Rustic Apple, Shallot, and Manchego Tart

Serves 8.

This free-form tart gets a savory twist with shallots, cheese and fresh thyme. It’s delicious served warm with a simple salad for lunch, or as a side to roast chicken or pork. From Beth Dooley.

Crust

• 1 1/2 c. flour, plus more for rolling dough

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

• 3 to 5 tbsp. ice water

Filling

• 2 large apples, cored and sliced

• 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

• 1/4 c. finely diced manchego or Gruyère cheese

• 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into bits

• 1 to 2 grinds black pepper

• 1 sprig thyme for garnish

Directions

To prepare the crust: Whisk together the flour and salt. With a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Toss in 2 tablespoons of the ice water and keep adding more, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a chunky mixture. Gather and shape the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick, cover with plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften a bit. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches across. Gently lift the dough and set on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

To prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, toss together the apples, shallot, cheese and thyme. Pile the filling onto the dough. Dot the filling with the butter and a grind or two of pepper. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling so it covers most, but not all, of the apples (you want the filling to peek through). Cover the tart lightly with a piece of aluminum foil.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the crust is lightly browned and the apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Garnish with the sprig of thyme and serve warm or at room temperature.