Tipsy Tart

April 2010

While living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I want to like Pennsylvania wine.  I want to like Pennsylvania wine to have my wine habits foster my views on local eating.  Truth be told, Pennsylvania wine is little more than sparkling grape juice or an excessive communion session, and I don’t like it.  After a locavore-focused dinner, the lion’s [of Judah?] share of the bottle remained, and I had little desire to drink it.  Nor could I dispose of the remainder without guilt.

I poured the remaining wine into a heavy, vintage orange saucepan filled with local granny smith apple wedges, topped the pan with the heavy orange lid and left it in the refrigerator.  The beginning inklings of brainstorming lingered in the lower corner of the bottom shelf for more time than I had intended.  The apples were saturated with the wine and mashed under the slightest touch of a fork.  I forged ahead with an experimental plan and a tart shell I had prepared and chilling in the freezer.

I was nervous to present it for dinner at my friend’s house, but the intense focus of my friends during dessert reassured my latest experimentation.  The result was as if I had grafted vines and trees and yielded a new fruit! Pennsylvania may not produce (or I have yet to discover) the wine that flows long into the hours of a dinner party night, but it can lead to quite the tipsy tart and a dessert that pleasantly satisfies a group of friends before the viewing of a French film from the 80s!  Best to leave the drinking wine to the French for now.

The Tipsy Tart Recipe

Cream Cheese Crust
(makes extra for pot pie provisions)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 package cream cheese
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
Apple cider vinegar and water, mixed and chilled


Mazza Vineyards Country Red Table Wine
Dawson’s Orchards Granny Smith Apples, cut into wedges
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
3-4 Tablespoons unsalted organic butter
½ cup Chopped Walnuts
½ cup Milroy Farms Maple Syrup
3 Tbs Organic Brown Sugar


Prepare the tart dough ahead of time and chill in the freezer.

Cut the apples into wedges.  Soak the apples in the red wine until softened.  In this case, it was more than two weeks, but that was incidental.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F

Remove the pie shell from the freezer.  Drain off the excess wine and fill the shell with the wine-soaked apples.  Using a fork, mush the apples into a puree.

Over medium heat, lightly sauté butter, maple syrup, walnuts, oats and brown sugar until lightly coated and mixed.  The proportions depend on the tart surface to cover and the taste buds to tempt.  This is Grandma style baking, so the proportions are merely suggestions!

Top the wine-apple filling with the sautéed mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tart edges are golden brown.

Serve warm with French Vanilla ice cream to deserving friends watching an 80s French film!

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