Pink Pearl Apple Tart with Frangipane

 

I just love this time of year with all the various type of apples.  Is it just me, or are you also surprised each year on how many kind of apple varieties seem to pop up into the super market? I had heard about this particular variety last year so I went on a hunt this year. And by a hunt, I’m not kidding… Unfortunately I found out by some weird cruel joke that this little rouge gem has a short harvest life. Life can be so mean sometimes! None the less, my hauty tauty shi shi (high end super market) here in the Phoenix Valley (AJ’s) carried them. I finally got smart and called the produce department first to check. Yatzee! I snagged them and quickly wrapped them in a Debbie Meyer green bag to preserve their precious life!!!

Side note: If you don’t know about Debbie Meyer green bags– you need to buy them- they extend any produce for DAYsssssss. Anyway, I digress…back to the apples. The “pink pearl” is the apple that I swear has been kissed by God. It’s beauty is so unique. Some are light pink inside and some are down right fuchsia color. Are they not the coolest thing?! Can you tell I’m totally geeked out about them? They taste amazing too; they are kind of a cross between a Granny Smith and a Gala; tart but a little sweet at the same time.  They are crisp and hold their texture when used in baking.  The outside of the skin is thin and has a yellowy green color.

Pink Pearl Apple Tart with Frangipane

You will need a sheet a puff pastry. *Try to find the type that is all butter. I like Dufour brand.

Note: The typical brand you find in the grocer that is Pepperidg***** is NOT all butter. I sadly found this out when I was in pastry school years ago. I never knew. Just an FYI.

4-5 Sweet-tart apples, peeled, and sliced thin

 

Frangipane Filling

1/4 C unsalted butter (room temp)

1/4 C granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 egg (room temp)

1/2 Cup blanched almond flour

1/4 tsp. pure almond extract

 

*Egg wash for baking (one egg whisked with a fork)

*powdered sugar for serving

In a medium bowl: cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until smooth. Note: [A hand mixer is best]. Add the egg and beat until combined. Stir in the almond flour and extract and then beat just until combined. Note: If you over beat the mixture can separate. If you like your frangipane a little more smooth you can use the food processor just make sure to not over process or it can separate.

Thaw the puff pastry. Unfold and pinch any folds together with your fingers or gently roll with a rolling pin to smooth out creases. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Score a 1 inch border around the perimeter of the puff, but don’t go all the way through the pastry. Spread the frangipane filling evenly onto the pastry but stay within the border. Shingle the apples tightly nestled on top of the filling and then sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. Brush the border with egg wash. Place the entire assembled tart on the sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill prior to baking. (Puff pastry always needs to be very cold when it goes into the oven to ensure you get that great rise). Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until border is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with a sprinkling of confectioners sugar. Note: the tart is best served the day it is made as the filling tends to soften the pastry.

 


Caramel Apple Macarons

caramel-apple-macarons-to-celebrate-fall

Leftover caramel in the fridge is a very dangerous thing. Especially when you discover how good it is stirred into a cup of hot coffee. That leftover caramel got me thinking. Lately I’ve been kind of macaron obsessed. Don’t know why, but it seems to comes in waves. The macaron obsession is real. I was in Safeway and started daydreaming of macaron flavors (I know I’m weird) when I spotted this bag of dried green apples. I’m constantly on the lookout for freeze dried fruits to grind up to add to macaron batter. A quick side note: if you use freeze dried fruits they MUST be rock hard and not have any moisture to them or it doesn’t work.

Caramel apple season is upon us, and I’m so ready for apple desserts, so I thought it would be fun to come up with a caramel apple macaron.  Any more than 2 tablespoons of apple powder messes with the shell and it doesn’t come out right; so to amp up the apple flavor even more, I simply sprinkled some on top of the batter before baking. I also sprinkled some on top of caramel filling before capping off the macaron.

You could also cut a piece of the dried apple and smush it down into the caramel and cap off the macaron to achieve max flavor, but since I had some leftover ground up pieces of apple I chose to go that route. Or do both! I love how when you smush the top macaron onto the caramel all the little bits of dried apple are visible on the sides.

caramel-apple-macs-resized

Caramel & Green Apple Macarons

Caramel Filling

yield: about 1  1/2 Cups

200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 Cup + 1 tsp.)

pinch of kosher salt

2 Tbsp. water

90 grams unsalted butter (about 6 Tbsp.)

