Category Archives: pastry

Fall Festival

My co-worker Karen went apple picking the other weekend. She was kind enough to bring back a ton of fresh apples and I turned them into this delicious and decedent pie.

Caramel Toffee Apple Pie

Caramel:
1 cup sugar
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat the sugar in a heavy medium size saucepan on medium heat. Swirl the sugar occasionally until it liquefies and turns golden brown. Quickly add the cream and salt and return the mixture to the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Let it boil to combine about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Crust:
1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Separate into two balls and set aside.

Filling:
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 granny smith apples, pealed

Mix the sugars, flour, spices and lemon juice in a large bowl. Slice the apples very thinly on a mandolin. After each apple is sliced, add it to the sugar mixture and coat to toss.

Streusel Topping:
5 toffee bars, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
½ stick of butter
¼ cup milk chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients till combined and the butter is evenly distributed. Set aside.

Assembly:
Preheat the over to 450 degrees.

On a well-flowered counter top, roll out the first round and place it in the bottom of a 10 inch glass pie pan. Roll out the second half and leave on the counter until after the pie is filled.

Drizzle the bottom of the pan with some of the caramel mixture. Then fill the pie with all of the apples. Drizzle the tops of the apples with more caramel sauce. (You will most likely have caramel sauce left over, save it for a dip for apple slices.) Then pack the stop with the streusel topping.

Place the second crust over the top of the apples Fold the top crust over the bottom and then crimp the edges so that the juices do not escape. Place on a baking sheet and put into the middle over.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Cook for another 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Sweet Tart

Tarts are a quick solution for that impressive desert. There is something about the arrangement of glossy fruit that make’s people’s mouths water. My crust recipe can be use to make a double crusted pie, so why not make two tarts instead. The more the merrier.

Christmas tarts: Apple Hazelnut and Chocolate Raspberry

Crust
1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball.

Separate the dough into two equal rounds. On a well flowered counter top, roll out each round of dough till it fits into each tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the corners and trim off the top. Set each aside.

Apple and Hazelnut Filling
1 cup shelled hazelnuts, toasted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon vanilla
3 large granny smith apples, pealed, cored and sliced into 1/8 inch slices
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
¼ cup water

Toss the apple slices in the lemon juice and set aside.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a blender puree the hazelnuts, sugar, egg, ½ stick of butter and vanilla until they form a paste. Spread the hazelnut paste over the bottom of the pastry.

Starting from the outside arrange the apple slices, over lapping to make a rose pattern. There should be no pastry or hazelnut peeking through. Really pack in all of the apples. Sprinkle the apples with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and dot the remaining ½ stick of butter over the apple. Back in the over until the apple and crust are golden brown, about 1 hour.

When the tart is close to being finished, heat the jam and water in a small saucepan until melted. Once the tart comes out of the oven brush the jam mixture over the apples, coating lightly, so that they apples are shinny. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Raspberry Filling

1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup of cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pints raspberries
2 tablespoons apricot preserves 

¼ cup water

Fill the tart shell with beans or pie weights. Bake in a 350 degree oven until it is golden brown.

Place the raspberries into a colander and lightly rinse. Cover with paper towels and let dry.

While the tart shell is cooling, place the chopped chocolate into a metal or heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan on medium high until scalding. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and add the vanilla. Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes so that the chocolate melts. Using a whisk, submerged vertically in the center of the bowl, whisk in a circular motion until the cream combines with the chocolate to form a silky ganache. Pour the chocolate into the tart shell.

Starting at the outside, arrange the berries, stem side down, in concentric circle till all of the chocolate is covered as much as possible.

Heat the jam and water in a small saucepan until melted. Brush the jam mixture over the berries, coating lightly, so that they are shinny. Let the tart cool so that the chocolate sets, before serving.