modern apple tart

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Oh my goodness!

I think this is just about the prettiest apple tart I’ve ever made. EVER.

But the beauty about this one … is that it’s not just pretty. Oh heck no. It’s tasty as well. Like … truly delicious … melt in your mouth … bet you can’t eat just one slice … kinda good.

That’s good.

Wanna know the secret? It’s all in the filling … apple-rhubarb filling.

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Mother of pearl.

Tart with a hint of sweetness (just a hint) … this modern twist on the classic french apple tart has quickly become my *new* favourite.

Lucky for me – I was able to get my apples while picking up my weekly fruit and veggies in the byward market … and I was gifted a whole bunch of rhubarb from my boss (you gotta love a boss that brings you rhubarb from his garden not once … but twice a season!). It was time to put it to use … and what great use.

I decided to use cortland apples for this because they hold their shape well, and I really wanted the ring of apple slices on top to sit pretty once baked. Plus I enjoy the tartness of cortlands. I will definitely make this again – and likely remember to add a handful of fresh cranberries to the fruit filling as well. And to make it REALLY Canadian … I’ll sprinkle maple sugar instead of regular sugar on top of the apples before baking the tart.

Overall … success. Actually … this was a HUGE success. I strongly recommend you add this to your thanksgiving dessert options. I promise all your friends and family will thank you for it.

apple-rhubarb tart

ingredients:

1 recipe pâte brisée (I opted to use an unsweetened pastry – you can follow my recipe and simply omit the sugar)

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

7 stalks of rhubarb, diced

4-5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 lemon, juice

1/2 c. sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

1/2 c. water

1/4 c. butter, melted

In a medium saucepan, combine the diced apple and rhubarb, the lemon juice, sugar, vanilla bean and water. Cook the filling over medium-high heat, stirring often so that the fruit doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once everything is bubbling – turn the heat down to a simmer (keep uncovered), and allow the fruit to break-down and the liquid to evaporate. This should take all of 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled – remove the vanilla pod from the filling.

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Heat the oven to 375 F.

Roll out the pastry (made at least one hour in advance in order to chill and rest). Flour your work surface and roll out the dough as thinly as possible … ensuring that the pastry circumference is slightly larger than your tart pan. Gently press the dough into the pan, and remove the excess dough that will hang over the edges.

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Once the tart shell is ready … start to fill it with the cooked fruit. I used a small spatula to push the fruit around ensuring that I have an even layer.

Then it’s time to place the apple slices. You want to cover the entire surface: start by placing the slices of apple around the side of the tart, overlapping the pieces so that they fit tightly against one another. Keep adding slices. You might think that it’s overkill … but it’s not. I even went back and added another slice of apple between every other slice … you want it to be a really tight fit.

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Once the entire surface is covered with apple slices, brush with melted butter and sprinkle (generously enough) with sugar. That’s it. Time to bake.

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Bake for about 60 minutes (lower rack of the oven so that the dough bakes through). You’ll know it’s ready when the apples are golden and the filling bubbles slightly under the surface. You’ll know it’s ready … it will smell divine.

When ready … pull it out of the oven … and wait.

I know. How cruel am I? You’re probably thinking … WHY MUST I WAIT?!

Just wait about 10 minutes. You want it to rest a little, allowing the juices to settle. And then … dig in. I bet you don’t stop with just one piece. Seriously … this is delicious.

Ridiculously delicious.

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carob chip – almond butter – quinoa cookies

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You might be wondering … what the heck is going on?!

Am I on the right blog????

A recipe that doesn’t include butter. or sugar. or flour. or chocolate chips.

Instead these cookies are chock full of quinoa. rolled oats. almond butter. carob chips. maple syrup.

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Oh my goodness … what happened to Lynne?????

Well my friends … I decided to get out of my baking comfort-zone. I saw this recipe on my facebook feed and figured … what do I have to lose?

It turns out I gained a brand new favourite healthy cookie recipe.

Mother of pearl. Who would have thunk it!

