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.

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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.

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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!
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Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

It’s been almost 8 weeks since I started my blog. It has been so fulfilling for me to share all of my ideas and culinary creations with you! So much of my inspiration comes from the amazing images that my camera is able to create.  I never realized how much I would love my camera. I wish I had bought an amazing camera years ago! I spent months and months researching, trying to pick the best one, and I am so happy with the one I bought! This smoothie bowl is inspired by the beautiful sunflower field that was my first post on my blog.

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Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 apple of choice
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 small container of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon blue spirulina
  • Mango, almonds, etc for topping

Instructions:

Blend ingredients together and top with toppings if desired. Enjoy!

 

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Mini Apple Galettes With Bourbon Caramel Sauce

I’m now obsessed with making galettes. They are the easiest dessert I’ve ever made! They can also be sweet or savory with any fillings that you have on hand. It’s been really rainy in the south and this dessert will definitely cheer you up on a rainy day.

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Mini Apple Galettes with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

For the crust (Adapted from Williams Sonoma Pie Crust)

  • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Morena sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • egg white
  • Turbinado sugar

For the apples:

  • 2 ripe apples (I used honey crisp), cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch

For the caramel sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • up to 1 tablespoon good Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup milk (the milk makes this more saucey, but if you want thicker caramel, then substitute with half and half)
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Add all purpose flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing in between until mixture starts to come together. Be sure not to add too much water, as the dough will be sticky. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and corn starch. Toss to combine and set aside for 1-2 hours.
  3. Heat the butter, brown sugar, and milk (or half and half) together in a pan, stirring regularly. Heat for 5-10 minutes until thickened. Add Bourbon and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Take off stove and add salt and vanilla.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove crust dough from saran wrap and place on an even surface lightly coated with flour. Cut dough in half, and then cut each half into thirds, until you have 6 even sections of pie dough. Roll each on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. You can put the dough back in the fridge after rolling it out to firm it up again for a few minutes.
  5. Divide apple mixture evenly between the 6 rounds of rolled pie dough. Take care to only use the fruit and leave as much juice behind, as this will seep through the bottom pie crust. Brush crust with egg white and sprinkle Turbinado sugar.
  6. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Serve with caramel sauce.

 

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Superfood Matcha Smoothie Bowl

Anyone else’s succulent party favor from our wedding still alive? We have three left: two are thriving and one is holding on for dear life. Every time I look at these cute little cacti, it brings me back to two years (how has it been TWO YEARS?) ago to our wonderful wedding. Here’s a picture of those little guys (oh how they have grown) exquisitely captured by Esther Nail. 🙂

I’ve made a variation of this smoothie several times, alternating ingredients for what I have in the house. The components include a mixture of green veggies and various fruit. My main problem with traditional superfood or green smoothies has always been that they either taste like I’m drinking a liquified salad or they are so full of sugar that I think I’m cancelling out any benefit I’m getting from the healthy ingredients. Something about adding the matcha masks some of the earthiness of the green veggies. Plus, then you feel like you’re indulging in a matcha iced latte while still getting a healthy dose of nutrients and antioxidants.

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Superfood Matcha Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

  • Handful of green leafy veggies (I used a mixture of kale and spinach)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/2 green apple
  • Another fruit: 1/3-1/2 cup frozen peaches, blueberries, raspberries, etc., depending on desired level of sweetness (can omit altogether if desired)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Toppings as desired: cut apples, almonds, coconut chips, etc.

Directions:

  • Blend ingredients together in a blender, Vitamix, or Magic Bullet until blended. Add toppings and enjoy!