120 ml heavy cream (8 Tbsp.)

 

In a microwave glass measuring cup  place the heavy cream and microwave until very warm, and set aside. In a heavy saucepan place the sugar, salt, and water and stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil without stirring (brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush if crystals form) and continue cooking until medium amber color. Carefully stir in the cream and whisk to combine. Stir in the butter and continue to cook for one more minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Pour caramel in a container and chill until ready to use. Note: If you want salted caramel stir in 1 teaspoon of either fleur de sel or kosher salt once you remove from the heat at the very end.

Green Apple Macaron Shells

yield: about 2 dozen macaron sandwiches

Freeze dried granny smith apples

165 gms almond flour

165 gms confectioners sugar

150 grams granulated sugar

115 grams egg whites (about 4 whites)

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

electric green gel food color (I use Americolor)

mint green gel food color (I use Americolor)

 

In a high speed blender place a couple handfuls of the dried apple and pulverize until you achieve a fine powder. Sift through a fine mesh strainer and measure out 2 Tbsp. of the fine powder. Note-there will be some bigger pieces that remain and that’s okay, reserve those to sprinkle on top as well as adding to filling later.

In a food processor pulse the almond flour and confectioners sugar about 5 times. Sift into a bowl and whisk in the 2 Tbsp. of apple powder and set aside.

In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer place the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk until foamy (I actually do this by hand). With the mixer on medium fitted with the whisk attachment, gradually add the granulated sugar in small increments then turn the mixer up to medium high and whisk for about 8 minutes or until meringue appears marshmallow like and stiff peaks are achieved. When the meringue is about 90 percent mixed add in a few drops of both mint green and electric green to your desired color; keeping in mind the color fades a bit when the shells bake.  Tip: to test if the meringue is ready, turn off the mixer and turn the bowl upside down.  The meringue should not shift or move, if it does mix a couple more minutes and test again.  Add the almond flour mixture to the meringue and fold several times until when lifting the spatula, the mixture falls back into the bowl in sheets or ribbons.

Prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat liner. Pipe the macaron batter about 1 inch size circles leaving about 1 1/2 inches in between. Rap the sheet pan on the counter several times to release any air bubbles and then sprinkle generously with the reserved apple dust.

Preheat the oven to either 300° F or (275° F if using a convection oven). Bake the shells for 18-20 minutes; stopping halfway to cover the shells with tinfoil to prevent the apple pieces on top from getting too brown. To test if the shells are done wiggle one gently and if the top still moves then bake another minute or two and check again. Let the shells cool completely on the pans before removing.

Let the caramel sit out to soften a bit to piping consistency.  Pipe a small amount on one half of a shell and generously sprinkle some of the reserved apple dust and top off with another shell of the same size. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 24 hours before bringing to room temperature to serve. store any leftover (as if) in the refrigerator.


green-apple-caramel-macs

green-apple-macarons-with-caramel-filling

 


Apple Turnovers

I know you want something easy. Nothing too fussy. Nothing too hard to pull together on a weekend. Sure, I get it. A good low maintenance recipe. A good reason , err– excuse to eat pie (sort of) for breakfast. I gotcha. More grown up than a pop tart. Something to throw into the hand of a 13 year old zooming out the door who doesn’t eat breakfast but complains he’s hungry. A grumpy husband perhaps who “doesn’t do breakfast”. Uh huh- you know the type. Enter stage left…duh duh duh the turnover. Your answer to something you can hold in your hand and shove (yep, conveniently it has a starter corner) into your–dare I say it–“Pie hole”. Sorry…I had to go there. Your welcome.

apple turnover filling

turnovers assembled

apple currant turnovers 2

apple currant turnovers

apple currant turnover

Apple Turnovers

yield: 4 turnovers

1/2 package of ready made puff pastry; thawed in the refrigerator

2 Golden Delicious apples

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp. dried currants (optional)

1/3 Cup sugar + 2 Tbsp.

