I know some people aren’t big fans of raisins, but all week I was craving an apple dessert that was warm and  old fashioned— something I would imagine on a dessert table in a Charles Dickens Christmas novel.
This pie produced the exact flavor I was looking for.
If you don’t like raisins, simply leave them out or swap in dried cranberries.  Also, I tried adding cream cheese to the pie crust.  It was good, but don’t make a special trip to the store if you don’t have any.  Just replace it with butter.

rustic apple tart

for the crust:

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons very cold butter
4 tablespoons very cold cream cheese
2-4 tablespoons very cold ice water

1.  Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut in butter and cream cheese with a pastry cutter (or in a food processor) until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
2.  Add in 2 tablespoons of water and mix in gently. Add in additional water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture begins to come together.  If you take a handful, and squeeze it, it should leave a sharp impression of your hand.
3.  Form the dough into a large disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

for the filling:

5 medium size Granny Smith apples, peeled, and cut in 3/4 inch chunks
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup raisins
juice of one orange
1 cup heavy cream, plus a bit more for the top of the crust
1 vanilla bean
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees celsius).  Roll out pie crust and press into a 9 inch spring form pan.  Some of the crust will hang over the sides.  Refrigerate until filling is ready.
2.  In a large bowl, combine apple chunks, spices, orange zest, 1/3 cup sugar, and lemon juice.  Set aside.

3.  Place raisins and juice in a pan, and warm up over low heat.  Let the raisins plump in the warm juice until most of the liquid evaporates.  Add in the cream.  Cut the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.  Place in the cream mixture along with the pod.
4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar and the eggs.  Add a 1/4 cup of the hot cream to egg mixture and whisk together to temper.  Add eggs and cream back into the cream and raisins on the stove and mix to combine.  Set aside to cool.
5.  Remove pie crust from the refrigerator.  Place a few dock marks in the bottom with a fork.

6.  Combine apple mixture with the cream and raisin mixture, and pour into pie crust.  Fold excess crust up over the filling and brush with cream.  Bake for 90 minutes, or until the custard is set and the apples are tender.  Let cool for at least 45 minutes.  Remove from ring and slide onto a board or serving dish.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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