Category: Apples

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Is late March too early to call Dish Of The Year for 2016?  Because I think I have a winner.

At the very least, my version of Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ Salted Caramel Apple Pie will be Top Ten. I would love to think that over the course of the next nine months I could cook ten things that are better than this.  I just very much doubt it will happen. It’s THAT good!

Salted Caramel Apple Pie.   Even the words sound good together.   You know how when you first fall in love and you want to say the name of your beloved all the time?  That’s what I’ve been like all week, just walking around with my head full of “Mmmm…caramel…salted caramel…with apples…in a pie….salted caramel apple pie….oooohhhh  yyyyyeah”. And sometimes not only in my head. There’s been a few awkward moments when I’ve said some version of the above only to be met with a blank look and someone saying “Ok, sure…but what’s the time?” That’s how good this is.  It will send you into inner rhapsodies.  Which sometimes become outer rhapsodies. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie6

It’s starting to get a bit colder here now, much more autumnal – and nothing quite says Autumn like an apple pie!  I pretty much used the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Recipe that you can find here for this.

However, I twisted it up a bit as follows:

  • I used Rhubarb Bitters instead of Agnostura Bitters in the filling – because I already had some and rhubarb and apple is a classic combo right?
  • The original recipe calls for four to six lemons.  I think this is waaaaaaayyyyy too many.  I used three and I feel my apple mixture was too wet.  I had to drain a lot of liquid off before I put the apples in the pie.  I would use two as a maximum and ideally, the minimum amount I needed to stop the apples from browning. 
  • I also used less nutmeg because I’m not overly fond of it and for my palate, a little of it goes a long way.
  • I used bought pastry – a sweet shortcrust pie shell for the base and puff pastry for the topping
  • I used less salt than the recipe specified because the fussiest eater in the world is not a fan of salt and sweet. 
  • I also swapped out the flour in the recipe for almond meal and used demerara sugar in the filling and sprinkled over the top of the pastry.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie3

To me, the salted caramel sauce is the star of this dish.  Without it, you have…apple pie. Tasty but ho-hum.  With it – with the caramel sauce taken to the edge –  so you get a hint of bitterness, then a flood of sweet then a kick of salt in the finish – you have a taste sensation!

Having said that, the spiced apples had a lovely flavour! 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie5

This was the first time I had ever latticed a pie and it shows.  My lattice was quite uneven.  Or, as we shall be calling it henceforth – rustic! 

Here is a guide on how to do it properly!

How to Make A Lattice Pie Crust

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie8This was soooo good!  We ate it plain and also with cream and some of the leftover caramel sauce.  It would be DIVINE with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie10

The leftover sauce can be used over ice cream or other desserts and will keep in the fridge for a week or so.  I am combining it with chocolate mousse and raspberries for a recipe from our latest Tasty Reads book which I hope will be as amazing as this. 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Best Apple Pie Ever. That is all.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 sweet pie crust
  2. 1 1/2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into even strips
Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 113g unsalted butter (1 stick)
  4. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  5. 1/2-1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
Apple Filling
  1. 4-6 medium to large apples,
  2. 2 lemons
  3. 1/3 cup demerara sugar
  4. 2 tbsp almond meal
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  7. 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  8. 4-6 dashes Rhubarb bitters
To Assemble
  1. 1 egg beaten
  2. Demerara sugar to sprinkle
The Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. Cook the sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved.
  2. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil.
  3. Continue cooking until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper colour.
  4. (Keep an eye on it, it can turn from under done to burnt very quickly.)
  5. Once it is the coppery colour, remove from the heat and add the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and steam.
  6. Whisk the mixture over a low heat and add the salt.
  7. Set aside.
Apple Filling
  1. Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Add the bitters. Core, peel and thinly slice the apples - a mandoline is perfect for this. Place the apples in the mixing bowl, ensuring each slice is dipped in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. In a large measuring cup combine the sugar, almond meal, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Pour over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices in this mixture.
To Assemble the Pie
  1. Preheat your oven to 190-200C (375-400F).
  2. Place 1/3 of the apples into the sweet shortcrust pie shell, ensuring that the base is well covered and there are minimal gaps.
  3. Pour 1/4 of the caramel over the apples.
  4. Repeat with the caramel and apples twice.
  5. Assemble the lattice crust from puff pastry.
  6. Brush the crust with beaten egg.
  7. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  8. Place the pie on a baking paper lined baking sheet (to protect your oven if the caramel bubbles over).
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 165C / 335F and bake 25-35 minutes or until the apples are just done when tested with a skewer.
  10. Allow to cool. Serve with the remaining sauce, cream or ice cream.
  11. Enjoy!
Adapted from Four And Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple pie
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Meantime I have pie to eat so, have a wonderful week!

