Holiday Appetizer or Breakfast Tart: You Decide

Are you ready to holiday party? Me neither. This holiday season has been a bit cramped with stuff that I’d rather not be doing. I haven’t been to many holiday-related parties. Although my social calendar is a bit Scroogey this year, my husband seems to be full of holiday cheer. Or, at least his workplace has the spirit.

He came home the other day requesting a dish for his holiday breakfast. That’s right, they love their jobs so much that they are willing to come in extra early to celebrate the end of the year with their colleagues. If it is not apparent, my husband does not work in corporate America. If he did, he would have to be coerced with lunch or booze or large sums of money in order to spend any non-work time with his coworkers.

I pulled out the old recipe cart and found a Pillsbury Holiday Appetizers booklet from December 2008. In 50 years, I hope a future chef will have fun perusing the pictures of this little ditty. Page 32 is especially fantastic what with the Christmas tree made out of veggies and dip. (Word to Pillsbury: No one likes broccoli that much.) I found a recipe for an apple tart which sounded just about right for a holiday potluck at the office.

Apple and Blue Cheese Tart

  • 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (form 15 oz box),softened as directed on box
  • 3 T butter or margarine
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about ⅓ C)
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cut into ¼-inch slices (about 1 C)
  • ¼ C chopped pistachio nuts
  • 2 T sweetened dried cranberries
  • ¼ C crumbled blue cheese (1 oz)
  • 1 t fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 red pearl onion, halved, if desired (I did not desire. The picture just shows an onion cut in half hanging out on top. How silly is that?)

Heat oven to 450° F. make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in an 8-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove from heat.

Arrange apple slices in concentric circles in single layer in crust. Spread butter mixture over apples.

Bake 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle nuts, cranberries, cheese, and thyme over apples. Bake about 3 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. Cool on cooling rack 10 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with onion.

Results

OK, a few irritations with this recipe:

  1. I don’t have a 9-inch tart pan. I only have an 11-inch. Not the recipe’s fault, I know. But, pretty much Bed, Bath, and Beyond’s fault for not carrying one when I need it. So, I made one and a half times the filling so that it would fit the tart pan (OK, maybe more like double).
  2. I used the Pillsbury crust and it completely slid down the sides of the pan the first time around. (I didn’t fork prick it enough.) Second time, it came out lovely.
  3. I couldn’t find pistachios that weren’t crazy salted or oddly red. So, I was going to substitute walnuts. Then, Paul and I had a discussion about nut allergies. And, I decided to leave the nuts off.
  4. Even after using three apples and the other extra ingredients, the filling still looked pretty shallow in the finished tart. And, I suppose that’s how it should look because that’s how the picture looks in the book. But, it still seemed skimpy. Like, “Oh, you are so cheap. You can’t even fill your tart shell.”
Apple and blue cheese tart in pan

Even with the aerial view, you can still see it's a pretty slim tart.

Taste? You want to know about taste? Well, I’m not sure as it was sent with Paul in the wee hours of the morning and I didn’t feel it was right to send it with one slice missing. If it’s horrible or sent anyone to the hospital, I’ll let you know. But, how bad can it be? I’ve made almost this exact same recipe but in salad form rather than a tart.

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