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You may know the drama that surrounded pie making for me for many, many years. (I am so happy to write that sentence in the past tense, as I have recently graduated into the ranks of bakers actually willing to share pie I made with others!) For years, pie was troubling: I didn’t feel confident making crust and detested the process of rolling it out once it was made. I found pies time-consuming and fussy. Rustic tarts like this beautiful cardamom-scented apple one saved my bacon more than once, and I’m sharing the recipe today with the hope that I may help others remove a little bit of pie-related stress from their lives. It’s free form and can be made with crust you have left over from making another pie, or with store-bought crust, or even with puff pastry. The filling is basic, yet cardamom gives it a special, festive touch. (If you don’t have or like cardamom, the same amount of nutmeg will do the job.) I love this tart warm with vanilla ice cream or room temperature with a quick drizzle of caramel sauce, and it doesn’t really need any adornment to be delicious and special. If you need a dessert for a dinner party, dessert buffet, hostess gift, celebratory meal, weekday treat… a cardamom apple tart is always the right choice.

Cardamom Apple Tart

Cardamom Apple Galette

  • Pie crust for a single layer/crust
  • 3 lbs. apples, about 5 – 8 depending on variety (I used a mix of Pink Lady, Honeycrisp and King)
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a pastry board or large cutting board dusted lightly with flour, roll out the pie crust into a circle, about 12″ in diameter (ideally) or as large as you can get with the amount of dough you have. This is why free form is great! Just make it the best circle you can make. Fold carefully in half and then half again and transfer carefully into a 9″ pie plate or similar pan. Unfold, leaving the sides overhanging, and rest in the refrigerator while you fix the apples.

With the lemon juice handy, begin peeling, coring and slicing your apples. Place them in a large bowl as you go and sprinkle a little lemon juice on the slices every time you finish an apple, tossing lightly with a fork or your hands. This will prevent browning. Continue until all apples are sliced and top with any remaining lemon juice.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and toss until each slice is coated in the sugar mixture. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and begin layering the apples in a circle. I like to place each slice individually to minimize empty space, but you can spoon them out or even dump them. You want the slices to be piled pretty high, maybe over the top of your pan– they will cook down and you don’t want a concave tart. If you really have extra, you can have a nice snack while you finish assembling or wait for the finished product.

To finish, begin folding the overhanging crust in toward the center, working with about 2″ of crust edge at a time. It might not fold as far in some places as others, but that’s just fine. You may need to overlap small sections of crust, and that’s also fine, just don’t let any spot get much thicker than the rest; it won’t bake evenly. You can primp and correct as you like, but I am a fold-and-go kind of girl. Your ultimate goal is to have the filling enclosed enough not to leak out, but not so much that you can’t catch a glimpse of your lovely apples.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 mins. and then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for 30 mins. The galette is done when the apples have softened slightly and the crust is golden brown and flaky. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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