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The Dishiest Dish – Poulet Vallée D’Auge

This week’s highlight came from France…from Normandy to be be precise.  Or to be even more precise from the the Pays D’Auge.  This is apple country and the chicken casserole that is the Poulet Vallée D’Auge contains both apples and Calvados, the apple brandy that is also a specialty of the region.

And if chicken, apples and Calvados aren’t enough for you how about we add a generous dollop of creme fraiche into the mix.  Bon Appetit indeed. 

Poulet Vallee D'Auge

We had a bit of a cold snap in the week so this hearty kind of meal was perfect.  And for those of you in the Northern hemisphere who are still in the midst of winter, this will warm any, and all,the cockles you have. 

The perfect drink to have with this would be a cider, one from Normandy would be perfect!  Or maybe a wee glass of that Calvados.

Poulet Vallee D'Auge2This is a lovely dish and that sauce is divine! 

I also made these prawn cakes from the Paleo book.  They looked gorgeous but tasted only ok.  I felt the restrictions of the Paleo diet really made themselves felt here.  Thai food is meant to have that mix of sweet, salt, sour and heat.  The recipe as it stood had no sweet in the dipping sauce.  It vastly improved after I added some sugar.  They do look pretty though!

Paleo Prawn CakesThe Six Week Challenges

No Alcohol

The six weeks of “no” alcohol are nearly over.  I had a bit of a set back this week.  A friend of mine resigned from work and we arranged to go for doughnuts so he could tell me all about it.  And somehow on the way to the doughnut shop we got waylaid by the little bar on the corner.  We were halfway through our glass of vino when we started getting messages.  “Where are you?  The fire alarms are going off.  We need to evacuate the building”.  I am  the fire warden for our office.  Can you believe it?  I never leave my desk.  NEVER.  And the ONE time I go off for a sneaky doughnut pinot, the flipping fire alarms go off. 

What could we do?  They would have grounded the lifts, we weren’t getting back into the building in a hurry.    Nothing for it but to have a second glass o’ wine.

Here is the scene of the crime – Dikstein’s Corner Bar,

We had a lovely New Zealand Pinot but  ewwww…did I feel seedy afterwards.  Totally lethargic, no motivation to do anything except flop on the couch and tune out in front of the telly for the entire evening.  I will say more about this challenge when it is over – in just a couple of days. But after yesterday I am seriously evaluating my relationship with booze. 

Meditation

Still struggling with this one.  I thought this would be so much easier than giving up booze.  Not so.  I”ll try to lift my game for the last two weeks.  And this one can go back on the list for a re-do later in the year. 

Flexibility

I’m LOVING this.  And after only a week or so in, I am already seeing the difference!  I am mixing it up between two different routines – one has a morning routine and an evening routine so if I get up early enough I do that one.  If not, there is another where you do one 10 minute workout for the day.  Really happy with this one!

The March Challenge

I have not decided what will replace the no alcohol challenge come the first of March.

I am narrowing it down:

Journalling – I used to journal all the time and love it.  And I think in some ways that was my meditation.  I REALLY want to get back into it.

Candy Crush – MUST. STOP. PLAYING.

Food – I feel I should replace a “food” challenge with another food challenge – I was thinking maybe a month without bread, pasta potatoes.  But Jenny has inspired me to do one around food waste.  

I will do what I did last month and see what jumps out at me on the morning of the first!  Eeeeekkk – can you believe it’s almost March?

Reading

I have given up on The Apologist for my audiobook.  I could not get into it.  I had previously started Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantell and I have gone back to that.

You can keep your real Housewives…for real scandal and intrigue, give me the Tudors anyday!

Bring up the Bodies

But my major discovery this week was this:

Savage Lane by Jason Starr

Savage Lane=Jason Starr

The hot pink cover had me at hello.  I like to read dark and this is pitch black!  It is also pitch perfect. Nasty, nasty people doing nasty, nasty things.  I’m loving it!

