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This tart recipe from James Peterson's new Baking cookbook is easily adapted to just about any fruit. Simply cook the fruit on the stovetop, transfer it to the prepared tart shell, then add the custard and bake as directed.

* Start to finish: 11/2 hours (45 minutes active). Makes 8 servings.

* What you'll need:


91/2-inch tart ring or fluted tart pan

Dried beans or rice, for baking the tart shell

For the tart:

1 basic prepared pie crust

3 large apples (1 pound 8 ounces)

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup butter

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Powdered sugar, for dusting

* How to do it:

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Roll the dough 2 inches larger than the tart ring or pan. Line the pan with the dough, gently pressing it into the corners. Fold excess dough outward over the rim of the pan. Trim the excess by rolling a rolling pin over the rim.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the tart, then fill it with enough dried beans or rice to come up the sides. Bake until the edges are golden brown, then remove the beans and parchment and bake until the center is golden brown, about 15 minutes total.

Set the tart shell aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 325 F.

Peel the apples and rub them with the lemon. Halve and core the apples, then cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges.

In a nonstick saute pan over medium, combine the apples and butter. Add the vanilla bean, if using, and gently toss or stir the apples for about 12 minutes, or until they're a golden brown.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar over the apples. Continue to toss or stir for about 5 minutes longer, or until the apple wedges are deep brown on both sides. Be careful not to break them. Remove from the heat.

To make the custard, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture gets a little pale. Stir in the milk.

If you used the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds in each of the halves and add these to the egg mixture; otherwise, add the vanilla extract.

Arrange the apples in the prebaked tart shell and pour the custard mixture over them. Place the tart on a baking sheet, then bake for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set at the center.

Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

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