A Tourtely Apple Tart – TWD

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At this precise moment in time, the following things are 100% true and undeniable:

I am sunburned which renders any itch on my arms or legs unscratchable. I am watching a soap opera with the grams and I am not ashamed. I had half a bagel for breakfast but all I can think about is having a second breakfast (such a thing exists, no?). And to top it off, I’m worrying about what everyone thought of this tart.

Making this choice was a lot less painful than I thought it was going to be (definitely less painful than this sunburn, ack). If there’s one thing that I’ve learned with my time as a part of the TWD gang, it’s that you can’t go wrong with baked apples and buttery tart dough.

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Was I right in my assumption? Please say yes, I’d really love to not worry about this anymore :)

Making Dorie’s tart dough is so simple: toss everything into my food processor, give it some whirls and I’m done! The most taxing step in making the filling is peeling 5 apples (and I’ve gotten pretty darn efficient at that). From there just assemble it all and bake away! Serve a slice (or two, who’s counting?) with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream and you’re in business.

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As a few of my dear TWD friends have pointed out, these really do resemble the apple pies you can get from McDonald’s. Now whether that’s a culinary stab to the great Dorie herself, I don’t know. But I DO know that if you love the cinnamon-y pies from the golden arches, you’ll love this pie as it is a dressy, grown up, flaky version that makes you swoon.

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A Tourtely Apple Tart

Tourte is the French term for a covered tart, and it wasn’t until after I created this sweet that I realized that I had created a tourte. What I had in mind when I went into the kitchen to start baking was a slimmed-down apple pie, something not quite so generous as the all-American favorite, not so high, not so fully packed and not so rustic looking. What I ended up with was a trim, sleek but still come-hithery double-crusted tart with the warmth and appeal of an applesauce cookie. The crust is made from almond sugar cookie dough and, if it were cooked down just a tad longer, the filling, which is spiced, spiked with cider and smoothed with browned butter, could be grandmother’s best applesauce.

Ingredients:

A double recipe of Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts (recipe below)

For The Filling

2 pounds (about 5 medium) tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2tablespoons apple cider, apple juice, or water
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds
¼ moist, plump raisins (dark or golden, optional)
Pinch of ground cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice and/or salt (optional)

To Make The Crust: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Divide the almond tart dough in half. Wrap one half and refrigerate it. Press the remaining soft dough over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, allowing the dough to extend just a bit above the rim. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press it, buttered side down, lightly against the crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When the second packet of dough is chilled enough to roll, place it between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll it into a circle that is between 1/8 and ¼ inch thick. Using a pot lid as a guide, cut the dough into a 10-inch circle. Use the wide end of a piping tip or sharp knife to cut a small circle (a steam vent) out of the center. Slide the dough onto a cutting board or a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

To Bake The Crust: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Fill the foil-covered crust with dried beans, rice or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until just lightly browned. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

To Make The Filling: Put the apples, brown sugar, cider and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium heat, cover and bring to a boil. Check the heat — you want the mixture to stay at a medium bubble – and continue to cook, still covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are so soft you can almost, but not quite, mash them with the back of a spoon. While they’re cooking, stay close by – the mixture has a tendency to boil over. Remove the cover and, stirring constantly, cook until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes more. Scrape the filling into a bowl, and wipe out the pan.
Put the butter in the pan and set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter boils and turns a deep golden brown. Don’t walk away – the time between brown and burned is quick. When the butter is brown and smells nutty, stir it into the apples, along with the vanilla, almonds and raisins, if you’re using them. Taste the applesauce and decide if you want to add the additional spices and/or salt. Press a piece of plastic wrao against the surface of the applesauce and cool. (The applesauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)

Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the over to 425 degrees F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Fill the crust with the applesauce and smooth the surface. Lightly moisten the edges of the crust with water and place the chilled top crust over the tart. If the top crust is very cold and therefore a little brittle, let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before proceeding. When the crust is still cold but pliable, run a rolling pin over the top crust to seal the tart; trim off the excess dough.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cover the tart loosely with a foil tent. Continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes (total baking time 40 to 45 minutes), or until the crust is golden. Transfer the tart to a rack and cool until just warm or at room temperature before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Serving: This is a winner topped with crème fraîche or plain vanilla ice cream.
Storing: Tarts are best served the day they are made, but this one is good served chilled the next day.