Here is the premise:

“Life is sublime in the idyllic suburbs of New York City.  Recent divorcée Karen Daily and her two kids have, for the first time in years,  found joy as they settle into the close-knit community of Savage Lane.  Neighbours, Mark and Deb Berman have been so supportive as she moves on in life: teaching at the local school and even dating again.

But behind the pristine houses and perfect smiles lie dark motives far more sinister than Karen could have ever imagined.  Unknown to her, Mark, trapped in his own unhappy marriage, has developed a rich fantasy life for the two of them.  And, as rumours start to spread, it seems that he isn’t the only one targetting Karen”

This is the first book of his I have read but I am now keen to read more.  And all of his covers from No Exit Press are equally arresting:

Jason Starr Via No Exit Press

Plants

I am going through a phase where I want to fill my house with plants.  To help with that obsession, I bought this book:

Have started  following this blog:

http://www.thejungalow.com/ 

Her instagram is also amazing!

https://www.instagram.com/justinablakeney/

And have been trying to find a local version of these West Elm Planters.

West Elm Mid Century Planters

Now I just have to buy some plants!

That’s about it.  I haven’t really done much else this week except work. 

On The Menu

  • Saffron chicken from Persiana
  • Lamb Kebabs from the A-Z of Cooking with the tomato salad with pomegranate salad also from Persiana….and eeeekkkk.  Sabrina has a new book coming out in May!   I can hardly wait!
  • Honeycomb Cheesecake from A Moveable Feast
  • Sweet Potato cakes with Lemon Chickpeas

Sirocco

That’s about it for me for this week.  Except for the recipe for the Poulet Vallée D’Auge – which you can find here.

What are you cooking, reading, doing this weekend?  I am planning to take the dogs down to the dog beach for a play. 

Have a wonderful weekend whatever you do.

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2;

 

The Dishiest Dish – Black and Blueberry Crumble

Black berries, blueberries, dots of marzipan, almonds, choc chips, a splash of amaretto and, of course some custard?  How could the Black and Blueberry Crumble not be the dish of the week? 

Black and Blueberry Almond Crumble

Close second was Karen Martini’s Sausage, Ham & Egg Pizza.

Sausage, Ham & Egg Pizza

Fail of the week?  The Broccoli con Anchovy from The River Cafe Cookbook.  I’m not sure what it is with me and this book.  Last week the rotolo was a fail.  This week, I didn’t even get to cook anything.

Here’s the thing.  I put broccoli on my shopping list.  I ticked it off my list meaning it had gone from shelf to basket.   I should have had broccoli in my fridge. BUT I tootled off to twilight yoga on Sunday afternoon planning to have a healthy broccoli con anchovy supper on my return.  Got home, had my aromatherapy bath, got into my jamies. And no broccoli.  Not in the fridge, not misplaced in the cupboard.  Not in the car.  Just a black hole of broccoli. 

And yes, I could have gone and bought some but I was already in my pyjamas and Doctor Who was about to start.

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

Tasty Reads is coming up, I am going to make the Chicken, Cheese and Corn meatballs and the Raw Tuna Meatballs from the meatball cookbook. I found the Turkey Cran meatballs I made a little too sweet for my taste.  I will try these again but instead of the dried sweetened cranberries required by the recipe I will use fresh (frozen) cranberries.  They will bring a much needed touch of tartness.  Also place the balls in the freezer for maybe 15 minutes so the cheese doesn’t ooze out everywhere. 

Black and Blueberry Almond Crumble2In Other News I Am

Listening To

  • I know I spoke about this last week but OMG Episode 3 of Limetown sent shivers up my backbone.  The last ten minutes?  Possibly the scariest thing I have ever listened to. 
  • In the same creepy vein, Mark had never heard of Jonestown until this week.  Reminded me of this other creepy, but this time true, pod

Reading/Listening

I finished A Rush Of Blood on audio,  It was ok. I think the author drew a long bow for the reasons for the murders. 

Am about to start Life After Life.

Watching

We saw William Shatner’s Stage Show the other night.  Briilliant.  We have started marathon watching Boston Legal on the back of it. It’s still immensely watchable!

Also A Beautiful Lie on ABC.  This is a modern day version of Anna Karenina which so far has been superb.  Except for one teeny thing…the Vronsky character is not at all good looking.  In fact, Mr Karenina is waaay more handsome.  Despite this, absolutely loving it. 