1/2 tsp. apple pie spice

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

2 1/2 tsp. water

egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. water

coarse white sugar or sugar in the raw (Demerara sugar)

1. Peel and chop the apples into about 1/2 inch pieces. Immediately toss the apples with the lemon juice to coat evenly. Stir in the (optional) currants. Add the sugar and spice and combine well. Mix together  the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside.

2. In a skillet melt the butter and add the apple mixture. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until apples soften. Stir in the vanilla and then add the cornstarch mixture and heat until filling bubbles and thickens, cooking for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the filling to a bowl and chill to allow the mixture to cool.

3. Unfold the puff pastry and sprinkle both sides lightly with flour. Using a rolling pill smooth out the fold lines and roll the pastry lightly into about an 11 inch square. Cut the puff pastry into 4 equal squares. Looking at each individual square of pastry brush the left inside and lower edges of each of the squares lightly with egg wash; being careful not to get the edges too wet.  Place about 3-4 tablespoons of the apple filling to the middle of each square. Fold down the top left corner edge of pastry to meet the opposite lower right corner to meet the corners together to form a triangle, and press lightly with your finger to seal. Take a fork dipped in flour and press/seal the edges of the triangle together. Place the turnovers onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush each turnover with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Pierce the top of each turnover with a fork twice. Chill the turnovers directly on the tray for 30-40 minutes.

Note: you may fill & assemble each turnover and freeze unbaked. To bake off in a 425° F oven from frozen state; just bake a bit longer.

Note: you most likely will have about 3 Tbsp. of the filling leftover; you can save it and use to stir into oatmeal or yogurt later in the week.

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

5. Bake turnovers for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Cool the sheet over a wire rack until turnovers are cool enough to handle. Best served warm.


A Trip to the Apple Orchard…

Fall is for apples, pumpkins, corn mazes, spiced cider and picking. Picking (literally) up any harvest you can get your hands on. In this case- we’re talking apples. I’m a Midwest girl. A Michigander. Apple cider probably runs in my veins. I know this sounds biased, but you just can’t get good apple cider outside Michigan. #SorryNotSorry. It’s the truth. I never met an apple I didn’t like.

Seth grew up in the city of San Francisco, so it’s not like he had tripped or stumbled upon an apple orchard before. I wanted Seth to experience visiting an apple orchard- so we took a little trip to Cranes Apple Orchard which is in Fennville Michigan; not too far from where I grew up. The smell of ripe apples, the crisp Fall air, the slightly soggy ground as you trudge along row after endless row of delicious sweet (or tart) apples. Every variety of apple you can imagine. Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Gala…as well as some names I’ve never even heard of…the list was endless.

Yes, there is the ubiquitous sweet elderly lady-(probably there volunteering and not getting paid a dime- (but she doesn’t mind) serving up fresh apple slices. She’s donned in her striped woolen hat, and appropriate cold weather jacket as she lovingly grips a dark ruby red apple in her rough -(years on the farm)- worn calloused hand. She carves off a little chunk and hands you the little morsel as she awaits your reaction as you bite into the sweet juicy nugget. You nod, you chew, you pause just long enough, and politely without food in your mouth. “It’s sooo good!” you exclaim, as you make eye contact with her, and she smiles back in approval.  You can try a slice of each variety (she seriously doesn’t mind) before you dodge deep into the orchard abyss of appleness to begin picking.  This is not the Piggly Wiggly or Safeway. This is nature. Looking around you see apple trees as far as the eye will take you- with apples of all different hues. Your nose dripping from the cool air as you search each tree for the perfect apple to place in your bag. Apples that have NOT been shined, waxed or stacked up in a perfect tower of pyramid fashion. Children need to see where their food comes from once in a while. It’s a good thing. Beautiful ripe apples with leaves still attached. To top off the day, we stumbled and sometimes even fumbled- our way through the large corn maze on the property.

