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Brown Butter Apple Tart with An Emphasis on BUTTER

Wednesday, 30. January 2013 5:25

The apples are a supporting player in this tart. It's the butter that's the star.

Pretty rounds of apples arrayed all over the top of this tart catch your eye first.

So much so, you’d think they’d be the star of this dessert.

But that’s not the case.

The real hero of this tart is butter.

Browned until it’s nutty and oh-so fragrant.

I’m almost afraid to tell you how much butter there is. I know my family members almost fell over when I told them as I served them slices.

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (8) | Author:

Get Your Mixing Bowls Ready: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Wednesday, 23. January 2013 5:25

Moist apple pumpkin muffins crowned with a walnut half.

There are muffins these days that could double as dessert.

You know the ones I mean — the ones we all fall for because they’re covered in irresistible streusel or sugary glaze that we con ourselves into thinking are still perfect breakfast food.

These are not those kinds of muffins.

“Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins” are not overly sweet, especially because I was forced to cut the light brown sugar amount in half when I realized my box was nearly depleted and I was too lazy to run to the store. (Hey, what can I say?) But you can use the full 1/2 cup measure of brown sugar plus 1/2 cup granulated and they’d still be far from sugar bombs.

Pinata apples from Washington State.

The recipe is from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” (W.W. Norton & Company) by Amy Traverso. The book, of which I received a review copy, has become my go-to source for apple recipes, what with its range from savory apple uses (“Duck Panzanella with Apples and Thyme” to sweet ones (“Rustic Apple Brown Betty”).

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Category:Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (11) | Author:

A Load of Lemons, Part I: Meyer Lemon Cake

Monday, 14. January 2013 5:25

More than a pound of lemons goes into this cake, along with almonds and candied ginger.

That’s what my backyard tree gifted me this winter: a load of Meyer lemons.

After last season’s dismal crop that netted me barely enough lemons to make a couple quarts of lemonade, I was overjoyed to see the bumper harvest this year from my one little dwarf tree.

When life gives you a load of lemons, you just have to use them, of course. In everything you can think of — and then some.

So, I couldn’t have been happier to spy this recipe for “Meyer Lemon Cake” in the new “The Sunset Essential Western Cookbook” (Oxmoor House), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook, by the editors of Sunset magazine, features more than 150 recipes that are so very Californian in spirit — everything from “Hangtown Fry” to “Char Siu-Glazed Pork and Pineapple Buns” to “Tagliatelle with Nettle and Pine Nut Sauce” to homemade fortune cookies.

This quite citrusy cake uses more than a pound of lemons. Most of them are pulverized — rind, pulp and all — to go into the cake batter, which contains no butter. Instead, ground almonds give it richness, along with five large eggs.

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Category:Fruit, General, Ginger, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (20) | Author:

Apple Brownies? You Bet!

Wednesday, 26. December 2012 5:25

Not your usual brownies. These are made with apples.

OK, technically, “Apple Brownies” are not brownies at all.

For one thing, there’s no chocolate in them.

But there are plenty of apples in a tender crumb that is suffused with cinnamon.

Plus, just like the best brownies, these bake up with an irresistible crackly texture on top. So much so, that just like brownies, you will be grabbing for the corner pieces first just to get as much of the sugary, crisp edges as you can.

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Category:Favorite Cookie Recipes, Fruit, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (15) | Author:

Bouchon Bakery’s Incomparable Blueberry Muffins

Wednesday, 28. November 2012 5:25

Just try to resist these perfect blueberry muffins.

Imagine a muffin that’s moist through and through, tender and fluffy rather than dense, filled with plump blueberries, and crowned with a majestic halo of crunchy, nutty streusel.

Leave it to one of the world’s best chefs, Thomas Keller, to elevate the humble blueberry muffin to a work of art.

I’ve had these many a time at his Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.

But with the publication of his “Bouchon Bakery” (Artisan) with his Executive Pastry Chef Sebastien Rouxel of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, I can now make them happily at home. The cookbook, of which I recently received a review copy, includes 150 recipes for pastries and breads. Some like the Pear Feuilletes, made with homemade puff pastry, are geared to the more skilled baker. But there are plenty of others such as the Chocolate Chunk and Chip Cookies that novice bakers will embrace.

The “Blueberry Muffins” are quite simple, too. Keller writes in the book that the key to a great muffin is resting the batter overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the flour to absorb all the liquid, resulting in a very moist muffin. Plus if you make it the day before, it’s all set to go for baking in the morning. What a way to wake up.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, General, Great Finds, Recipes (Sweet), Thomas Keller/French Laundry/Et Al | Comments (17) | Author: