I’m in love with the simple elegance of gold and grey. Exquisite, glamorous… but down to earth. I made this Etsy treasury to reflect my current color combo crush (say that five times fast!).
17 JanApple Tarts
For Christmas, I wanted to give my grandmother, who can’t see much anymore, something really yummy to eat. She’s never liked being in the kitchen, so it’s rare for her to get homemade goodies. I ran across some Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce and, being that Bourbon is her favorite liquor, snatched it right up. But I needed something to go along with the caramel sauce. Apples!
Here is the apple tart recipe I used, which turned out absolutely deliciously, especially when drizzled with caramel sauce and served with a rich, vanilla bean ice cream. It takes a little time, but it’s so worth it in the end. Plus, you can make a big tart or about six individual tarts. Or you could make a bunch of mini 2-bite tarts for a party. And they do keep for a few days.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (I prefer kosher salt)
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cold and cut into small pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons lemon juice (around 1 lemon)
1-2 Tablespoons ice water (put some ice and some water in a small bowl to prepare)
1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples (we found that was 2 apples)
1 1/4 lbs McIntosh apples (we found that was 3 apples)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (around 1 more lemon)
1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1. (for dough) Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and cream cheese. Mix using two knives in a cutting motion. This takes a long time. You want to keep the butter cold, so using a mixer is a bad idea. If the butter melts, your dough won’t turn out right. You want to slide the knives by each other so you are successfully cutting the butter/cream cheese into the flour mixture. You’re done when it looks like small pebbles. Don’t go until it’s more like sand, that’s too small.
2. Sprinkle lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon ice water onto the mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold in the liquid until the dough holds together a little better. You can add up to 1 more Tablespoon ice water if you need to. Mixture will still be pretty dry.
3. Turn dough onto clean, dry work surface, dusted lightly with flour. Gather and gently press dough together into a cohesive ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. You can keep the dough in the fridge for 2 days, tops.
4. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375*. Remove dough from fridge and let stand at room temperature to make it more malleable. If making smaller tarts, separate the dough into equal mounds. Roll dough out into medium-thick flat disk(s). Move flat disks onto cookie sheet or baking tray covered in parchment paper.
5. (for apples) Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. Toss in mixing bowl with lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon. Arrange apple slices on the dough disks with the thick edges on the outside. Make it pretty, especially in the center. Leave a border of dough that’s at least an inch, 3 inches if you only have one large tart. Err on fuller tarts, with lots of apples. You still may not use all the apples.Fold the dough border up over the edges of the apples, pleating the dough so it fits tightly. Reinforce the shape by patting where necessary.
6. Bake until light-golden brown, about 30 minutes. Brush crust with egg whites and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Return to oven and bake until crust is deep-golden brown, about 30 more minutes. Cool tart on pan 10 minutes. Slide tarts onto cooling rack.
Serve with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce.
All photos today. I don’t really think there’s a need to comment on these black and white beauties.
09 AugVanilla Cupcake Recipe
Vanilla Cupcake by Laura C George. Recipe.
I am so excited to bring you my first from-scratch cupcake recipe. These vanilla cupcakes have loads of flavor, but they’re very dense so you can’t eat more than one at a time, which is probably a good thing. Before I get going, I want to note that I found this recipe over at Cooks Illustrated – my go to resource for practically any dish I want to make. I’ve made very few adjustments because it was pretty much already perfect.
(Apologies for the not-so-fab photo. My boyfriend decided to *ahem* adjust the icing because he thought it was too buttery (it was). So I quickly iced a cupcake, foreseeing a terrible future for the icing, and hastily took photos even though the light wasn’t good. I mean… otherwise the cupcake would have gone stale waiting for me to photo it before I could eat it and we can’t have that, can we?)
1 1/2 cups flour (when in doubt, use a little less)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt (kosher salt, if possible)
8 Tbs unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream (a heaping cup is preferable)
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (use the best vanilla you can find, always)
1. Prep – adjust oven rack to middle position; preheat oven to 350* F; put paper liners in the muffin tin and haul out your mixer.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in your mixer’s bowl.
3. If your mixer has a paddle attachment, this is best. We don’t have one, so we just used the regular beaters and they work alright. Cut butter into smaller sections if you don’t have a splatter cover on your mixer. Add butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks, and vanilla to the dry mix.
4. Beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds (longer if the butter is still kinda cold). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets (or clumps of butter! ew!) remain.
5. Divide batter into the muffin tin. This makes roughly 17 cupcakes of medium size or 12 ginormous ones. I suggest doing 11 in the first batch (leaving that one spot open gives you a place to easily grab the pan when pulling it out of the oven) and then the remainder of the batter in the second batch.
6. Bake about 20 minutes. Tops will be pale gold and won’t really look finished, so stick a toothpick in to check. Remove cupcakes from tin immediately and transfer to wire rack to cool.
We also used an icing from Cook’s Illustrated that we weren’t super happy with. However, it was 20 times better than the icing you eat at most bakeries. It’s very buttery and super sweet. We cut the sugar in 4 and it was still too sweet. Here’s a quick recipe for that:
Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs whole milk or half and half
pinch of salt
Using a mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt. Beat on low until sugar is moistened. Increase speed and continue beating until smooth and fluffy, a little less than two minutes. Scrape down the bowl as you beat. Over-beating makes for too-soft icing. Makes enough for the cupcake recipe above. Double if making 24 cupcakes or doing fancy piping or something.
Blackberry Cobbler by Laura C George. Photograph.
So the other night I made a pretty great blackberry cobbler. My boyfriend saw the berries looked good at the store so he picked some up and had me make dessert. This was the first time I tried this recipe and it was super easy! Prep time is about 8 minutes, including washing the berries. And it bakes for around 45 minutes. So you can start about an hour before you need it to be ready and be fine! Yay!
2 Tbs butter
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
about 2 1/2 cups blackberries, rinsed (we bought three standard packages at the store and picked out any that didn’t look right)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place butter in a wide ceramic baking dish (ours is around 3×9) and melt in the oven. Don’t let it go too long since you can accidentally brown (or burn) the butter. When it’s melted, pull it out.
- While butter is melting, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar and incorporate. Add milk and incorporate.
- When butter comes out, pour mixture over the butter as evenly across the dish as you can. It will look weird, but it’s right.
- Pour blackberries on top as evenly as you can.
- Bake in oven for 45 minutes or more. Cobbler is ready when the crust rises to the top and starts to brown.
- Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream.
Let me know if you like it!
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