This is one of those classic desserts that I can’t believe I haven’t made before! Thanks again, Daring Bakers, for getting me to try something new and delicious. And so beautiful!
For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.
Since I of course didn’t make this until 2 days before the posting date and I am off to visit family for the weekend I am going to keep this post pretty short. The recipe worked wonderfully well and I had no issues whatsoever. I would do it all the same the next time around.
Except for the apples. Mine were HUGE and I used the recommend 6 called for and had a bunch left over. You want more apples than the pan can hold since they do cook down, but I had probably 2 apples worth of slices left. That being said, I’d rather have too much than not enough.
The recipe for the pastry is easy and bakes up so flaky I know I’ll be making it again. I can’t believe I almost cheated and used a frozen puff pastry!
The caramel is a time consuming but fun project! Forgive these photos, but I thought it would be helpful to see the process. If I didn’t know the stages the sugar would go through I would’ve thought something was going terribly wrong. So, no need to worry when the sugar gets all nasty and clumpy and looks like nothing good can come from it. Something very good is coming. Just keep stirring and be patient.
The apples get wonderfully soft in the rich caramel. A scoop of plain vanilla bean ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to this rich dessert.
After arranging the apples and letting them cool a bit, place the crust on top and bake. I wasn’t supposed to let the tarte cool all the way before unmolding, so I was worried that it wouldn’t come out cleanly. I warmed the pan on the stove very breifly and it came out perfectly.
This is a beautiful dessert, perfect for impressing your guests! Or perfect to make for yourself and your baked good-loving toddler when your husband has gone out of town…
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup ( 5 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ cup ice cold water
Pulse flour, butter and salt in a food processor until butter is in pea sized pieces.
Stream in the water until the dough just comes together.
Turn out on a floured surface and press together into a square.
Roll into a 10 inch rectangle. Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up so that you have 3 layers. Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat this process 4 more times.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour, but up to a day.
4 large or 5-6 medium-sized apples (I used Granny Smith)
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
Peel the apples and cut them into 4-6 pieces depending on the size of the apples. Remove the cores in such a way that each apple quarter has a flat inner side: when placed rounded-side-up, it should sit on a flat base. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the apples and prevent an overly runny caramel. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Melt the butter in a very heavy, 9” or 10″ oven-proof saucepan over medium heat, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar. Stir with a whisk until the sugar melts and becomes a pale, smooth caramel. The sugar will seem dry and chunky at first, then will start to melt and smooth out. If the butter appears to separate out from the caramel, just keep whisking until it is a cohesive sauce. This can be a long process, but it eventually works! Remove from the heat.
Preheat oven to 375F. Discard the liquid that has come out of the apples, then add the apple quarters to the caramel, round side down. They won’t all fit in a single layer at first, but as they cook they will shrink a bit. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, pressing down gently on the apples with a spoon to cover them in the caramel liquid. Move the apples around the pan gently so that they all cook evenly, trying to keep them round side down. When the apples have shrunk enough to mostly fit in a single layer and are starting to soften but still keep their shape, remove the pan from the heat.
With a wooden spoon, arrange the apples, round side down, in a single layer of concentric circles covering the bottom of the pan. Set aside until the filling stops steaming before covering with pastry.
Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, and trim it into a circle about 1″ in diameter larger than your saucepan. Lay it over the filling, tucking in the edges between the apples and the sides of the pan, and cut a few steam vents in the pastry. Place the saucepan on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case the filling decides to bubble over the sides) and place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, then increase the heat to 400°F for 5 minutes. Keep and eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.
Remove from the oven and let sit just until the caramel stops bubbling. Immediately place a serving platter (slightly larger in diameter than the saucepan) over the pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grab hold of the saucepan and platter and quickly invert everything to unmold the Tatin onto the platter. If any of the apples stick to the pan or come out of place, rearrange them with a spatula.
The tarte can be served warm from the oven or at room temperature. Suggested accompaniments include vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.
I’ve made this salad twice now. It’s so delicious. These pictures don’t do it justice, but trust me. Yum! It’s a great change of pace from the typical spring mix salad that graces out table most nights.
Many side items can be made in advance, but this one requires you to make it ahead of time! This is great for me. I do a lot of dinner prep (or at least I try to) during nap time, and having part of the meal totally completed early in the day puts a little spring in my step. It’s the little things, you guys!
The first time I made this I used pistachios and cherries, and this last time I used pine nuts and cherries. Both variations were great, just depends on what you have and what you like. You could easily leave out the nuts, use something else, and even replace the cherries with cranberries. I wouldn’t use anything other than the parmesan, though. The flavor is perfect with the brussels and it has a great texture that other cheeses lack. Any hard cheese will do. Make sure to grate it on the large holes of your grater.