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Sweet Tart Dough With Nuts:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds (or walnuts, pecans, or pistachios)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, ground nuts, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.
Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough, whisk will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.
Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change — heads up.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and , very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

DSCN4394 copyFor many more versions and beautiful pictures of this tart, head on over to the TWD bakers page.

Thank you all for baking along with me!!

TWD – Tarte Fine

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I have an obnoxious habit of adopting accents.

I can’t watch a British film without walking around all day using words like ‘rubbish’ and ‘wonky’ and ‘wanker.’ But, I’m half British so I’m allowed.

I can’t read a book set in Sweden without concocting some half-breed accent of German/Jibberish.

I can’t make pizza or spaghetti or any pasta dish for that matter without a horrid Italian accent in my head, narrating everything I’m doing.

And I certainly can’t make French pastries without imitating (read: butchering) a French accent and pretending to be fancier than I really am.

Although, I’m pretty fancy. I do say ‘v-AH-se’ afterall.  ;)

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I knew I would love this tarte as soon as I read the title and proceeded to skim the ingredients: apples, puff pastry. Love. It reminded me of the Tarte Tatin that I absolutely loved, and I knew right then I HAD to make it. Not that the fancy French woman living in my head didn’t already know that.

This seriously comes together in a snap. Thaw your puff pastry dough and roll it our ever so slightly, peel, core and slice your apples, artfully arrange them on your puff pastry, brush the dough with milk and the apples with eggwash, sprinkle on some sugar (and cinnamon if you just CAN’T resist, ahem) and bake it. As simple as  it gets.

And oh my, serve this warm out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to your guests at your fancy dinner party and you’ll stand there looking like Dorie herself ;)

À bientôt !!

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A big thank you goes out to the wonderful Leslie of Lethally Delicious for choosing this awesome recipe. Head on over to her blog for the recipe and leaf through her wonderful blog for other goodies. I promise you’ll find some!

Up next week: Double Apple Bundt Cake. Yay apples!!

TWD – Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart

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There are only a few things I’m good at. I know, I know. Me, the master of the universe? Knocks your socks off doesn’t it ;)

Among those few things are: managing my time wisely, folding laundry, cooking gourmet meals everyday, resisting the call of Starbucks, and making a killer tart crust.

Looks like we have a winner, folks!

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And this is most certainly a winner. A sweet, crumbly tart dough (or pâte sablée, if you’re fancy) filled with fresh sliced peaches (or blueberries, in my case) and a ridiculously simple custard topped with brown sugar/nut crumble. It’s a doozy.

I made the whole tart crust recipe (ample amount for 4 mini tarts, 5 if you make the crust a bit thinner. But this… simply wasn’t an option for me.) I used half of one peach for 3 of the mini tarts and a handful of blueberries for the last tart. I kept all the other amounts the same and it worked perfectly! I used pecans to top the blueberry tart because Emily made it sound irresistible!

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I ate an entire mini tart alone. As did my mom. And my coworker. There’s only one left. We might have to fight for it. True story.

A biiig thanks goes out to Rachel of sweet tarte for choosing this recipe (that I almost didn’t make, psh). Head on over to her blog for the recipe and some beautiful photos. Head on over to the other bakers’ blogs to see the many different variations on this amazing tart!

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Up next week: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

TWD Two-Fer – Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes and Tarte Noire

Paying catch up is always fun :)

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes
Chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes, head HERE for the recipe.

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These were a breeze to make and smelled divine! I was FINALLY able to use my small heart cakelette pan. I halved the recipe and it was the perfect amount for 6 small cakes. Perfectly adorable and easily sharable. Although I did halve the cake recipe, I didn’t halve the rum syrup. They came out moist and boozy with a tight crumb and a delightful vanilla aroma and flavor. Did I mention boozy? Dorie would be proud ;)

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Check out all the other boozy creations HERE.

Tarte Noire
Chosen by Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life. Click HERE for the recipe, you’ll want it x10!

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I can’t do this tarte enough justice. I can sit here and wax poetic how Dorie’s ganache tartes are JUST AMAZING, but it just wouldn’t really come out and grab you.

So instead I’ll tell you that this is quite literally the closest you’ll get to nirvana. To heaven. To a Parisian terrace without the plane ride. To pure, unadultered bliss. Its ALL of it. Wrapped into one lovely, glossy, addictive tarte.

