Wednesday, August 19, 2009

a rustic, free-form success

I've never really been good at pie crusts. I've always left that to my mom and my grandmothers. I think it's a truth universally acknowledged that no one makes pie like your mom or grandmas made it. Other pies just don't compete. It's true.

Now that I have access to a food processor courtesy of Mark, I decided to challenge myself to make tartlets. (This was partially due to my residual high from watching Julie & Julia and feeling like I could best any culinary challenge, I admit.) I wanted something fruity and somewhat nostalgic, and rustic free-form apple tartlets from a Cooks Illustrated recipe were the ticket.

As a side note, if you haven't watched America's Test Kitchen on PBS, you should. And if you aren't familiar with Cooks Illustrated, their periodical cookbook, you need to make each other's acquaintance. For my 26th birthday, my gramma T gave me one of their annual cookbooks. She got me hooked. The recipes are amazing and are informative and seem somehow to leap off the page.

Back to the story. Let's start with Sir Sous Chef and his ingredients (as well as my less than stellar food photography. I think I'm more about practicality than artistry here.)

Pulse cubes of cold butter and cream cheese....

with your dry ingredients in a food processor.

I am a total nerd. I love watching ingredients pulse in a food processor.

Pulse it til it becomes pebbly. I made that word up.

Add some liquid ingredients, like very cold water. My mom always told me that the water has to be super cold. She was right. Get it moist enough to be able to shape it into a ball.

I forgot to snap a shot of the dough in a giant patty. I cut the patty into wedges and refrigerated them for about a half hour. In the meantime, Mark used the food processor to chop apples. (It was almost as exciting as pulsing the dry ingredients.)

With some sugar and cinnamon...

I rolled each wedge of dough out into a rough circle and then made a circular layer of apples inside. After folding the edges up and pushing the edges , I got them on parchment paper and a cookie sheet.

After they bake for 15 minutes, you egg wash them and add more sugar to the apples. "More sugar" is another phrase I like to hear.

Bake until golden brown and of course, top it with vanilla ice cream. They were delicious and I was able to declare my food processor pie crust a success.

A rustic, free-form success.


Fahrenheit 350° said...

Those look fabulous! Good job! I'm a bit embarrassed, but I haven't seen Julia and Julia yet; though I've heard great things about it, and I desperately want to! And though I haven't seen it, it's already inspired me to try something I've been too terrified to try: Macaroons! I think I need to see the movie first!

Amber said...

Um, yes. I also love to hear the words "more sugar". And I also have to add that these tasted delicious :-D

Emily said...

Your tarts remind me of many yummy things including Barb's apple crisp, pie crust cookies and "everything apple," compliments of Grandma Taylor. As a consumer of many of your creations, it is my professional opinion that your baked goods are made with passion, love and skill. I promise that your brother-in-law likes to see you for more reasons than just to ask, "Is there any cake around?"

Marsha said...

Mmmm, now that's what I'm talking about. I love apple desserts. Can you make those in Virginia?? I have a very small food processor.

Can't wait to see you again. I'll actually be tailgating at PNC park this weekend for the Steelers Bills game.