Tag Archives: apple

Apple-and-Pear Galette with Walnut Streusel

2 Jan

I made mini brown sugar pumpkin cheesecakes with oreo crust this past Thanksgiving as one dessert per my uncle’s request for something with pumpkin. And my mom wanted something fruity, so I figured it would be great to take advantage of pears being in season.  However, I don’t like it when cooked pears get mushy.  I came across this recipe on Food & Wine magazine, and thought the addition of the apple and streusel would keep the galette’s texture interesting.

I was also super excited to roll out the dough on our gorgeous new countertop!  Thanks Johnny and the Expert Hardwood Flooring team!  These small joys are what life is all about.  At our old apartment, Kev and I didn’t have a lot of kitchen counter space and what little we had was right next to the sink and really the only prep space we had.

On the New Countertop!

On the New Countertop!

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2  cup ice water

    Crust Ingredients

    Crust Ingredients

Streusel:
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
Filling:
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 firm Bartlett pears, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. MAKE THE CRUST In a food processor, pulse the 2 cups of flour with the salt. Add the butter and pulse until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle the water on top and pulse until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, 1 hour.

    Crumbly with Pea Size Clumps of Butter

    Crumbly with Pea Size Clumps of Butter

  2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE STREUSEL Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool, then chop.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and, using your fingers, pinch it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the walnuts and pinch the streusel into clumps. Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.
  4. MAKE THE FILLING Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the pears, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the salt and lemon juice. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 19-by-13-inch oval. Ease the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Mound the filling in the center of the oval, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the fruit and fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling.

    Ready for the Oven

    Ready for the Oven

  5. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Bake the galette for 45 to 50 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the streusel and crust are golden brown. Let the galette cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using, before serving.
    Apple-and-Pear Galette with Walnut Streusel

    Apple-and-Pear Galette with Walnut Streusel

     

Sliced!

Sliced!

This was a big hit at Thanksgiving.  The tart crispness of the apple really complimented the sweet pear. My aunt hosted this year, so I had to let it cool and bring it over at room temp, but I would definitely recommend serving it a little warm with ice cream if you make it at home!

Apple Pie

17 Apr

Proud to finally share my first double-crust pie with a really great apple filling!  I made my first attempt was last Thanksgiving (photos are from that time), and I made it again for Christmas as adapted in the recipe below.  I found the filling recipe in the New York Times. I thought there was a bit too much apple cider vinegar the first time I made this, so I’d recommend cutting it down from 1 tablespoon to 2 teaspoons. Here’s the recipe as adapted:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges (5 large honeycrisps will do it)
  • ¼ground allspice
  • ½ground cinnamon
  • ¼kosher salt
  • ¾plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2all-purpose flour
  • 2cornstarch
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1 recipe All-Butter No-Fail Flaky Pie Crust
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan. Stir to coat fruit with butter and cook, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the spices, salt and 3/4 cup sugar, and sprinkle this over the pan, stirring to combine. Lower heat and cook until apples have started to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk flour and cornstarch together while the apples are cooking.
  2. Sprinkle flour mixture little by little over the apples while stirring to prevent lumps, cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. I hate having lumps, so I used a mesh colander to sift it over the filling. Remove pan from heat, add cider vinegar, stir and scrape fruit mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely. NOTE: The fruit mixture will cool faster if spread out on a rimmed baking sheet – line with parchment paper for easier clean up.
  3. Place a large baking sheet on the middle rack of oven and preheat to 425 degrees Farenheit. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 12″ in diameter. Fit this crust into a 9-inch pie plate, trimming it to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Place this plate, with the dough, in the freezer.

    Rollin' in the Dough

    Rollin’ in the Dough

  4. Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 10 or 11 inches in diameter.
  5. Remove pie crust from freezer and put the cooled pie filling into it. Cover with remaining dough. Press the edges together, trim the excess, then crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Using a sharp knife, cut three or four steam vents in the top of the crust. Lightly brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.

    Pie Filling

    Pie Filling

  6. Place pie in oven and bake on hot baking sheet for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375. Continue to cook until the interior is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes more. Remove and allow to cool on a kitchen rack, about two hours.

    Not too Shabby

    Not too Shabby

Rustic Apple Tart

11 Oct

Kevin’s grandma turned 92 last Wednesday, so as a precursor to the birthday week, we had a little birthday celebration for her.  She can’t have nuts or chocolate, so I whipped up an apple tart.

Rustic Apple Tart

Rustic Apple Tart

Here’s the recipe, as adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who never lets me down with recipes:

INGREDIENTS

Dough:

  • 1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 6 T (or 3/4 stick) COLD unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 T chilled water

Filling:

  • 2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced thinly  [NOTE: 2 pounds is about 5 small apples, and I could only squeeze in about 3 1/2 apples in my tart pan laid out the way I had it]
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 3-4 T sugar

Glaze:

  • 1/2 C sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
  2. Dribble in cold water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. The easiest way to do this is tablespoon by tablespoon out of a glass of ice water.  Toss dough with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If there are a lot of dry patches, add another half tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll the dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.  Joe and Elsa got us this SWEET pastry mat that made it so much easier to roll out my dough to the right size around.  I don’t know about you, but my pie crust circles always end up more like an oval, so this really helped.