I’ve already made this recipe twice. Yep. I liked it enough the first time to make it again … only this time I included a few *twists* to the original recipe. Obviously.

I’m going to start off with the major selling feature for me … these are actually the best mid-afternoon snack. I’m not saying these should be your *treat* for the day … HOWEVER … if you find yourself reaching for something cookie-like at around 2 pm to get you through the rest of your work day … look no further.

These cookies have become my afternoon life savers.

And they only require 5 ingredients … actually more like 7 … I added some additional spices to the original recipe.

Have I sold you on the idea of a healthy cookie yet?

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Tip number 1 … when cooking your quinoa … add a vanilla pod and cinnamon stick to the water and quinoa. Any bit of extra flavour helps … especially when you’re baking healthy.

Tip number 2 … flatten these out a little pre-baking. Otherwise the middles get a tad dry. No butter = no added moisture.

Tip number 3 … the carob chips tend to spread and burn faster than I find chocolate chips would. Just keep an eye on the cookies while they bake. You might be able to take them out of the oven closer to 17 minutes rather than the recommended 20 minutes.

Tip number 4 … these cookies could easily be turned into bars. Simply pat down the dough into a square pan and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes.

Now are you ready to give these a try????

blueberry – peach coconut cobbler

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I bet you won’t believe this.

I was a cobbler making virgin.

It’s TRUE!

I’ve made crisps. Heck … who doesn’t love baked fruit covered with a layer of oats, brown sugar and butter????

Crisps are … baked amazingness.  I think I was slightly worried about over-mixing the biscuit topping … resulting in a dry and heavy dessert.

I don’t think I ever realized that cobblers are equally as delightful and mouth-wateringly good.  Holy heck have I been missing out!

I have to thank the globe and mail for the inspiration.  Stephanie Eddy‘s article just make me want to grab a bowl and scoop out a generous portion of her peach blueberry cobbler (as well as “borrow” the page from the café I found it in).

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Am I ever glad that I “borrowed” that article :0)

This cobbler is absolutely … scrumptious.

Mother of pearl it’s got everything I love in a baked dish … warm, roasted fruit and berries.  A biscuit topping … plus I added a splash of (my new favourite thing) Rhubarb Esprit and flaked coconut.

A-MAZ-ING.  And … totally seasonal.  Which means you should make it TODAY! 

And then when you’ve eaten every last bite … you’ll probably want to go out and make another one.  Because there is no such thing as too much of this.

I promise you … this is GOOD.

blueberry – peach coconut cobbler (with a splash of rhubarb esprit)

ingredients:

fruit filling:

3 lbs ripe peaches (about 9), washed and dried and cut into 8 pieces each

2 c. blueberries

1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp rhubarb esprit (or lemon juice)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch or flour

Heat your oven to 375 F.

Place the peach slices and the blueberries into either a rectangular pan (9×13) or a 9inch round pan.  Sprinkle the sugars, rhubarb esprit (or lemon juice), cinnamon, salt and flour or tapioca startch on top.  Carefully stir with a large spoon (or your hands) until the ingredients coat the fruit.  Set aside.

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biscuit topping:

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. cornmeal

1/3 c. sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c. butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. buttermilk

1 1/2 c. blueberries

3/4 c. flaked coconut

In a large bowl, combine your flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt (just mix it around with your fingers).  Toss in your chilled cubes of butter, and, using your hands, squeeze the butter into the dry ingredients.  You end up with a sand-like texture.

Add the vanilla to the buttermilk, then pour it onto the flour mixture.   Use a fork to gently mix until everything just comes together.  Fold in the blueberries and flaked coconut.20120912-212419.jpg

The dough was a little sticky – so just grab a large spoon and scoop large spoonfuls over the filling: you end up with about 9 biscuits.  Bake your cobbler for about 50 minutes – the topping will be golden, and the filling will be bubbling over and it will all smell just ridiculiously delicious.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes.  You want the filling to set slightly.  You can serve this warm … but it’s just as good the following day.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.

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