This is our perfect fall dessert. It’s not too sweet, but is dense with the flavors of harvest fruit. This has the best parts of a tart and a crisp, using our wonderful shortbread dough and walnut crisp topping.
You can have the crisps ready to pop in the oven as you are sitting down to dinner, and by the time you’re ready for a dessert they will be nice and warm and ready for a scoop of gelato.
Apple & Prune Crisp
For the crust
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolk, salt, and vanilla. Mix to incorporate. Add the flour to the mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out 4½-inch thick tart shells. Bake the shells until lightly browned, about 8 to 11 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling
- 2 cups dried prunes, chopped
- 1 cup verjus blanc
- 6 Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Grind the walnuts with 3 tablespoons of sugar in a food processor and set aside. In a food processor or a mixer, mix the remaining sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour and process until well combined. Add the butter and mix until the mixture clumps, about 1½ to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg yolks to the butter mixture and process for another 40 seconds.
For the crisp topping
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons walnuts
- ²⁄³ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- ²⁄³ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks
- Gelato, for serving (optional)
In a small pot over low heat, add the prunes and the verjus. Bring the prunes to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat, and let the prunes steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Add the dry mixture to the apples and toss until coated. Pour the prune and sugar mixture into the apples and toss again.
Fill the tart shells generously with the fruit mixture (it will shrink down as it bakes). In a bowl, crumble together the crisp topping with the walnut and sugar mixture. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit filling and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden and crunchy.
Add a scoop of your favorite gelato and serve while still warm.
Food for though
You will have some leftover crisp topping, spread it on a baking sheet and bake of 325°F until crisp and brown about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool and save as an ice cream or yogurt topping.