The recipe is from a Test Kitchen Best of 2015 magazine I picked up at the grocery store. The original recipe feeds 8, so I cut it in half. While I could sit and eat the entire bowl of this by myself, it will feed 4 as a side dish. The first time around my husband and I ate it as a side 2 nights in a row. This last time I made it I ate it for lunch a couple days. You need to let the salad marinate for a few hours so that the brussels soften a bit. It is best the day it’s made, but this will last for a couple days in the fridge.
Take the time to thinly slice the brussels. Put some good music on or put something good on tv (may I suggest the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?!) and get to work with your paring knife. Sometimes tedious work like this is therapeutic for me. Other than that, there isn’t too much work to be done. I made the dressing in a mini food processor, eliminating the need to finely chop the shallot and garlic.
This is a great spring salad with lots of ways to make it your own. Enjoy!
I’m jumping on the Pi day bandwagon! And why not? Any excuse to make pie. And I also happen to love dates that have some numerical-mathematical significance. 3-14-15 and 3.1415! It’s amazing! And tasty.
And oh my goodness. These sweet little pies are magical. The best way I can describe them is to compare them to those Duncan Hines boxed mix blueberry muffins with the can of blueberries and the streusel topping. Making those is one of earliest memories I have of baking something on my own. If you haven’t ever had them before you are missing something special.
These came into being so perfectly. I had a frozen pie crust (this recipe from Smitten Kitchen), a can of blueberry pie filling (don’t judge), a half package of cream cheese and some leftover frozen streusel from kolaches (this recipe). All of that came together to make something so incredible that I will be making these again without changing a thing.
Aside from making the pie crust there isn’t much work to do.
Prepare the crusts.
Spread with cream cheese.
You could make this in a regular pie plate, but these mini pie pans are a generous individual size and I really liked the way the pies baked in them. After the pies cooled they were very easily removed from the pans. They seem pricey, but are worth it. They’d be great for pot pies, too.
Go enjoy Pi day and have a great weekend!
Blueberry Cream Cheese Streusel Mini Pies
1 unbaked pie crust for a 9-inch pie
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 can blueberry pie filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, chilled
Make streusel: Use a pastry blender to combine sugar, flour and butter. Chill.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Divide the pie crust into 4 pieces, roll each piece out into a circle that fits into the pan. Trim the edges. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar together until well combined. Spread cream cheese mixture into the bottom of each pie.
Top with blueberry filling.
Top with streusel.
Place pies on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the crusts and tops are golden brown. If they brown too quickly top with a sheet of foil.
Let cool and then serve warm or room temp with vanilla ice cream.
Sometimes you just need to bake something. Maybe the weather is dreary, you’ve had a bad day, or, if you’re anything like me, you just need a project that has a beginning and an end and tangible (and edible!) results because no other task you’ve attempted that day has been successfully completed. You want something quick with very little prep and a short bake time so that you don’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of your labor. These oatmeal bars meet every one of those qualifications AND they’re delicious. They remind me a lot of the oat and honey Nature Valley bars. Drizzle on some melted chocolate chips to make them a bit fancier, but they are really good just on their own.
This recipe is from a cookbook I have baked from a lot, but it’s been a while, Rebecca Rather’s Pastry Queen. It is one of my favorite dessert cookbooks. Most of you probably scrounge around on the internet for recipes, like I do. But then you browse an old cookbook and find a real gem and you tell yourself you’ll do it more often. But you somehow find yourself going back to the computer or pinterest the next time. I urge you to go to your cookbooks! I have so many of them, some I have never even cooked from. And that’s a shame. I vow to do more cooking from physical cookbooks. You should join me. Back to the bars.
If you bake at all, then you have everything you need for these bars. They come together in a snap and bake up in a mere 20 minutes. After cooling they are very crunchy, so slicing them is really more like sawing or chopping. If you’re not so concerned with appearance you can just break them apart into pieces. Those pieces might be amazing along with a bowl of vanilla ice cream…and some hot fudge…
At my bi-weekly trip to Target I found a bag of Nestle chocolate chips that are filled with caramel! Of course I bought them. There was no other choice. They played a big part in making these chocolate chip cookies super delicious.
I’ve had the recipe for Big and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies marked in my Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for a while now. I’m not sure why it took me so long to make them. I finally made them when I needed a quick dessert to include with a meal for a friend who just had a baby. The casserole I made for them was really simple, quick, delicious AND kid friendly. I’ll have to share that one soon.
Along with the heavenly filled chips I added some crushed up pretzels to these cookies. They didn’t stand out in flavor but definitely added a different texture to the cookies which made them extra special. These are truly thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies, so if you’re looking for a thin variety look here or here.
One thing I love about these cookies is that you don’t have to soften butter! You just have to melt it. This makes the interior of the cookie chewy. I also love the extra yolks, for two reasons. One, it makes the cookie soft and tender. Two, I have extra whites ready to add in to my scrambled eggs. I hate using just the whites and throwing away the yolks. So this way I get to use the whole egg and not be wasteful. Win-win.
The base of this cookie is just begging for some different mix-ins. What are your favorite things to add in to your chocolate chip cookies?