    Pastry Mat Lined with Parchment

    Pastry Mat Lined with Parchment

  4. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly greased 9.5-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you want to go galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400°F.
  6. Overlap apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

    Arrange Your Apple Slices

    Arrange Your Apple Slices

  7. Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over dough edge and the other 2 tablespoons over apples. You can use another tablespoon if you like your tarts really sweet.

    Before the Glaze

    Before the Glaze

  8. Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.
  9. While your tart is baking, make the glaze. Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with 1/2 cup sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup.

    Cook Down Sugar and Apple Remnants

    Cook Down Sugar and Apple Remnants

  10. Remove tart from oven, slide onto cooling rack, and let cool at least 15 minutes.
  11. Brush glaze over tart, slice, and serve.  Vanilla ice cream pairs wonderfully with this!

I made the tart the night before the party (and glazed it the night before) and the tart wasn’t soggy or anything.  It’s a really delicious tart.  Next time I make this, I may add a wee pinch of cinnamon to in the melted butter that gets brushed onto the tart prior to folding the crust over.

Easy Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

5 Jun

Well. The Thunder are out of the finals, so I guess that means I’m back in action here.  My social media feeds have slowly lost interest once the East and West coast conference champions were announced. No one wants to watch the Heat beat the Spurs. For a second year in a row.  What was so promising in the first round ultimately led us right back to where we were a year ago.  Can I also just call attention to the world’s most illegal screen, courtesy of Blake?  I don’t even have a clever way of incorporating it – I just think it’s too awesome to NOT include somehow.

Any way.

I love opposite flavors and temperatures paired together in my food.  Hot with cold, sweet with salty, crispy with chewy…potato pancakes with a little apple sauce on top is pretty much all of that wrapped into one awesome breakfast.  I’d only ever eaten them in a restaurant but decided to give them a try at home. It was. DeliciousSmitten Kitchen never lets me down, so here is the recipe I adapted:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large russet potato (1 pound), peeled
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Oil, for frying (Smitten Kitchen uses peanut oil; I used grapeseed)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. Transfer to a colander or wrap in a cheesecloth sling, and squeeze as dry as possible. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze dry again. I would recommend getting really OCD and doing it a third time. It makes a difference.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated.

    Ready for Frying!

    Ready for Frying!

  3. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

    Flatten with a Spatula

    Flatten with a Spatula

Tip from Smitten Kitchen: Latkes are a do-ahead-er’s dream. You can also keep latkes warm in the oven for an hour or more, if you’re waiting for stragglers to arrive. Cooked, they keep well in the fridge for a day or two, or in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to two weeks. Reheat them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven until they’re crisp again. Bonus: If you undercooked them a bit or didn’t get the browning on them you’d hoped for, you can compensate for this in the oven.

Easy Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

Easy Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

We had these for breakfast back in January (yes, still extremely backlogged) with eggs over medium and red pear. I was too lazy to make apple sauce, but I couldn’t have my latkes without it.  I had some leftover individual packs of applesauce from the Carrot Cake Cupakes I made, so I popped one open and mixed in some cinnamon and nutmeg. It was PERFECT. The only downside is that our place smelled like fries for a couple of days. Well worth it, I’d say!

Apple Sharlotka

16 Jan

Last year, I took a number of vacation days  to take some baking classes at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories and expand my repertoire of ideas and general knowledge.  My boss (based in Toronto) always asked what I did on my days off so I’d send her photos of the finished products.  Unfortunately due to the distance, she never got to benefit from my learning.  I did try to send some cookies for her birthday back in October, but they got stuck in Canadian customs just long enough to be delayed over the weekend.  They arrived 4 days after I baked them, so I’m sure they weren’t a prime example of my skill level.

Lucky for me, she made it out to LA in November so I had to whip something good up.  I had been eyeing a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for an apple sharlotka, a Russian dessert that is somewhat of an apple pie cake.  It’s relatively healthy – being comprised of mostly apples and not very much sugar or flour.  When I saw the egg-to-sugar-to-flour ratio, I assumed it would have a really light custard-y texture to the cake batter and I was right.

It’s very easy to make and really beautiful with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Butter or nonstick spray, for greasing pan
  • 6 large, tart apples, such as Granny Smiths
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Ground cinnamon, to finish
  • Powdered sugar, also to finish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Peel, halve and core your apples, then chop them into medium-sized chunks. (I cut each half into four “strips” then sliced them fairly thinly — about 1/4-inch — in the other direction.) Pile the cut apples directly in the prepared pan.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs with sugar until thick and ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs. Beat in vanilla, then stir in flour with a spoon until just combined. The batter will be very thick.
  3. Pour over apples in pan, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter and press it down into the apple pile. The top of the batter should end up level with the top of the apples.

    Push the Batter Down

    Push the Batter Down

  4. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out free of batter. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on rack, then flip out onto another rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip it back onto a serving platter. Dust lightly with ground cinnamon.

    Dessert Has Been Served!

    Dessert Has Been Served!

  5. Serve warm or cooled, dusted with powdered sugar. We ate it plain, but Smitten Kitchen mentioned pairing it with a dollop of barely sweetened whipped or sour cream.

    Apple Sharlotka

    Apple Sharlotka

Note:  I don’t think this cake holds up very long after you make it.  It’s best when fresh, but definitely try to eat it within a day of making it!