Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tarte Aux Pommes


Lest all of you think that I skipped out of town with my extra copy of the Thinkfood cookbook, I think it is high time I announced the winner. Thank you all for the beautiful stories you shared in the comments section on the last post. I love hearing about other people's food memories.

I used a random number generator to select a number between 1 and 25 (I know this is a cop out, but there were just too many good stories and I was having a really hard time choosing just one). The web site selected number seven, so, Saint Tigerlily, you are the winner! I will get in touch with you to arrange delivery of the cookbook.

In the meantime, as fall is most certainly upon us here in New York City, I think it is time to get down to some apple business. My friend Tanitra, FCI classmate and fellow food blogger, brought me a bag of apples from her recent apple picking outing to Mead Orchards. They are delicious, juicy and just the right balance of sweet and tart. I am using some of them this afternoon to make the Apple Vinaigrette from Phil and Lauren Rubin's new book, The Comfort of Apples. I will be sure and share that vinaigrette and the resulting salad with you shortly, but first I want to get to the apple tart that we are now making nightly in level 3 at The French Culinary Institute.

Get all ideas of apple pie out of your head before you make this tart. There is not a lot of sugar in this filling. If you are looking for a sweet, syrupy interior, stick with your favorite apple pie recipe. However, if you love recipes that let the natural flavor of ingredients shine, definitely give this a go. The tartness of the apples really comes through in the final product.

Tarte Aux Pommes

4 large Granny Smith apples
2 T water
4 T sugar
2 Golden Delicious apples
4 T butter, melted
1/4 cup apricot jam
2 T water, more as needed to thin the jam
Lemon juice as needed
1 recipe of your favorite tart or pie dough

Preheat oven to 400°
Roll out your dough and fit it to an 8" tart shell and place it back in the fridge to rest. If you have just made your tart dough, be sure and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour before rolling it out.

Peel the granny smith apples and roughly chop them. Add them to a saucepan with two tablespoons of water and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Loosely cover and cook until the apples start to break down. You want the mixture to be approaching applesauce consistency, but with some remaining apples chunks. Set aside to cool.

Peel and core the golden delicious apples. Cut them in half vertically. Cut each half into very thin slices, no more than 1/8". These slices will be used to decorate the top of the tart. If you are not decorating the tart right away, toss the slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.

Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator and fill it with the cooled apple filling. The filling should come about 3/4 of the way up the tart shell. Arrange the thin apple slices in two concentric circles. No filling should show through the topping. Place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and continue cooking for an additional 50 minutes.

Combine the apricot jam and two tablespoons of water in a small pan. Heat gently to thin out the jam. Use a pastry brush to glaze the tart with the jam. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thinkfood Cookbook Giveaway

This past summer I was asked to contribute a recipe to the Thinkfood Cookbook published by Posit Science. I was thrilled to be invited to participate and had so much fun working on the project. One of the highlights of the whole experience was hearing from a Posit Science contact that while out at a dinner in the Bay Area, she was discussing the cookbook with her dinner companions when she was interrupted by someone at the table next to her. The woman wanted to tell her that she had heard about the Thinkfood cookbook from a blog she reads, Apples and Butter (I would love to know who you are if you are still a reader!). So many great things have happened as a result of this project, but I do not think anything could match the thrill of seeing the published cookbook for the first time a few weeks ago.

It is a beautiful book, filled with delicious and brain-healthy recipes. I would tell all of you to head over to the Posit Science site to order your copy today (which you should all do), but I am more excited to tell you that I have one copy to give away here today.

I created the recipe included in Thinkfood for my boyfriend. I was trying to satisfy a craving for a dish he had enjoyed many times in England with his father when he was growing up. We could not find proper lamb kofta in Los Angeles so I came up with this recipe to appease him until we made our next trip to London with his family.

Have you ever had to recreate a dish at home for someone you love, in an attempt to satisfy their food craving? Were you successful? Tell me about your story in the comment section and one reader will receive a copy of the Thinkfood book, lovingly shipped by yours truly. Bonus points if you are willing to share your recipe so we can try it out on Apples and Butter!

In the meantime, the original recipe for lamb kofta can be found on the Thinkfood cookbook page. If you stopped by today as a result of the Posit Science newsletter, thank you for visiting and please leave a comment with your recipe story so you can have a chance at winning the cookbook!