Seriously, proceed with caution. This tarte comes with its own disclaimer. Crumbly buttery chocolate shortbread crust filled with a creamy dreamy bittersweet chocolate ganache? Someone call the gluttony police. Wait, do they even exist? They probably should…

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I went for the Chocolate shortbread tarte crust to keep with the ‘noire’ theme. I didn’t save a bit of the dough to patch and cracks (the ONE AND ONLY TIME I didn’t, ugh) and OF COURSE my crust looked like an earthquake ravaged by oven. But thanks to my genius of a fiancé, he suggested that I just melt some chocolate and spread a thin layer over the crust to seal the holes and just freeze it before pouring in the ganache. GENIUS!! Problem: deliciously fixed! I melted, slathered, froze, poured and chilled. It sounds like a lot… but this tarte was seriously a total of mayyybe 10 mins hands-on time.

You’ll get more hands-to-mouth time that’ll make you forget aaaall about those measly 10 mins of prep time. Pah, 10 mins is NOTHING when you get this as a reward for all your efforts.

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Next time I might substitute some Kahlua for the heavy cream. Cus it’s good. And I’m boozy like that.

Did I ever mention that ‘boozy’ is one of my all time favorite words to say? Boozy. Say it with the best British accent you can muster. I’ll wait….

Fun, N’est pas?!

Up next week: Brrrr-ownies. These are goooooood. So good.

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TWD – Burnt Sugar Ice Cream and Quick Classic Berry Tart. Another Two-fer!

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Burnt Sugar Ice Cream
For the recipe, head on over to Becky’s blog Project Domestication.

I freaked myself out over this one. Caramel AND ice cream? I don’t exactly have the best of luck with caramel. And I don’t exactly have an ice cream maker either. So needless to say, I was apprehensive. I decided to look up the  David Lebovitz tutorial on how to successfully make ice cream the “old fashioned way.” And needless to say, it worked. Easy and delicious.

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Quick Classic Berry Tart
For the recipe, head on over to Cristine’s blog Cooking with Cristine

A huge tart is a bit difficult to share when you need a dessert in several different places with no time to make multiples. The solution? Minis. I have (finally!) invested in a few mini tart pans and I can’t wait for them to arrive. But when I made this, the closest thing I had to a mini anything were 3 – 4 inch heart shaped springform pans. The heart shape was perfect as these were to be mother’s day goodies for my mom, the fiance’s mom and the fiance’s gma. To fancy it up a bit I added dark Jamaican rum to the pastry cream and added chocolate shavings on top.

The crust was thick (I didn’t know what to expect, it was late at night and I was in a rush) but I was told that they were delish. I only had a small bite so I can’t be entirely certain about  how I rank this tart. I had a TON of pastry cream left over with no idea what to do with it so next time I’ll halve the recipe for the dough and cream. Maybe add some lemon zest to the cream. Or even make a tropical fruit tart with cooked pineapples and kiwi. Yum!

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TWD – Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

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When I read that this was the next recipe in line for TWD, all I could think was “OMGdrool!” Literally.

Raspberries and dark chocolate are my kryptonite. Along with s’mores, baked cinnamon apples, orange + dark chocolate, the fiance’s smile, and the sleepy look in my puppy’s eyes when he wakes from his nap. But that’s fodder for another day.

I almost scrapped making this tart because raspberries are a whopping $3.75 for one little pack!! Which is crazy talk to me. BUT the fiance saved the day and came home with TWO packs just for me :)

I didn’t change a darn thing about this recipe (except adding more raspberries). The tart dough came together in a flash, I microwaved the chocolate to save on dishes, time and burns (don’t ask). Whipped everything together and in the oven it went. Mine baked for 45 mins (15 mins more than the recipe suggested) it was still a bit jiggly but I was afraid to bake it any longer so out it came, onto the counter overnight to come to room temp.

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Upon walking in the door with this tart in my hands, I was promptly asked to QUICKLY take pictures so my co-workers can dig in. Mmmm-nom-nom-omg-mmmm’s filled the office. Then I was told “this tart is trouble. I’m going to pack it up and take it home with me!”

This tart is nothing short of a hit. It has a buttery, shortbread-like crust, creeeeamy dreamy chocolate filling dotted with plenty of tart raspberries in each bite. I baked this quite late last night so I didn’t have much time (read: tired) to think up extra ways to bring it up a few notches for elegance, but I have plenty ideas now:

  • Add finely chopped nuts (honey roasted peanuts, hazelnuts)
  • Make a raspberry coulis and decorate the plate with it before setting a slice of tart down on top of it
  • Make a thick rasbberry glaze and spread it on top and let it set
  • Drizzle melted dark chocolate on top in decorative patterns
  • Sprinkle shaved chocolate on top
  • Adorn with whipped cream
  • Click here for other ideas, etc.

