Mealy apples… blegh. Few things are more disappointing than biting into an apple expecting a crisp, juicy mouthful only to find you got a sandy, tasteless one. Even though I try very hard to pick good apples by smelling them and tapping to check for hollowness, they can’t all be perfect. If there’s an element that redeems even the saddest apple, it is heat. Instead of tossing mealy ones out, baking them until they are thoroughly warm turns inedible fruit into a comforting treat. I bought earlier this week three Gala apples and struck out – that is, until I baked the bonne idée for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie selected recipe, Apple Tartes Fines. These little tarts were so easy to pull off, it almost feels like cheating.
Essentially a ‘non-recipe’, the apple tartes fines are made with puff pastry, apples, an egg wash, and sugar. That’s it. I rolled the puff pastry until it was somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/8″, cut out the dough with one of my mini-tart molds, and pricked the pastry to prevent it from over-inflating. The apples are peeled, cored, and thinly sliced, and after they are artfully arranged on top of the pastry (seriously – the hardest part for me), brushed with an egg wash and dusted with sugar. Even though Dorie suggests baking these for 30 minutes, they looked perfectly golden brown by the 20 minute mark. The buttery puff pastry offsets the apples perfectly, especially when enjoyed hot off the oven.
Since it’s my first FFwD post in a while, I decided to play catch up. Last week’s hummus was an easy choice – I had everything on hand! I normally eyeball most ingredients when making hummus and end up tasting and adjusting. I followed the recipe almost faithfully – down to the four tablespoons of chickpea liquid – and enjoyed the results very much. To punch up the lemony accent, I added the zest of half a lemon to the rest of the suggested ingredients. The sprinkle of paprika makes it look just like the one we order from our favorite Turkish restaurant.
I did come up with a nifty trick to deal with a very separated jar of tahini – the immersion blender! I hadn’t used the tahini in a very long time and elbow grease wouldn’t be enough to incorporate the separated oil with the sesame paste stuck in the bottom.
Because hummus does not make a complete meal, I also made the eggplant tartines. I wish I had cut out thicker slices of eggplant – you can barely see it in the pictures! I did not have all of the ingredients on hand for the caponata, so I swapped the cherry tomatoes for a diced fresh one, the green olives for black, and omitted the cucumber. This vinegary relish complemented the sweet, almost charred eggplant perfectly. The heat averse should cut back but not completely skip the red pepper flakes.
Feels good to be back! I have updated my catch-up tally post to include the recipes I missed during the last three months. I already have three more in the back burner that I look forward sharing with you.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where we work our way through Dorie Greenspan’s award-winning cookbook Around My French Table, taking on one recipe every week.