TWD – Fold Over Pear Torte Deconstructed (Almond-Pear Galette)

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Wandering into the unknown isn’t something that I was ever comfortable with. For example:

For the first 20 years of my life, I had long (LONG) blonde hair. I dreamt of chopping it all off. I’d have daydreams about cute bobs, and adorable pixie cuts but I was too afraid of the unknown. How would I look? Would it fit my face? Yada, yada. But one day I just lept in and took the chop. And I loved it.

This torte was unknown territory for me as well. There’s no picture, the description is written as well as possible but it still wasn’t clear to me. I decided not to do it. Yesterday rolled around and the idea of a galette popped into my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve never made a galette before but it’s rustic simplicity was calling my name. So I dove in and took to chopping. Pears, that is.

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I used Dorie’s recipe for the suggested pie crust (1/4 of the recipe) and subbed butter for shortening. It worked wonderfully!! I rolled the dough out to about 10″-12″ (rough estimate as I forgot to measure, doh!) and placed it on parchment paper and into the fridge to chill while I prepared the pears.

I just threw things together that sounded great and in the end, the scary unknown territory quickly became delicious, fruit filled territory that I was glad to have wandered. Dorie’s pie crust is PHENOM! Flaky, buttery, delicious! I have three batches of this dough in the freezer and ready to go for the rest of this months goodies and I can’t wait!

For the recipe as it was supposed to appear, head on over to Cakelaw’s blog Law’s of the Kitchen. Click here for the recipe.

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Almond-Pear Galette
Makes one 6″ pastry (serves 1-4, depending on the baker’s generosity)

1/4 Dorie’s Good for almost anything pie crust (recipe here) rolled into a 10-”12″ round, on parchment (chilled)

1/2 large firm pear (I used Bartlett, just eat the other half ;) )
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

1-1/2 TBSP light brown sugar
6 whole raw almonds, chopped (or sliced would work great)

1 egg (slightly beaten with a splash of water)
Sugar for sprinkling, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Cut pear in half and remove cores with a spoon. Turn the pear horizontally (core would be horizontal) and slice into 1/4″ slices and place in a medium bowl.

2. Add sugar, cinnamon, and ginger to pears and toss until evenly coated.

3. Assemble the tart: place pear slices in a circular pattern onto the center of the crust leaving at least a 2″ border. Sprinkle on brown sugar and then almonds.

4. Working your way around, fold the border in towards the center of the galette. Using a pastry brush (silicone brush works fine here) gently brush edges with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the pears are bubbly with juices.

5. Let it cool just enough to handle and serve plain, with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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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

SMS – Toasted Almond Lemon Bars

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When life gives you lemons, make lemon bars!
I vote that this be the credo of all bakers across the globe, who’s with me?!

Lemon bars are a perfect treat if you covet one that doesn’t taste fussy and interfere with its true star: the lemons (of course).

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Sometimes a simple treat with only one true star to steal the show is refreshing. You don’t have any diva’s trying to get into the mix and steal the spotlight from all the other unsuspecting stars. Because then they break out into a fight and you have a spurt of this here and some of that there and the next thing you know, your tongue is throwing in the towel and you have a headache.

Who needs THAT?

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Although the lemons are the star of the show, the crust is delicious. It is crumbly and simply delightful, a perfect base for these bars. I had a few problems with the process of these bars. The dough was fuuuuuuussy. It came together quickly and easily but it was so soft that it was impossible for me to press it into the pan without my hands getting covered in the dough. Then when I DID finally get it into the pan, I removed the foil and pie weights (read: rice) and baked some more to brown it and managed to create cracks in my dough. Melissa says ‘NO CRACKS’ so I admit that I panicked a little. But forged ahead. I filled the cracked crust with super runny filling, said a prayer to the baking gods and placed my lucky rabbits foot on top of the oven.

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And boy, oh boy. Was I rewarded. That’s not a question… that is a blunt in yo face statement that should make you RUN, not walk to your nearest kitchen and get to squeezin those lemons that life gave you!!

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A giiiiiant thank you to Rebecca of Indecisive Baker for choosing these bars and pulling me out of my fear of conquering lemon squares! Head on over to her blog for the recipe.

