18 November, 2012

Wensleydale Apple Cranberry Tartlets with Thyme Shortbread Crust and Bourbon Glaze

Be the star of a holiday party- bring these delectable little tartlets.  
They're like little mini-apple pies, made with Wensleydale cheese with cranberries. 
Wensleydale is an English crumbly cheese that is supple and moist with a flavor of wild honey.

Wild Honey!

This Wensleydale has cranberries mixed in- adding just a bit of... tartness... to these tarts! 
An unexpected, but incredible herb-y thyme shortbread crust that balances out the sweetness of the apples. 

I found this Wensleydale with Cranberries at Whole Foods.  
It would be AMAZING on a leftover turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving.  
So as I'm baking these, The Boyfriend keeps asking me when he can have one.
Finally I give him one.  I turn around, turn back around, and it's gone.  GONE.  

He looks at me wide-eyed, like he doesn't know what happened. 
And takes another.   

Wensleydale Apple Cranberry Tartlets with Thyme Shortbread Crust and Bourbon Glaze

The Crust:
1 1/4 cup bread flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup thyme, leaves only, chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp ice water

The Tart:
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced
2 McIntosh Apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 lb Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries
3 cups sugar
1 cup plus 1 tbsp water
1 stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp bourbon

*You'll also need some kind of little tart baking pans. I found mine at either Kitchen Kapers or ACMoore, I can't recall..

Make the Crust:
1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, vanilla, and thyme. Cut in the old butter using a pastry blender or a knife until dough is crumbly.
2. Sprinkle 1 tbsp cold water over dough.  Quickly form into a ball, adding a few more drops of water if you need more moisture to hold it together. Do as quickly as possible, you don't want to handle the dough to long or the warmth from your hands will melt the butter, resulting in a less flaky crust.
3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, or a day or two.
4. Remove from fridge and roll out to about 1/4' thickness.
5. Cut out approximate shape of your tart pan, and lay dough over top.  Press into pan gently.  Use a rolling pin to roll over the TOP of the tart pan, giving you a nice even crust.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Make the Tart:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring contents to just a boil.
2. Reduce heat immediately and add all apples.  Cook until tender but not falling apart.  If it looks like the liquid is evaporating to quickly, add a bit of water to keep it moist.
3. Remove the apples, and lay out on parchment paper in one layer to cool off.  Reserve the poaching liquid.
4. Slice the Wensleydale cheese thinly.  Don't worry if it crumbles. 

1. Remove the crust from fridge.  Add a few of the apple slices that did not keep their perfect shape (the unsightly ones).  Top with a few slices (or crumbles) or cheese.  Pour 1 tsp of heavy cream over, letting it sink down (this is how much I used for tarts that were 3 inches across.  If you are making larger tarts, you may need to add a tbsp or two of heavy cream.  The cream shouldn't reach the top of the tart, rather just cover the bottom layers of apples and beginning to seep into the cheese layer).
2. Add the pretty, intact sliced apples on top, fanning them out decoratively.  At the base of the 'fan' add a crumble of cheese with cranberry for contrast in color.
3. Repeat with remaining tarts.
4. Bake in the preheated oven about 10 minutes, until edges of apples begin to darken and shortbread crust begins to turn golden.
5. Cool on a wire rack.

1. When tarts are cool, remove the cinnamon stick and cloves from the reserved poaching liquid. Add the bourbon.  Head the liquid medium high heat, reducing by half.  Liquid will get a bit sticky.
2. Brush the glaze over the tarts immediately. Let dry, and brush another layer over. 

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