Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Vegan Molasses Apple Tart

I hesitated to post this tart because I wasn't completely pleased with the way it turned out. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but simply because it wasn't what I expected. I made a crumbly, molasses cookie bottom, pressed it into the pan, baked it off and let it cool. I topped it with some very thin apple slices and baked it again. I wanted a nice, light apple tart that had a cookie-like bottom and layer of apples. What I failed to take into consideration is that the nature of many, if not most, molasses cookies is to be softer and chewier than other cookies. I did decide to post it because (a) it looked pretty and (b) it tasted simply delicious.
The first day, the tart had a crisp outer edge and a softer bottom crust, though it was still firm enough to pick up a slice and eat it out of hand. I didn't mind the soft bottom because it tasted like an extraordinarily good cookie. It probably would have been better with whipped cream or warmed, with vanilla ice cream, but that wouldn't have been in keeping with the vegan-ness of the tart. The softness of the bottom crust somehow marries the texture of the apples and the crisp tart edges.
The second day, after the leftover tart had been wrapped and stored overnight, the bottom crust virtually melted into the apple layer. This is what I was really disappointed with, though the taste was still excellent. I hoped that it would maintain its texture from the first day, but it was not to be. Consequently, I recommend sharing the tart, freshly made, on the first day and covertly eating any leftovers (should there be any) alone with a glass of tea and a spoon on the next.
I'll continue to work on the crust I have in mind, but I'll make this one again in the meatime.

Vegan Molasses Apple Tart
For the Crust :
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ap flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease rectangular tart pan (like this one).
Whisk together vegetable oil, molasses and water. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir the two together with a fork until mixture is thorougly moistened. It will be crumbly. Press mixture into rectangular tart pan, pressing it into the corners and up the sides. Make sure there are no gaps.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F, until slightly firm to touch.
Cool completely in the pan.
For the tart:
2 apples
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brown sugar

Peel and slice apples very thinly. Toss gently with vanilla extract and brown sugar. Arrange apple slices in an even layer, lightly overlapping.

Bake at 400F for 20-24 minutes, until apple slices begin to brown and are tender when pressed with the tip of a knife.
Cool at least 30 minutes before removing from tart pan.
Serve the day it is made, with whipped cream, if desired.
Serves 6-8.