I first made an apple tart tatin when I was a senior in highschool. I didn’t have time to work but I wanted to have some money to spend so my mom paid me to do all the grocery shopping and make dinner a few nights a week. It was a great way to me to relax and de-stress after school before starting homework and allowed me to hone my cooking skills and cultivate my creativity while making a little money on the side.
One of the things I was doing at this time was cooking my way through the Cooks Illustrated magazines. Cooks Illustrated is by far the best cooking magazine out there for people who want to learn how to cook, not just how to read recipes. Each one has a full article on the technique, ingredients, or methods used and why it is important so that that knowledge can be translated to other recipes. For example, in their recipe for Ground Beef Chili they explain that baking powder helps beef retain it’s moisture and brown better. Now that I know this I frequently add baking powder to beef and let it set for about 20 minutes before browning, even if the recipe doesn’t include this step.
Anyways, I found the recipe for apple tarte tatin in cooks illustrated, and it was fall so I made it for a Thanksgiving dinner with my then boyfriend (now husband’s) family. It was a total hit. Now we have our own apple tree that is producing a ton of fruit right now so I pulled out the recipe. But to be honest, I was feeling pretty lazy so I made up a different, much easier recipe. I used puff pastry instead of making a dough. I wouldn’t dare call it authentic but it is definitely tasty.
Melt 4 TBS of butter on med-low in a 12″ cast iron skillet. Add 1/4 c brown sugar, 1/4 c granulated sugar and melt until dissolved completely. When it starts to bubble add the whiskey (or brandy would be good too), and cook stirring for about a minute. Add the chopped apples and vanilla. I like to leave them all different sizes so you get a variation in the texture of the apples. I also leave the skin on. Our apples have very tender skin, but if you prefer no skin then peel them, and if you prefer an even texture then make all your apple slices the same size. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, ginger, and lemon juice and bake for about 10 minutes. Once the apples are softened, gently press them down with a spatula to flatten slightly. Place your trimmed puff pastry on top, tucking it down into the sides with a spatula. Cut a few slits on top to release steam and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the top is golden. Cool it for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate. You could make some pastry flowers, or use cookie cutters to make some pretty shapes for decorating. Just bake them separately and set on top after you have inverted the tart. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or as I did with Mascarpone Sorbet.
4-5applescored, halved or quartered (you can leave the peel on or remove it )
Pre-Heat oven to 400F
In a 12" cast iron skillet melt the butter over med low heat. Add the sugars and stir to dissolve.
Let the mixture bubble for about 1 minute then add the whiskey and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and stir.
Arrange the apples in the pan with the cut sides down, layering a bit.Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and ginger.
Bake for 10 minutes until the apples begin to soften. While the apples bake, trim your puff pastry into a circle to fit your skillet. You can use the excess to make pretty shapes for decorations, but bake them separately.
Use a spatula to gently press down the apples to even the top. Carefully place the puff pastry over the apples and tuck the sides down into the pan with a spatula. Cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape.
Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve warm with Mascarpone Sorbet or with ice cream, whipped cream.
Eric hates lemon desserts. I love them. They seem lighter and cleaner than many other types of desserts but are still sweet and indulgent. These cookies are light, fluffy, and almost cake-like, and are perfect for spring. This recipe is adapted from Taste and Tell blog, who adapted it from Christina Tosi’s cookbook Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories.
This recipe is a great way to use up leftover sour cream, because I am sure I am not the only one that buys a tub of it and find that I only use a few tablespoons of it. Say you serve tacos or enchiladas and only use 1/4c of sour cream, what do you do with the rest? You make these cookies!!!
I used 2 cups of flour in my cookies and they turned out perfect, but you may want to check the consistency of the batter before adding another 1/2 cup if needed. The dough is not like normal cookie dough, it looks more wet and is very sticky. It is easiest to use a small cookie scoop like this one to drop the dough on the cookie sheet. If you don’t have one you can use a teaspoon and your finger to scrape it off and pat it down into a ball.
Also, can we talk about these flowers? Trader Joe’s is the best for flowers. I love that you can get a small bouquet for under $4.00 and they usually last at least a week. The only reason I don’t have flowers in my house 24/7 is because the closest Trader Joe’s is 25 minutes away and there is no way I am buying 3 stems of sun flowers at Von’s for $9.99 (the cheapest I have ever seen a bouquet at any other grocer). Flowers make me so happy, and they brighten up the house so much, I wish all grocery stores understood this and had them available at a low price.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add in the egg, vanilla, and the sour cream and mix until combined, about 1 more minute.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix just until combined. They dough will be wet - not like typical cookie dough.
Use the cookie scoop to drop onto a lined or greased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, 10 worked for me. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. While they cool mix together the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl
Dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, or drizzle with a spoon and place back on the cooling rack, top with sprinkles and let set for the glaze to dry.
This holiday season feels so chaotic to me. I don’t feel prepared for it at all, even as it is happening all around me it still doesn’t feel real yet. Even our annual Rowland family Christmas party didn’t really make it sink in that Christmas is 5 days away! What the heck? It was JUST Thanksgiving like a week ago. I was planning on sharing all these holiday things with you, but time has really just gotten away from me. Finally, though, I have a minute to share at least this one appetizer recipe with you.
For the family Christmas party I was put in charge of coordinating all the appetizers so I felt compelled to make sure the ones I contributed were good ones. This recipe is from my Aunt Lisa and is one of my favorites. It’s cool and spicy and bright and tangy, delicious and addicting. Seriously, if you want to stop eating it you either have to finish the whole thing or go to a completely different room. You could use canned or pre-packaged cranberry sauce for this and skip 1 below, but the fresh cranberries are prettier and taste much better. Jalapenos vary so much in spice level, sometimes I use 2 and sometimes just 1. This last time I only used 1/2 because they were so spicy so add a little at a time and taste test until you get to the spiciness level you like. I also really like the red onion, but feel free to cut back on it if it’s too much for you.
Wash cranberries and place them in a saucepan with water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Assemble the Dip
Place the whole jalapeno in a pot of water, covering completely. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove and let cool.
Remove the stem and seeds from the jalapenos (you may want to use gloves) and mince them.
Add cranberry sauce, cilantro, jalapenos, lemon juice, green onion, and salt to a bowl and mix well. Let sit for 2 hours or so in the fridge for flavors to incorporate.
Pour over 1/2 the sauce over a block of cream cheese, serve with pita chips.
I like to make this cranberry sauce an appetizer by pouring it over a block of cream cheese and serving with pita chips, but it would also be delicious on turkey or even wrapped up in baked brie. If you find a new use for it, please share with me!