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Apples, Again

It’s that time of year, of course, for making wonderful things with apples. One of my favorite baking blogs to read is Confessions of a Tart. Great pictures and inspiring recipes. A few days ago, she posted this apple tartlet recipe which I knew instantly I had to try. I mean, how could I not?

Obviously, I need more practice at this one to get the ratio of apples to ricotta correct. But it was a fun and quick recipe to whip up on a cold, cloudy autumn morning, while contractors were tearing out my bathroom (finally!). I had to slice the apples very thin, as I was using a big old Mutsu. Next time, definitely more apple, even if I have to slice them paper thin like this.

Irene wasn’t kidding when she said her house filled with the scent of baking apples and vanilla. Right now, ours is redolent with the same.

Thanks, Irene, for hosting such a great site! Also, your chocolate cupcakes were a big hit here at the house a few weeks ago.

Apple and Pear Cakes

At the farmers’ market this week, my favorite orchard had some lovely golden russet apples. I’d never seen them before, so I quickly nab a bunch of them for an apple cake. I also have a few pears remaining from Cynthia’s mother’s pear tree which are so ready to go.

The russets have a tough and slightly fuzzy skin, which translates to a powdery taste when eaten with the skin on. They’re a bit tart, a little like a granny smith, but with a sweeter aftertaste.

Sadly, I’ve no one here today to perform the sacred duty of licking the bowl and spatula clean.

Apple Cake Ready

And 40 minutes later, they’re out of the oven and resting before they get flipped out of their pans. These are double flip cakes: out of the pan to a plate, then to another plate so they’re right side up again.

Carefully…

You can just put those pear pieces back in, like a puzzle, as it’s going to be the bottom of the cake anyway.

However, sometimes no matter how much you’ve buttered the pan, your cake will stubbornly insist on clinging tightly to it. And then you have to perform some careful reconstructive surgery. Which is what happened with the apple version of today’s cake.

Slightly damaged cake still tastes delicious.

Stale Bread

A while back, The Baker asked her friends how much they’d pay for a fresh loaf of home baked bakery bread to be delivered to them. One of the answers was “I wouldn’t, it goes stale too quickly.” The current standard loaf in our household takes a lot longer than a day or two to go stale, but we still end up with a lot of ends of loaves going stale and this got me thinking about what you can do with stale bread.

The obvious answer is toast. I love toast, and it’s perfect for using up old bread. Once you toast it, it gets all crispy on the outside and the insides get soft again from the heat of the toaster. And then you melt some butter on it, with maybe some cheese or jam or a fried egg, and it’s great. But what else? Continue Reading »

I had a saying…

when I was an English teacher. One of my monitors said after a class, “You’re really quite strict with the children, aren’t you?”

“Yep. As far as these kids are concerned, I’m Kaiser effin’ Wilhelm, and they love me for it.” As if to prove my words, at that moment, the next wave of kids came tumbling in the door, and even the kids who weren’t my students ran to me, squealing, “Teacher! Teacher Sam! Hello Teacher!”

Every time I make Kaiser rolls, I think of that.

Now if only I could get the rolls to OBEY and LOVE me as well as my former students did.

P.S. Confidential to the person searching for “pie crust recipes using butter”: you don’t want to go with just butter. You can for a quiche, but really shouldn’t for a tart or pie, since it’ll be too soft and soggy, you do need the extra bit of shortening to make a strong, flaky crust. However, if you insist, this one should do.

Crust III: Crostata

Blueberry peach crostata, infused with vanilla, using the other half of the tart crust we made the other day.

All right, so technically speaking, we should use a pâte à croûstade, but Tante Julia says that the pâte brisée fine is appropriate for quiche as well. And she is The Final Word on these matters…

Pie and Tart Crust

This morning, I was just about to make short crust for tonight’s dinner (it’ll be quiche, thank you) and remembered that a couple of people had requested what has turned out to be the Perfect Tart and Pie Crust recipe. So here it is, after the cut…