I hope you enjoy the pictures~

 

Seth holding apple

orchard landscape

The picture below; these may not be apple trees, but pretty none the less…orchard apple trees

barn at orchard

apple orchard

grounded apples 2

grounded apples

Even on the ground they are still beauties

Something tells me in this picture below; a little one must have dropped a Golden Delicious amongst the Cortland apple trees…

grounded apples 3

cranes orchard

apple tree 2

apples 1

crane orchard truck

apple tree 3

golden delicious apple treegolden apple trees

 

And just when we thought we had no energy left- we hit the corn maze; just a one hour detour…no biggy.

corn maze 2

corn maze entrance

deep inside the maze

a look at the maze from above

Seth in the corn maze

For some reason, I’m thinking of popcorn…

corn cob

maybe I should have turned left

Seth is thinking, Hmmm, maybe we should have turned left back there…

but I’m happy to report we made it out safe and sound.

corn maze


Apple Pie Bread

Dreary rainy weather, check. Urge to make bread, check. Soft cozy blanket, check. Kettle of tea, check. Time to make bread. This is the kind of bread that will have your neighbors stopping by for no good reason; like they got your junk mail and thought they should bring it by. Uh huh. Trying to sell your house? Make this bread right before your showing or open house-the house smells divine while it’s baking. With apples being abundant right now it sounded like the perfect type of thing to be baking in the oven with the rain falling outside. Cuddled on the couch with your favorite soft cozy blankey, rain falling, sipping a cup of hot tea. What could be more perfect. You might even have all the ingredients on hand. I tweaked the original recipe a bit and added apple pie spice to the batter and a little cinnamon to the streusel topping. Enjoy~

apple bread

apple bread loaf

apple spice bread

Apple Pie-Spice Bread

recipe: adapted from Better Homes and Garden “Baking” cookbook

yield: one standard loaf (9x5x3- inch) pan

1/2 Cup butter, softened

1 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup buttermilk or “sour milk”

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. apple pie spice (such as McCormick)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 Cup raisins (I used golden)

1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted

2 Cups shredded, peeled apples (about 3-4 medium-I used a mixture of not too tart and not too sweet)

1 recipe streusel-nut topping* (see below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F or (180° C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and apple pie spice mix with a fork and set aside.

2. In a stand mixer or large bowl cream together the 1/2 Cup butter and 1 Cup sugar until fluffy; about 1 minute. In a glass measuring cup combine the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla with a fork. Add the milk mixture gradually to the mixer with the running on low and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture all at once and beat on medium low (careful if using a hand mixer) until combined, being careful not to overbeat. Stir in the raisins and walnuts. With a rubber spatula fold in the shredded apple along with any juice that collected. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Prepare the streusel topping and sprinkle over the top of the bread.

3. Bake at 350° F for about 60-65 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Let the bread cool in the pan over a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the bread from the pan and continue to cool completely over the wire rack. Note; this streusel falls apart easily when cutting; to help prevent this, wrap the loaf in plastic wrap first and cut it the next day. If you can wait that long!!

Streusel Nut Topping:

1/4 Cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. flour

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

3 Tbsp. slightly soft butter


Green Apple Sorbet, Tuile Cookie Cups and Ice Cream Cones

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. I wanted to make something green. I’ve been wanting to make this green apple sorbet for a while, so decided that in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day it would be a good idea. The sorbet is so refreshing. It is very tart but a little sweet. It would be perfect on a hot sweltering day. The contrast between the tart sorbet and the sweet cookie is perfect. Tuile cookie batter is fun to play around with as you can make all sorts of shapes once you bake it off. I added 2 different tints of green to small portions of the batter to make it festive and fun. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Note: this recipe takes several hours of prep; so make sure to read through thoroughly before starting.

Green apple sorbet served with cone 2

Tuile Cones

I love how pretty these look, lined up on a tray

Tuile Cones 4

Tuile Cones 2

Green Apple Sorbet Cone 3

The perfect little treat on a hot day…

Green Apple Sorbet Cone 4

Green Apple Sorbet 3

Green Apples 2

tuiles ready for oven

Tuile batter ready for the oven

Green Apple Sorbet ready to processI could not live without my Vitamix…

Green Apples

Green Apple Sorbet

4 Granny Smith apples washed well, stems removed

juice of one small lemon

1  1/3 Cup apple juice

6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1. Place the lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl. Peel 2 out of the 4 apples, leave the other 2 apples with the peel on, but core (discard the cores) and cut all the apples into 1/2 inch cubes. Stir the apple cubes well with the juice and placed the cubes flat on a baking sheet and place the cubed apples in the freezer and freeze until firm.

