Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TWD: Tarte Fine

The only thing that has gotten me through the twenty-three (23) days of 90+ degree weather in September has been the appearance of apple desserts on the TWD schedule. I'm a fall/spring lover, winter/summer hater, which means I have never lived in the right place in any of my almost 38 years (Connecticut: winters too long/cold. Alabama: summers too long/hot). But I won't dwell on that, and will instead thank Leslie for picking this week's fabulous recipe, Tarte Fine. I've actually made the tarte fine before, because it's one of those delicious and impressive desserts that is super easy, thanks to the miracle product that is frozen puff pastry.

When I started baking/blogging, I had no idea what frozen puff pastry ("FPP") even was. I remember googling "frozen puff pastry" and printing out a picture of the Pepperidge Farm package so I would know what to look for at the store. And now two years later, not only am I a regular consumer of FPP, but I have brand preferences and everything! I first tried Dufour Pastry Kitchen's all-butter FPP after reading Dorie's recommendation -- she claims that it is so good that she stopped making her own puff pastry. Other accolades: winner of the International Fancy Food Show, and called "The most buttery and flaky pastry you will ever find" by Details Magazine {as an aside, I always thought of Details as more of a "Jessica Alba reviews the iPhone 4" kind of magazine -- but I may be mixing them up with Maxim}.

In any event, this dessert would be wonderful with just about any kind of FPP. Roll out the defrosted FPP, top with lemon juice soaked apples, top with sugar, brush the pastry edge with milk or cream and the apples with an egg wash, and bake. Easy!

My daughter just picked it up and ate it like pizza.

I may not have defrosted my pastry quite long enough, and may not have achieved optimal puffage as a result. No matter, it was still delicious. I served this with David Lebovitz's cinnamon ice cream, my favorite. The cinnamon sticks seeped in my milk for two hours rather than the prescribed one hour, because I never seem to be home for an hour straight. So it was very cinnamony, and so delicious, especially with this scrumptious tarte!

Leslie, thanks for the fabulous fall pick! Please run, don't walk, to Leslie's great blog, Lethally Delicious, for the recipe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TWD: Cranberry Upside Downer

One of my mother's favorite sayings has always been "everything in moderation." While it induced major eye rolls when I was in high school (but then, what didn't?) something about that message sunk in, because now that I am indisputably an adult, I am extreme in my moderation. I sleep not too much, not too little. I drink a glass or two of wine a week. I will never be a workaholic. I get regular, non-compulsive exercise. I try to eat healthy most of the time, with all of the food groups represented. My midlife crisis car will probably be a Maxima. I have a strong preference for those glorious, moderate seasons, spring and fall (and really want to live somewhere where it is spring and fall all the time -- suggestions?) and tend to get winter/summer fatigue in a hurry. Yup, I am pretty much a moderate by every measure except for Cranberry Upside-Downer consumption, as evidenced by the fact that I ate 90% of this by myself in hourly, 1/8th inch slice increments over the course of a couple of days. And what can I say? -- extreme behavior never tasted so good!

I bought a bunch of cranberries during cranberry season last year, and they've been taking up awkward space in my freezer ever since. I was thrilled to get to use them a little bit earlier than planned; with more room in the freezer and an upside down cake on the counter, everybody wins! This was an easy cake to make. Melt some butter and sugar on the stovetop, mix in walnuts and cranberries, and spread the mixture into an 8" round pan:

Top with batter and bake.

This came out of the pan nicely and made for a festive presentation. I l-l-l-loved this cake! It has the perfect texture, and the tart cranberries and the cinnamon cake make for a heavenly combination. I We treated this as a breakfast/snack cake, but it would totally work as a true dessert with ice cream or whipped cream. David, who luckily got the first slice before I ate the rest of it, noted that while he is not usually a cranberry fan or an upside down cake fan (Really? Who thinks about upside down cakes as a distinct genre of cake, and then forms an opinion about whether to be a fan or not? Apparently my husband does.), he thought the cake was delicious. I have no idea what we are doing for Thanksgiving this year, but if I am anywhere near an oven and willing eaters -- strike that, I don't need the willing eaters; I can handle this baby myself -- I am making this cake.

Sabrina of Superflous chose this Upside Downer, and you can find her post here. Sabrina, awesome pick!
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