 

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Green Sauce - From Meatballs The Ultimate Guide by Matteo Bruno

Ingredients

  • 50g (a large bunch) flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves picked
  • 50g (a large bunch) basil, leaves picked
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 35g blanched almonds
  • 10g anchovies
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

  • Blitz the herbs, garlic, almonds, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor for around a minute or until a smooth sauce has formed.
  • Add the parmesan and blitz for another minute.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/10/25/dishiest-dish-strawberry-cheesecake-heaven-2/

What’s going on in your life / kitchen?    What was the best thing you made this week?

What are you looking forward to making next week? 

What are you reading, watching, listening to?

Please share!

Have a fabulous week everyone! 

Happy Cooking!

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Ooh La La – French Apple Flan

Bonjour mes amis!

This French Apple Flan straight from the buffet section of the A-Z of Cooking is délicieux!  I know what you’re thinking.  Two pastry dishes in two weeks?  Why, it’s almost like you’re practicing for something. 

Nudge nudge, wink, wink, say no more.  

French Apple Tart1

French Apple Flan

Truth is, I made this before I knew anything about Pieathalon 2…which is not only a reality but  I have purchased my ingredients and will be baking on the weekend. 

But back to the French Apple Flan.  I was actually a bit wary about making a second pastry dish from the A-Z of Cooking because, lets face it, I was not overly impressed with the pastry from the Date Crunchies. 

But, the buffet section left a LOT to be desired.  There was an Egg Mousse.  But there is also an Egg Mousse in Salads for All Seasons, which quite frankly reads better.  Then there is a Cold Loin of Pork Orientale….except I don’t eat pork.  There is the trout of nightmares:

Image (2)And there is the French Apple Flan:

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

 So, despite that picture not being overly appealing, this was kind of a no-brainer.

And let me say right now,  I can’t imagine any of the other dishes being this good because this was AWESOME.  The pastry was crisp and light and delicious, the filling was lovely – and again not too sweet.  There was only a 50g of sugar for a kilo of apples.  The butter and the lemon and the wine hummed along quietly in the background without taking over.   The filling really just tastes of apples.  But nicer.  Like supercharged apples.  But really, please, despite what the recipe says use butter not that horrible other stuff. 

French Apple Tart 8
French Apple Flan 8

A friend of mine recently made some gorgeous apple roses that she found here and they kind of inspired my topping. 

French Apple Tart 9
French Apple Flan 9

 I also used a blackberry jam for my glaze because that’s what I had and smoke em if you got ’em is how I roll.  It made my glaze quite dark but I kind of liked that ombre effect it created. 

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

And again, the French Apple Flan  was just lovely.  And it was totally delicious on it’s own but if you really want to ramp it up, try it, slightly warm with some dulce de leche ice cream.  And then just float away on a little cloud because you will seriously think you have died and gone to heaven.

French Apple Flan
French Apple Flan

 So, good.

In my mind this is an apple tart.  So much so that I had to keep going back when writing and changing the word tart to flan.    I am not precisely sure of the difference between a tart and a flan although some albeit rather lazy research leads me to think a flan contains a custard filling.  Which this doesn’t. 

So it’s a tart right?

Whatever you call it. it’s super delicious and made from things you already probably have in your house or can get pretty easily.  I promise you will not regret making this…so go on, do it now!

French Apple Flan1
French Apple Flan1

Au revoir!

 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

 

 

Raising The Salad Bar Part 2 – Melon Surprise x 2

Shortly after you start reading vintage recipe books, you start becoming attuned to certain words as being signifiers of something truly awful.

Any recipe with the word “Surprise” in it usually falls slam bang into this description.  Believe me, nine times out of ten, the surprise isn’t one of the happy, happy, joy, joy variety.

For instance, my mum used to make something we used to call tuna surprise.  I found this recipe for something very similar in an old magazine.

Tuna & Almond SurpriseIt is sans the potato chip topping which was always the best bit of mum’s tuna surprise but I guess I can forgive that when the Shaun referred to was none other than my main man Shaun Micallef.

What?

I’ve been doing this a couple of years now and I’ve never spoken about my huge girly love crush on this man?  For those of you who do haven’t  had the pleasure, imagine the wit of John Stewart combined with the silver foxiness of George Clooney and you’re in the ball park…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoz6kZsjc3s

Anyway, enough about my obsessions…ok, no, just one more.  It’s my blog, I guess I can do what I want….

