest of it cooking elaborately to ease the stir-craziness of looking for a job. When I came across Elise Bauers' recipe on Simply Recipes for an Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Tart I practically fell out of my chair.

Last night I had a long discussion of whether I could only have one cheese for the rest of my life what would it be. The idea made me so sad to live with just one type of cheese that I had to use one of the cheeses that would have been sacrificed because it wouldn't have made the cut as my one and only.

I don't really use recipes when I'm cooking at home. I'm more of a "look at the picture and get inspired to make something kind of like that amazing thing in the picture" kind of girl. I'll read through a recipe for the main points (like oven temperatures and times). If I really respect the chef or have no where near the knowledge to make the recipe up on my own (like pastries), I try to follow the recipe most of the way exactly the first time I make it. I will probably never again make it that exact same way, but variation and experimentation are the names of my games.

I already have a pie crust recipe that I like, but this recipe is a 5 minute breeze if you use a pre-made pie crust. This recipe was just about the fillings for me. Fresh thyme, granny smith apples, Gorgonzola...?!? I might be in-love. I loved that it was an idea that would satisfy my elaborate baking kind of mood but wasn't another dessert.

Elise's recipe is beautiful in it's simplicity. Literally a handful of ingredients cocooned in a pie crust nestled together in the oven. I don't have any maple syrup in the house right now (ironically I've planned a breakfast-for-dinner dinner party for tomorrow) so I just used sugar (and reduced the amount by half). I also substituted pistachios for walnuts and it was a really pleasant change of pace (not trying to be fancy - it's just randomly what I happened to have).

I definitely don't think the lemon juice is optional and actually added some lemon zest to mine, which I loved for the added balance of tartness. Gotta love Granny Smith. I don't know the ol' lady, but I owe her a debt of love. I also added both salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoons each freshly ground) to the mix as I love the savory side of this story and salt enhances even the best sweets.

Being me I'm sure I ended up with almost twice the cheese she called for, but my tart was more than happy for it. This tart would be remarkable with goat cheese as well. :)

I topped it with some freshly grated nutmeg and put it in the oven.

See Ma - Packman likes it too!
I adore this tart! It's like a perfect cheese course served up in a pie crust (and who doesn't love pie crust!?!). That's kind of how I worked through my flavor changes. Despite having never made this tart before I have had a lot of cheese plates and it if sounded like it would work on a cheese plate then it will probably work out alright. Speaking of which - I think I'll use honey next time instead of sugar...

The Gorgonzola melted its way through every layer and still had enough pockets of creaminess to ooze. After my first huge slice, and I mean Packman's mouth huge, I had a revelation! The one thing that would take this tart over the top... a drizzle of a balsamic reduction of course. :)

My Version of the Savory Apple Tart
(for baking instructions please follow this link to's original post)
  • 1 packaged, flat pie crust
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (or walnuts), chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or blue cheese)
  • 1+ tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1.5 Tbsp honey
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • freshly grated nutmeg
Finish with a balsamic reduction. :)


  1. Gorgonzola cheese is also made with Goat milk. The Wikipedia write up is pretty interesting. Anyway, this sounds really good. Like a dessert dinner.

  2. I love that you used gorgonzola out of pitty :)

    While buying the parmigiano for my cheesecake, I had similar thoughts about how it hadn't made my cut...and how happy I was to be baking with it that afternoon!