Simple Apple and Almond Tart

I convinced the hubs to go apple picking recently. We headed out to the Jones Orchard with an apple picker and a bucket and got to work. Well, first we got lost at the orchard. We ended up driving around the country grass trails, through the pear and peach trees that were withering away until next year’s harvest. It was a day full of happy accidents – first we stumbled upon a seemingly never-ending cotton field, and then we were immersed in a forest of majestic fruit trees. We spent the morning trying to find the best and biggest apples, which of course were at the very top or middle of the trees. And after managing to knock them down, they would fall on the ground, forcing us to play a fun game of “Wait, which one was it?” amongst the many apples on the ground.

apple picking jones orchard tennesseeapple picking jones orchard tennesseeIMG_6274

I had never used store bought puff pastry before this recipe, to be honest. I always think that if something is going to be good that it has to be home made. I have made puff pastry more times than I can count and I am just not great at it, now matter how hard I try. I can’t ever get the layers to be crunchy and perfect, exactly like a store bought croissant. After using frozen puff pastry, I don’t think I’ll ever try making it myself again. It was so delicious and flaky and so EASY! I also absolutely love almond paste croissants and tarts, so I wanted to try making the almond paste filling. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how the almond, apple, honey combination was going to taste. Spoiler alert: it was even better than I expected.

6174617936_IMG_1205simple almond puff pastry apple tart6174617936_IMG_1207simple apple almond tart with puff pastrysimple apple almond tart with puff pastrysimple almond puff pastry apple tart

Simple Apple and Almond Tart

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets (1 box) of frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
  • 3-4 apples of choice
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 egg beaten and halved (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 4 ounces almond paste
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarse sugar
  • Slivered almonds and honey, if desired

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Core apples and cut into thin slices, and toss into a bowl. Add brown sugar, dash of salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice and toss to combine. Set aside
  • Set pastry on a large working surface and dust lightly with flour. Pinch the two ends together of the two sheets and roll lightly with a rolling pin to combine. Roll the entire large sheet of pastry lightly, flattening out the creases. Fold up the ends all around and press with a fork.
  • My pastry was getting a little soft at this point so I put it in the fridge for a few minutes while making the almond paste mixture. Beat an egg into a small bowl or ramekin and set aside. In mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the almond paste, sugar, and flour. Add in half of the beaten egg (save the rest for your egg wash) and the other egg (for a total of 1 1/2 eggs). Add in softened butter and vanilla and beat until there are no lumps.
  • Take pastry out of refrigerator. Add 1 teaspoon of milk to your half egg mixture to form an egg wash. Brush a thin over the entire pastry. Spread almond mixture over center of pastry (staying inside of folded edges).
  • Arrange apples on center of pastry, overlapping the edges. Sprinkle with course sugar and slivered almonds (if using).
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Top with honey (if desired) and enjoy!
  • simple apple almond tart apple picking jones orchard tennessee puff pastry

Mother of Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl

AKA the “Stormborn, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Protector of the Realm, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, Princess of Dragonstone” Smoothie bowl.

But really. If you’re not currently watching Game of Thrones, you need to stop what you are doing right now and immediately binge watch all 6 1/2 seasons. I’m going to try to avoid any spoilers but I am still in shock from the most recent episode. The dragons! And the fire! Wow. What girl doesn’t want to be Khaleesi when she grows up?

Scroll down for the smoothie bowl inspired by the Mother of Dragons herself.

dragonfruit-5.jpg

I had honestly never had fresh dragon fruit before but I picked these babies up from the Vietnamese food market and they did not disappoint! The texture is similar to a kiwi but not quite as sweet. They are either pink or white on the inside so buying them and cutting into them is like opening a present – what’s inside is always a surprise!

This has to be my favorite smoothie bowl to date. The creaminess of the coconut milk adds an extra layer that put this healthy lunch over the top! Plus there’s no dairy so it is completely vegan. Although I eat meat and dairy products, I find myself making a lot of vegan desserts and meals. It can’t hurt to at least minimize consumption of animal products – and in some cases I prefer the result to the butter and egg filled version!

dragonfruit-4.jpg

Mother of Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • handful of frozen mangoes
  • handful of frozen raspberries
  • handful of frozen or fresh strawberries
  • roughly 1/3 cup chopped dragon fruit or pitaya
  • toppings: strawberries, dragon fruit, mangoes, coconut chips, almonds, blueberries

Instructions:

  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Add toppings and enjoy.

 

dragonfruit-2 edit.jpg