Ok, so before this turns into the gushy, girly Shaun Micallef hour…lets talk about Melon Surprise.

Melon Surprise
Melon Surprise

But before we go there can we just stop for a moment and look at my ever so cute pins? Bought at Daiso…how adorable are they?

Melon Surprise2
Melon Surprise2

So the melon had pins in it because…surprise….this ain’t no normal melon!!!!

Because  when you cut it open….look what’s inside!

Melon Surprise 3
Melon Surprise 3

Grapes in Jello folks, grapes in jello!

Hands up who was expecting something really disgusting?  Wait a few minutes….it’s coming.

But in a real surprise, the Melon Surprise turned out to be pretty damn super.  To my taste, more of a dessert than a salad but  still pretty damn good all the same.

Melon Surprise 4
Melon Surprise 4

Ok…so  by the way, both of these recipes come from the “Elegant First Courses” section of Salads For All Seasons in which  Rosemary Mayne-Wilson tells us that

“The recipes in this section are designed to excite the eye, delight the palate and stimulate the appetite”

And sure, the Melon Surprise does all of these things.  As you can see I tool some liberties with the flavour of jelly and the colour of the grapes.

Melon SurpriseTime did not permit me to peel the grapes.  There is not enough time in the universe to induce me to do that.

Next up, we have Surfer’s Paradise Melon.

Let’s take the ingredients for this individually shall we?

Rockmelons – sure.

Celery – why not?

Grapes…worked in the Melon Surprise.

Apples – I’m getting a bit excited, this is looking Waldorfy…

Mayo…yep, its a Waldorf with Melons.  That sounds great!

But wait…there’s more?

Oh yeah, Walnuts right?  Waldorf with Melons.  Awesome.

What?  What do you mean the final ingredient isn’t walnuts?  How can we have Waldorf with Melons without Walnuts?

Oh, I see the quirky bit, the RMW spin is that it’s not walnuts.  So what is it?  Almonds?  Cashews?  Pistachios?

It’s what?

Yeah…that’s what I thought you said…..

Ok…look, I just want to doublecheck.

You said tuna right?

Like in the fish?

Oh for the love of God….why?

Incidentally, the tuna and fruit combo must be vibing in some retro space because recently the lovely Erica from Retro Recipe Attempts was guesting on Mid Century Menu and made some Tuna Apple Sandwiches. (which you can find here).

In the blurb for this salad RMW says:

“When Australians are overseas, few requests are made for them to contribute to food stalls and fairs…it is assumed that our cuisine is either too dull to be considered or just an offshoot of English cooking…However, if there is a request for an Australian dish, one friend always serves this grand melon appetizer”

I suspect she’s confusing cause and effect…

If anyone turned up to my food stall or fair with a mix of canned tuna and rockmelon, I’d probably ban their whole nation too.

However, here it is….

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad

It looks pretty good doesn’t it?

And truth be told, it was not disgusting.  It had a nice crunch and it was…palatable. I might have actually liked it without the rockmelon…

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad2
Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad2

One thing?  If you ever plan on making this, when you mix the rockmelon and tuna together, it looks huge.  There is a mountain of Surfer’s Paradise Melon Salad such that you think you’ll  never be able to eat it all.

I had for lunch at around 12:30.  And, believe me, by 5:00pm I was ready to gnaw the leg off my chair.  Because when you think about it, this is what it is:

Surfer's Paradise Melon Salad IngredientsThanks company I am not going to name (but hint, their name is pretty clearly displayed in the photo) for only putting half a can of tuna into a can of tuna.  I guess that’s why it’s called light….And the rest of it is just fruit and celery so I guess you know, from a weight loss perspective this is win-win.  You won’t want to eat it but when you do, it probably has all of about 3 calories.

Surfer's Paradise MelonAnd just so I’m not deterring tourism to our lovely Gold Coast, I can almost guarantee that no one in Surfer’s Paradise is eating this…do not let this dissuade you from coming.

By the way, I just signed up for 100 Happy Days and will be regularly tweeting my happy snaps.  You can follow my progress on Twitter or join up.  To find out more, click the link:

http://100happydays.com/

I”m going to spending my week finding things that make me happy. Make yours fabulous whatever you do!

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2

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