This tart was inspired and baked with love for a woman I admire with all my soul, a fellow conjurer of dreams, a kitchen goddess and to my great fortune, a best friend. But the seed that planted this recipe was not Shanti Church herself, but the wondrous woman that brought Shanti into orbit: her mother Linda Church. To the world’s surprise, Linda passed away peacefully in her sleep on January 5.
Linda mothered twelve children with abounding freedom and grace. Her love passed on fruitfully to her twenty-eight grand children, and on again to nineteen great-grandchildren. Linda was a force of light to all that knew her, and even to the lush kitchen garden and flora surrounding the family home in Redondo Beach, LA. Of course, I only know this from pictures, but hope to pluck an orange from this backyard one day!
I met Linda once, when she visited New York; Shanti invited a few lucky friends to share a meal with her parents so they could peek through the East Coast doors Shanti had opened. That was the first time I tried one of Shanti’s famous galettes. I have since tugged and prodded dough in the hopes of recreating her flaky, crisp crust. I’ve come close, and this tart may be the most akin attempt. While Shoshi, Bobby and I baked, the conversation about Shanti and her family swelled! And so dear Shanti, dear Linda, here is a small gift of love, peace and hope from my kitchen, the heart of every home, the meditation of the mind, and the hearth for reviving our spirits! I love you.
Apple, Cinnamon and Saint Agur Blue Tart
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 5 servings
- All-purpose flour – 3 cups
- Unsalted butter – 1.5 sticks unsalted butter
- Water – 12-15 tablespoons ice-cold water
- Filling and Glaze:
- Egg – 1 egg
- Apple – 1.5 cups, sliced
- Lemon – Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
- Honey – 1.5 tablespoons
- Agur blue cheese – 1/4 cup
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Put the flour in a bowl. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut small flakes of butter into the flour. User your fingers to break up the butter and mix with the flour into a cornmeal-like mixture. (In a food processor, pulse the flour and tablespoon-size chunks of butter). Add one tablespoon of ice water at a time, stirring with a spoon until the dough just comes together (it will seem flaky). Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands about 5 times to form a ball. Divide the ball into 3 smaller balls. You will just be using one of the balls of dough for this recipe. Wrap two balls in plastic wrap and place them in a ziplock bag to freeze and store for later. Store the remaining ball that you will use in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the apple slices, lemon juice, cinnamon, honey and blue cheese.
- Sprinkle a clean surface with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle.
- Transfer the dough onto the parchment paper.
- Arrange the apple slices in a spiral pattern on the dough, piling it at least an inch high with apples.
- Fold the edges of the dough up over the edges of the apples. Use your artistic talents to form a heart shape, pushing the apples this way and that to get the right shape. Pinch the dough firmly (with the help of a dab of water) so the edges don’t come unfurled in the oven (though I promise, this won’t affect the taste a smidgeon!).
- Brush the exposed edges of the dough with the egg wash.
- Put the tart in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the dough is golden brown.
- Divide evenly and savor each bite.
Allergens: dairy, eggs