So have at it and serve this at your next elegant soiree :)

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A big thanks goes out to Rachelle of Mommy? I’m Hungry! for choosing this deliiiicious recipe. Head on over to her blog for the recipe (trust me, you’ll want it) and check in on the other TWDers for their wonderful creations!

TWD – 2 Year Anniversary Tarte Tatin

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Happy 2nd Anniversary TWD-ers!! *throws confetti*

I’ve only been with the group for a short while but this is such a great, hilarious, caring, giving, and FUN bunch of bakers!!! I have played nice, made some friends, and baked so much more than I ever would have on my own. I’ve also gained more weight than I would have on my own, but that’s a rant for another day ;)

Anywho, onto the main event!! For our anniversary we got to choose from TWO desserts. A Tarte Tatin or a Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake. Or, if you’re a glutton (for punishment, ha!) you could make both. Me, well… I saw ‘Tarte Tatin’ and I swooned. I promised myself that I wouldn’t put too much on my plate (figuratively speaking. This tarte does not apply!) so I chose just one and got to work.
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In the recipe it says to use 8 apples. I would add at least 4 more apples to that (I used a mix of Gala and Fuji). My apples shrunk WAY down (and we ALL know how much I LOVE cooked apples) and I just think this would have been a bit prettier if it had extra height to it. Also, my apples took more than DOUBLE the time suggested to caramelize. It said ‘deep caramel color’ so I just waited and waited until it reached something close to that. Aaaaaaaand I sprinkled cinnamon on top of half of the tarte. I’m bad. I know ;)

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You wanna know a secret? I have never made a Tarte Tatin because I always viewed it as this fancy-shmancy French dessert that would probably be way too hard for an amateur like me to reproduce. N’est pas!! It was simple! Literally, the hardest part was peeling the apples. Cut em, throw em into some melted butter and sugar, cook em, throw pastry dough on top, and then throw em in the oven. That’s it! IIII know!! AND it’s all made in ONE oven safe skillet. I’ll be making this again, experimenting with pears or even peaches (ooh and bourbon!).

Now, usually there is an exchanging of gifts for an anniversary. But don’t worry Dorie, MY TARTE LOOKS LIKE THE PICTURE IN THE BOOK!! That’s gift enough for me. It means a lot, really ;)

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Head on over to Laurie’s blog, Slush for the recipes for BOTH of the yummy goodies I mentioned and stop on in at the TWD bakers and see aaaalllll of the deliciousness that are their goodies!

Love you all!

Ps. Please forgive the pictures. I had ZERO daylight left last night and I had to photograph the rest at work under fluorescent lights with my camera phone.

TWD – Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

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Oh boy, do I love food porn.

Fellow foodies know EXACTLY what I’m talking about, but for those of you raising your eyebrow and shielding your eyes…. “food porn” isn’t something sexually explicit. It’s simply wonderfully photographed pictures of food that are drool inspiring. Food that is shot so up close and personal that it gives you that Neanderthal reflex to want to grab it from the screen and run home with it, sharing with no one!

Food can be sexy, glamorous, supple… and any true food photographer knows that, and will abuse it to make you swoon. Or blush ;)

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What does this have to do with this week’s post, you ask? This tart is a PERFECT example of an ideal pupil for a food porn shot.

The crumbly, buttery-sweet shortbread tart dough laying beneath a salty, nutty-crunchy, amber caramel topped with soft, velvety smooth, rich, dark chocolate ganache that gives way to the mere pressure of the fork that begs to violate its perfection. See what I mean?

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Sleek and seductive.

This tart was easy to throw together (minus the fact that I burned the heavy cream the first time, oops). The crust came together in a snap and is DELIGHTFUL (I’m a crust gal so that was my favorite part). I let the caramel reach a DEEP amber color and I used chopped almonds instead of the suggested honey roasted peanuts (I skipped toasting them with honey to save time, but I’ll try this next time) and the ganache couldn’t have been simpler. I left it in the fridge overnight and its still amazing!! This is definitely a show-stopper.

Thank you Carla for choosing this great tart!! Visit Carla at Chocolate Moosey for the recipe.