Baking with Julia – French Apple Tart

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This was a perfect Christmas Eve dessert. Yeah, you read that right, I made this three weeks ago! Take that Baking with Julia! I’ve previously lamented my last minute baking for this group but I made this one almost a month ahead of schedule! I’m just gonna go ahead and pat myself on the back something fierce!

We chose not to travel this Christmas and while I did miss my immediate family, I got to spend it with some of my family that lives nearer to us and it was fantastic. We hung with two of my aunts and two of my favorite cousins and it was one of the most chill and delightful Christmases ever! I sort of felt like the yuppie couple who lives next to the Griswold’s in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but I’m oddly okay with that. Plus we didn’t get attacked by a Rottweiler or anything like that so we’re doing better than them by miles already.

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I like to think that Tristan and I would never wear these metallic sweatsuits, but who knows what the future will bring?

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I thought that roasting the apples beforehand made this dessert different and special. Definitely not efficient time-wise, but I’m okay with that. It reminded me of the blueberry nectarine pie from last year where we cooked the filling before baking it. Just another layer of flavor I guess. I’m proud to say that this was my first tart crust that didn’t totally shrink while it was baking and it made me extremely happy. Though I’m not 100% comfortable with the consistency of the pie/tart crust recipe from BWJ pre-bake, I will say that it delivers tremendous results in the final product. Looked beautiful and tasted amazing as well!

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Getting things done so far in advance felt good at the time, but now I am struggling to remember what I wanted to say about ths recipe specifically. I thought it was the perfect dessert for our meal of cassoulet and I really appreciated that it wasn’t tremendously sweet, but apart from that the details are escaping me. Oh well. I do remember that it was delicious though so if you’re interested in having this apple goodness in your life, visit  Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen for the recipe.

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P.S. Merry late Christmas from the cutest and fattest cat I know: Poppet

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Meow!

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French Fridays with Dorie – Crispy Crackly Apple Almond Tart

It’s been kind of a trying day, so I’m going to be brief about this one. Well, maybe not brief. I don’t know that I’m ever brief really, but just not my usual self is all I’m trying to say. Work was…..work today. Sometimes I feel like my job is really fun and easy and other times it feels really soul-sucking and today was kind of a soul-sucking day. Add a little side-dish of personal issues and you have me right now: only one gin and tonic in and a Cheesy Gordita Crunch for dinner comin’ atcha! I mean things aren’t all bad or anything, it was just one of those days.

Yesterday is when I made this tart though and it was a much different kind of day. I had things together yesterday. I made a pork loin in the slow cooker which took some forethought and then I made this for dessert so it felt like a real accomplishment of sorts. I felt this one was kind of hard to photograph because everything is so damn beige. I tried to make the apples look pretty and I think I did alright. I used Honey Crisp even though they’re ridiculously expensive right now and I don’t regret it at all. They were sweet and delicious and completely worth the $3 a lb price tag. Stupid drought!

Though the process of putting this together was a little piddly, I really did enjoy it. Butter, sugar, apples, pastry? That’s my kind of party right there.

We ate this with some vanilla ice cream while it was still a little warm and it was mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed.

So as previously mentioned, Saturday is the run. Hopefully I will look less like Hannah from Girls

and more like Chris from Parks & Rec.

I googled hardcore to find a pic of Hannah sitting in the street after having ripped off her tennis shoes and thrown them but I came up with nothing. Hopefully I’m past that stage at least. We’ll see! Oh and if you haven’t watched Girls on HBO or Parks & Recreation on NBC you should start. Like now.

French Fridays with Dorie – Double Chocolate and Banana Tart

Can we all just take a minute to appreciate how EXACTLY like the picture this thing looks! I mean before I start whining about how slippery the bananas were and how much of a bitch it was to place them this way I just want to bask in the glow of this visual accomplishment.

The in-laws were coming over on Sunday because Tristan’s birthday was on Monday so I just decided it would be the best time to make this bad boy. Tristan is not huge on bananas so I thought having more people to eat it would lessen the chance of it sitting in the fridge taunting me and forcing me to eat it all week. Not that it hasn’t been doing that. His parents ate very modest pieces so I have had one with a little vanilla ice cream for the last few nights after dinner. Good thing I haven’t given up on the whole running thing yet – sheesh!

I made this over two days – the crust on Saturday night and then the filling on Sunday morning and the topping on Sunday afternoon when I got home from work. I’d say this worked out very well and if you need a dessert that can be broken up into steps like this to fit your busy schedule then this tart is for you. I took a ton of pictures of it when I was finished because of how amazing it looks but I took no pics of the process except for this one:

Kind of inexplicable. I guess maybe I just liked the look of all that butter sizzling away or something. I’m a weirdo and I’ve come to terms with it. Here’s another pic of the beautiful finished product just to get the taste of the last one out of your mouth.

I like this tart – like all great French desserts it’s not super sweet. It has the overwhelmingly rich and dense chocolate flavor without drowning you in sugary sweetness. I loved the crust. I would definitely make that into little slice and bake cookies and then eat the entire batch – yum! I do think this is for a very specific crowd though – either people you want to impress (like say, your in-laws) or someone like the person this was created for who desperately loves bananas and chocolate. I’m really glad I made it, but I probably don’t need to make it again unless someone specifically requests it. It was yummy, but I’m ready for the next thing. I made the other half of the fougasse dough for dinner on Sunday too (clearly I am looking for someone’s approval – god, I’m so transparent) and even though it sat in the fridge for longer than 3 days, it still tasted amazing. I love fougasse – that is all.