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German Fruit Tarts

The amount of flour and butter depends on the size of the egg.
The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness/tartness of the fruit.
The amount of lemon juice depends on several factors.

Luckily, it is a very forgiving recipe so there are no wrong guesses,
just dough easier or harder to handle. All results are perfect!

Dough

Small egg : one cup flour : 6 T butter fits 10" round
Medium egg : 1 1/3 cups flour : 8 T butter fits 13 x 9 pan
Large egg : 2 cups flour : 12 T butter fits 15 x 10 pan
1 to 3 T sugar
some cinnamon
lemon juice, a few drops to 3 T

Perhaps because I rarely have small eggs, I usually make more dough
than needed and make a little tartlet for me to eat so I won't be
tempted to dive into the one for "company." Margarine can be used,
but there is a serious loss of flavor.

Cut butter into chunks. Put flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter into
food processor and mix until it looks grainy. Add the egg and
process until it gets into one big ball or almost does. If it
seems to need some help, add some lemon juice, drip by drip, until
it forms a soft ball. Sometimes I just take it out of the food
processor and make it into a ball myself, as long as it is fully
mixed. It should be a gooey mess, according to Leni, although I
add less lemon juice, so it ends up a greasy but not exactly gooey
mess. She did not roll the dough to get it into the pan, so she
wanted a softer dough. I do roll mine, so stiffer is fine.

Put the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the fruit and
topping.


Fruit

2 to 2 1/2 pounds of fruit
Fruits other than apples are best just short of squishy ripe, while
still firm enough to handle but not hard.

I peel and pit the fruit, but leave the halves uncut until I am
ready to place the fruit on the dough. I put a little lemon juice
on the halves to prevent discoloration. I scald peaches to remove
skin. I use a melon baller to get the seeds out of pears and
apples. Plums (the oval kind, with blue skin and yellow flesh) are
not peeled, and may need to be quartered to get them off their
pits, which is fine because they get cut into eighths, not sliced.
If a peach half won't come off its pit, cut it horizontally, in
order to maintain slicing shape.

Topping

1/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
1 - 2 T flour
for juicy fruit, maybe T cornstarch
1 1/2 - 2 T butter
a pinch to 1/8 tsp nutmeg
maybe a little cinnamon

Using a knife or fork, blend into a crumbly topping to sprinkle over
fruit. I prefer to get the butter completely cut into the dry
ingredients, so few if any lumps remain.

Assembly

Matza meal, or fine bread crumbs

Roll out the dough onto a piece of wax paper. It is a very rich
dough and does not roll very well. When it as close to the right
size as possible, flip it into the pan. Squish the dough out to
and up the sides. Remove the wax paper when you need to get at it
with your fingers. (Leni skipped the rolling and just squished.)
Sprinkle a thin layer of matza meal over the surface. Slice the
fruit halves from top to bottom, to get flat slices. Apples should
be cut quite thin, pears and peaches about 1/4 to 3/8 inch. The
curvy top and bottom go into a bowl, to be eaten while the tart is
in the oven, or to be used for the little consolation tart. Sliced
fruit can be overlapped, plums must be placed very close together,
as overlapped as possible. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Bake at 375 F, for 45 minutes, until the crust is just getting
brown. The consolation tartlet can come out at the same time,
after going in maybe 10 minutes after the tart. I make it a
free-form shape, and bake it on a small cookie sheet.

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