Tuesday, September 2, 2008
There I was...the night before my oldest child begins kindergarten...switching around 56 loads of laundry, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, trying to find some sneakers at the store on Labor Day weekend, fitting in a game of bowling with my family...suddenly it dawned on me---tomorrow is Tuesday. As in Tuesdays with Dorie. And there is the bowl of apples, given to me by my friend Julia from church from her apple tree--a week ago. Word is getting out...Julie has to bake on Tuesdays! I meant to get around to those apples last week, but totally missed making or posting anything on Tuesday (which didn't go unnoticed--I received a phone call wondering what I was making that night!).
Well, I didn't want to get kicked off Dorie's friend list, so on top of all that craziness going on last night I upped the ante and added in a new baking project. How about an apple tart? The recipe said I could use store-bought puff pastry dough. But when I saw the cost (and ingredient list) I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. My miserly mind thought, "I can always make some pie dough way more cheaply!"
In fact, the Tarte Tatin recipe said I could also use pie dough or sweet tart dough from another page in the book. Sweet tart dough sounds tastier to me (I'm not a big pie crust lover), so I worked on that. "Blend flour, sugar, ground nuts, and salt in your food processor." Dang...no food processor in my cupboard. So now what do I do?
Well....how about my teeny tiny chopper (food processor wannabe)? Good idea, Julie. The dry ingredients fit (barely), then I added the bits of frozen butter and the egg yolk. Whew, it all fit, but I had to hold my hand over the lid to keep the flour from flying out!
But wait, my dough was not crumbly or pebbly...It was like fine sand. Hmmm...maybe my chopper had more guts than I thought. I could hardly keep together. I tried pressing it, but it kept falling apart. There was no way I was going to "gently knead" it into a ball. So I got out my springform cake pan, lined it with parchment, and pressed the dough into the bottom. Then I threw it into the fridge (my freezer was full from my recent grocery shopping trip).
Later that night, post dinner/running kid's bath/nursing baby, I madly peeled those homegrown apples. I didn't have the patience to neatly core and quarter them. Chopping them off the core seemed easier.
"Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet, sprinkle on the sugar." Oops...somehow I always think that if you want something caramelized in the end that you must start with brown sugar. The recipe called for white sugar, but mine used brown.
"Make beautiful concentric circle with the apple quarters on top of the sugar." Yeah, I got a utilitarian version of beautiful going on. After cooking it for about 15 minutes, I gently slid my tart dough on top (yes, it all crumbled apart--but it baked back together). "Bake 30-40 minutes." Okay. "Place a rimmed plate over the skillet and flip all in one motion." Actually, it worked!
All in all, it tasted good. The apples might have been slightly (or severely!) overcooked. They were more like applesauce than fruit in a tart. But that crust tasted great with all the caramelization on it! Not so pretty, though--especially the next day.
Ah, I've got to take my oatmeal recipe advice and not try to do new baking things during hectic times! But I hope you all enjoy my struggles---no phone calls from friends wondering if I've done my homework tonight!!!