Apple-Walnut Torte

Did I mention that Scandinavians have a wealth of buttery-rich baking traditions? I made this dish for a church potluck on Sunday – the original recipe was called Manor House Apple Torte (Herregardstarta), from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, by Beatrice Ojakangas.  I made a few tweaks, described below;

Apple-Walnut Torte
Crust:
2 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp. cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a food processor. Then add the butter and process until crumbly. Add egg and water and process until the dough comes together into a ball. Remove dough from processor, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 10-inch springform pan. Split the dough into 2 portions and roll each out into a 12-inch circle. Gently transfer the bottom crust into the springform pan and bring the crust up about 1 inch all around. If it breaks and cracks, just pinch the edges back together again, this crust is pretty forgiving. Reserve the top crust while you assemble the filling.

Filling:
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into thin wedges
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (original called for hazelnuts/filberts)

Lay half the apples on the bottom crust, top with half the sugar, raisins and walnuts. Then repeat layers. Top with the upper crust and pinch edges of bottom and top crust together to seal.

Topping:
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and spreadable. Spread over the top crust of the pastry. Prick the crust with a fork all over the top. Sprinkle with nuts. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet with a rim, to catch any drippings. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.

Remove from oven to cool, leaving the pan on the cookie sheet. Depending on the moisture in the apples, the torte may continue to leak liquid while it is cooling. Serve plain or with ice cream.

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