2. Take the apple juice and place in a glass measuring cup and add the sugar. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes so that the sugar dissolves. Place the apple juice in the refrigerator to chill.

3. While the apples and juice a chilling; make the tuile batter.

4. Once the apples are frozen firm, (about 2 hours) place the apple juice in the bottom of a blender or Vitamix, and then add the frozen apples. Blend several minutes until smooth. Process in your ice cream maker as directed. Pour the mixture into a freezer proof container and freeze until firm. Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker- you can make it in your Vitamix. Allow the mixture to become almost frozen- then scoop out and process again in Vitamix for several minutes then freeze again until completely firm.

Tuile Cookies & Tuile Ice Cream Cones

recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

(yield: ~ 12 cones)

3/4 Cup sugar

3 lg. egg whites

1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted, cooled to room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

green food coloring (optional)*

* For purposes here- I used Americolor in electric green and leaf green

1. In a medium bowl mix the egg whites and sugar with a whisk. Stir gently just to combine-you are not looking to make the mixture foamy. Add the cooled melted butter and vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Portion a small amount of batter into two separate bowls and add 2 drops of leaf green to one, and combine. Add two drops of leaf green to the other portion, stir to combine. Place plastic wrap over all 3 bowls of batter and chill for 4 hours. You can make the batter the day before if you wish.

2. To make the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a sheet pan with a Silpat mat or similar silicone liner. Take a small amount of batter and spread it thinly into a circle on the prepared tray. Tip: only bake off 2 cookies at a time, so you have ample time for shaping. Place the green colored batters in either a small paper cone, piping bag or small zip lock bag. Snip off a small corner. Pipe dots or stripes as desired over circles of batter. Have an offset thin spatula ready to form cookies once they come out of the oven. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes or cookies are lightly golden brown. Immediately take the spatula and carefully lift edge of cookie then slide spatula under cookie to remove and place the cookie over a small glass (to form a bowl) or shape into a cone for (ice cream cones). Tip: for ice cream cone shapes; when rolling pinch the pointy end firmly to make sure there is no hole in the bottom. Let cool.


Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies

Last week Seth and I went to the farmers market for a fruit run, and also to have a quick Sunday breakfast. The market has quite a gathering of food stalls. I was in the mood for something savory, and Seth was in the mood for something sweet. Seth decided to wait in the line for a Belgium waffle. While Seth was waiting in line for his waffle, I quickly grabbed a mushroom empanada at a nearby stall and joined Seth again while he waited patiently in line.  As I was munching on my empanada, it got me thinking about hand pies. I love to make hand pies. These blackberry-apple hand pies would be perfect for a Spring picnic. Gather your posse, pack some fried chicken, potato salad, iced tea and these sweet little pies. They are the perfect end to a great picnic.

Blackberry-apple hand pies picnic

Who’s ready for a Spring picnic?

Blackberry-apple hand pies closeup B

Blackberry-apple hand pies 2 jpg

Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies 7

Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies Collage copy

Blackberry-Apple Hand Pies

recipe adapted from fine cooking

yield ~ 1 dozen (3 inch) hand pies

One recipe of my “fearless pie crust” or pie crust of your choice

6 oz. container fresh blackberries (washed, dried) and cut in half

1 Lg. pink lady, fuji, or gala apple, peeled, cored and diced small

1/2 Cup lightly packed golden brown sugar

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

For egg wash: Mix 1 lg. egg yolk + 1 tsp. water in a small bowl

For sprinkling: coarse sugar

1. Prepare pie crust ahead of time and let it rest (by chilling in fridge) at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

2. In a medium bowl combine all of the filling ingredients except the egg wash and coarse sugar. Roll out pie crust until thin. Using a 3-4 inch cutter, cut out rounds of crust. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of filling onto each round and brush along outer edge lightly with egg wash. Try not to get the edges too wet or the crusts will not seal. Place another round on top and crimp with a floured fork to seal. Brush with egg wash and cut 3-4 vents in top of pies.

3. Bake pies in a 400 degree F preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.