5 weeks ago
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Jessica of My Baking Heart chose Parisian Apple Tartlets for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. When I first saw that a tart(let) was on the menu this month, I assumed I'd be hauling out the food processor, examining for clumps and curds, and panicking about over processing tart dough. So I was happily surprised when I read the recipe and realized that this one is by far the simplest TWD recipe yet. It doesn't get "made" so much as assembled.
That's right, from top to bottom we have (1) frozen puff pastry, (2) apple half (mine might actually be an apple quarter; I lost track), (3) brown sugar, and (4) butter. Bake it until it's puffy and browned. Eat it.
Dorie discusses frozen puff pastry in her book, and strongly encourages bakers to forgo the more readily available Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry in favor of all-butter frozen puff pastry available at specialty stores. Dorie recommends a version by Dufour Pastry, which she says is so good that she stopped making puff pastry at home.
Let me list a few items that I have not been able to find in my local specialty store (Whole Foods) in the past few months: green lentils, lemon marmalade, fleur de sel, 00 flour, thyme, high gluten flour, amaretto cookies, and fresh yeast. But lo!
I rubbed my eyes to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating, that I wouldn't next wander over to aisle six and see flying pink elephants. Was it even possible that I was looking at not only all-butter frozen puff pastry, but the very brand of all-butter frozen puff pastry that caused Dorie stop making puff pastry at home? The winner of the International Fancy Food Show?
I was on such a high from my unexpected find that I barely flinched at the $11.99 price tag for my one sheet of puff pastry, and whistled and clicked my heels all the way to the checkout line.
Dorie says that peaches, plums, pears and apricots all work well in this, but I just don't think you can beat an apple tart. So I baked one apple tartlet for David and served it with ice cream. I traced my 4" circle for the tartlet (my sifter was the perfect size), and sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on the scraps (for me).
David really enjoyed the tartlet. I swear that he said something really clever when evaluating the tartlet last night (besides "this is really good!"), but I can't for the life of me remember what it was, and neither can he (I just asked him). The scraps were so amazing that I almost cried. That Dufour puff pastry really is as fabulous as Dorie says it is; I totally understand why it won the International Fancy Food Show. It's so good, in fact, that I am going to stop making my own puff pastry at home, just like Dorie. It's a splurge, so I'm sure I'll continue to rely on Pepperidge Farm for my day-to-day puff pastry needs, but for special occasions, I'm breaking out the Dufour.
The Parisian Apple Tartlet simply cannot be beat when you need a simple and delicious dessert quickly. I'll make this one again and again. Thanks for the great pick, Jessica!
[EDITED 6/9 9:15 a.m.]: David must have read my post this morning, because he left me the following message on Facebook: "Had I known the damage one sheet of that magical puff pastry would do, I'm sure I would have had something very clever to say about it. Sorry, did I say "clever?" I meant "profane," something very profane." D'oh!