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I semi-apologize for the picture heavy post. It’s a rarity that I can’t decide between a few pictures. These bars were beautiful to photograph, so I thought I’d share that with you! I hope you enjoy :)

Up next week: Chocolate Peppermint Meringues

SMS – Chestnut Honey Madeleines

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I. Love. Madeleines.

I love them so much that they are my go-to treat with my coffee at Starbucks. That I daydream about different flavor combinations. I love them so much that I named my kitty after them. Everyone say hi to Madeleine :)

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Wanna know a little secret? I didn’t own a madeleine pan until a few weeks ago. Oh, and I have never made them before now. To be honest I didn’t think I could do these delightful cookies justice.

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But the only push in the right direction that I needed was to read the word “honey.” It was all down hill from there.

You see, honey is another infatuation of mine. My breakfast on most weekdays consists of one whole wheat tortilla, 1/2 spread with peanut butter and the other 1/2 with honey. So. Good.

Anyway, madeleines + honey = pure bliss.

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These baked up a bit darker than I imagined they would but other than that… they are perfect. Soft to the touch, slightly dense but tender crumb, wonderful honey flavor. Perfectly paired with an afternoon tea or coffee. Sprinkled with powdered sugar or glazed with pure honey… not that I know anyone who did that……..

My only regret: only making a dozen. Doh!

A BIG thank you goes out to Debbie of Café Chibita for choosing these!! Head on over to her blog today for the recipe. And be sure to check out the other bloggers who baked along this week.

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Up next week: Ginger Snaps!

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 rewind: Cottage Cheese Pufflets

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I feel like I’m running on empty! I feel so scatter-brained and all over the place. Maybe it’s because my head is racing with thoughts of sugar plums and decorating for Christmas, the upcoming anniversary, thanksgiving, baking, and lots of stuff I no longer feel necessary to bore you to death with. You’re welcome ;)

I didn’t make this weeks Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake, although I would have LOVED to, I just couldn’t remember to pick up the missing ingredients, and even if I WOULD have, I managed to break my hand mixer. If you want the recipe for this weeks goodie, Head on over to Katya’s blog.

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Instead I’ll post a TWD recipe that I missed posting about a while back. I made 3 variations as far as fillings go: apricot, raspberry and Nutella. Although I am a HUGE fan of Nutella, the apricot ones were my favorite!!

If I remember right, the dough was a pain in the patella!! But I clearly recall enjoying these in all their jammy glory. A note of caution though, eat/serve them the day/night you make these. The texture of the dough changes over-night.

The recipe can be found here. Enjoy!!

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TWD – Flaky Apple Turnovers (finally!)

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“I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date!!”   (name that movie)

This post is officially two days late, and I’m sorry for keeping you in such suspense (snork!) but the baking gods were against me for this “assignment” I swear. Some things came up Monday so I was only able to get the dough to its first chill. Then something ELSE came up on Tuesday and I only got the dough to the second chill. THEN late at night I realized that we were out of apples *glares at fiance* and I was much too tired to go to the store, get apples, come home, peel chop, toss, yada yada yada yada. So I FINALLY got my act together, got everything ready and made then last night and finished them! Yippee!! *Wipes sweat from brow*

The only changes I made: I made peach turnovers as well. I used a smidge less sour cream than called for, mainly because the 8 oz package didn’t yield an entire cups worth. Go figure. I also read that the apple flavor was a little lacking so I doubled the cinnamon and added a few dashes of ground clover and nutmeg. Next time I’ll chop the apples up into smaller pieces so I can put  more into each turnover and I’ll leave the dough a bit thicker (its easier to work with and who will say ‘no’ to more flaky pastry dough? Who?)

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My first bite into one of these warm turnovers and my soul smiled. I used all my senses: I inhaled the beautiful spicy aroma, I touched the flaky pastry dough, I listened to it crunch, I eyed the beautiful browning and cinnamon speckled apple bits, and lastly I took a bite and tasted a crisp fall in this adorable little package.

Suffice it to say, they were good! Better than good, they were fan-FREAKIN-tastic!!  With this being my first foray into turnovers and I DIDN’T mess something up… maybe I’m just a bit biased.

But I’m okay with that. :)

For this recipe, head on over to Julie’s blog Someone’s In The Kitchen.

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