New Season, New Website, and Apple Tart with Mascarpone

Pietree Orchard, Sweden, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
The apples are plentiful and developing size at Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

GOOD NEWS, apple lovers! The 2019 New England apple crop has arrived. Early season varieties are now being picked at some orchards, and the mid- and late-season apples are developing color and size.

The New England Apple Association has a brand-new website to showcase the fall crop. The most popular and comprehensive apple website in the region, newenglandapples.org has added many new and useful features. We are the source for:

  • Detailed listings of many of the region’s finest apple orchards and fruit farms, with contact and product information, hours, apple varieties grown, Google maps, and links to the orchard’s website. 
  • Photographs and descriptions of more than 120 apple varieties discovered, grown, or sold in New England, including their history, best uses, growing season, and a list of orchards where the apple is grown. The list is growing all the time.
  • Dozens of apple recipes, for every course at any meal, plus apple drinks, with new ones added every fall.
  • Information about how apples are grown, with photographs and more than 30 video programs on topics ranging from pollination to pruning, pie- and cider-making to Integrated Pest Management. 

Then, of course, there is this blog. Now beginning its tenth year, it will appear weekly on the home page now through November. We’ll be featuring more apple and orchard photography than ever before (including the new feature showcasing an orchard at the bottom of the home page), recipes, and news about the crop.

Cooper Farms, West Paris, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)

NEW ENGLAND’S APPLE ORCHARDS may be small relative to the vast expanses of Washington or New York state, but they are among the most beautiful in the nation, nestled in among hills and mountains, forests and lakes. The views are often stunning.

The chance to walk among the trees, taking in the beauty of thousands of pieces of hanging fruit and breathing their sweet fragrance is an experience not to be missed. The fact that you can come home with plenty of fresh, delicious fruit seems almost too good to be true.

There’s no better way to beat the late summer heat than to cool your heels in the soft grass of the orchard, picking a bag of peaches or apples to take home, or sipping a cold cider. Many New England orchards grow other fruits or vegetables as well, or have farm stands, bakeries, or cafes.

So spend a little time strolling through our new website, then choose your destination.

Stukas Farms, Lewiston, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
Randall Orchards, Standish, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
North Star Orchards, Madison, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)

YOU WILL NEED a little less than two apples for this recipe for Apple Tart with Mascarpone (if you buy them at the supermarket, look for New England grown). The variety you choose will affect the baking time. The moist, custard-like filling sets while the tart cools, but make sure the apples are fully baked before removing from the oven. 

Mascarpone (pronounced mahs-car-POH-nay) is an Italian cream cheese made from just two ingredients—whole cream and citric or tartaric acid. It is simple enough that it can be made at home. Best known as a featured ingredient in the coffee-flavored dessert tiramisu, mascarpone excels in this rich, flavorful tart, with the subtle flavors of lemon zest and almond extract accenting the apples.

Apple Tart with Mascarpone

Apple Tart with Mascarpone (Russell Steven Powell)

Pastry

3/4 c flour

1/4 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c butter, softened

1 egg

1/4 c sugar

1/2 t almond extract

Filling

1 egg

1/4 c sugar

1-1/2 c mascarpone cheese

zest from 1 lemon

2 T peach or apricot jam

2 medium New England apples, cored and sliced (about 2 cups), such as Paula Red or Pristine

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In medium bowl, combine pastry ingredients. Form into a ball, adding flour if necessary.

Roll out dough and place in a 9” pie plate. Prick the bottom with a fork in several places and bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly.

In large bowl, mix mascarpone, egg, lemon zest, and sugar.

Spread jam over pastry.

Spread half of mascarpone filling on pastry, then arrange apple slices on top.

Spread remaining filling over apples.

Bake for about 55-60 minutes, until golden brown on top and apples are soft. Cool before serving.

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