Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Breakfast, Lunch and Tea

Hot out of the oven

Last week I made an Apple and Almond Torte.  The recipe is from the book Breakfast, Lunch and Tea – The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery.  This book has become one of my favorites, not only because of the beautiful photography, but also the recipes are hard to beat too.  Rose Bakery is located in Paris and wandering through this book is a little like taking a mini vacation for me.  The funniest part is that I've never actually been to the bakery in person, but everything about the beautifully photographed, unpretentious presentation and wonderful food reminds me of that wonderful city.

This recipe was pretty straightforward and the end result was really good.  The final product wasn't sweet in the American dessert sweet style, more mildly sweet like most European pastries - so keep that in mind if you want to try it.  

I substituted whole wheat flour for white flour and don't know if I would do that again.  Maybe I would only sub half of what the recipe calls for.  And I squeezed the heck out of the grated apples, in anticipation of them making the end result to runny, or the crust soggy; but I found that I might have been a little too overzealous in that regard.  Mine was a little on the dry side... but nothing that a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream couldn't help. And lastly, I used this long rectangular tart pan as it was the biggest one I have, and I think it could have used an even larger pan... the crust to filling ratio was a little off.  

Anyway, here is the recipe; courtesy of Breakfast, Lunch and Tea.


Apple, Nut and Spice Torte
Serves 8

1 lb. 2 oz sweet pastry for the top and 1 uncooked Sweet Tart Case (see below)
all purpose flour for dusting
10 apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup of superfine sugar
grated zest of one lemon
1 cup roughly chopped almonds
scant 1/2 cup of ground almonds
1 handful of golden raisins (optional)
1 egg beaten 
Roll out the pastry for the top on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch and the diameter of the tin being used.  Chill this and the tart case in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grate the apples into a bowl (skin included if you wish). Squeeze the extra juice out to make the apples as dry as possible.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar to the apples
Stir in the lemon zest and the chopped and ground almonds. You can also stir in the raisins, if you are u sing them.
Brush the base and sides of the uncooked tart case with beaten egg, particularly the edges to make sure that the top is well sealed.
Spoon the apple mixture into the case, making sure it is raised and fills the case as the apples will shrink upon baking.
Carefully life up the pastry for the top with a rolling pin and place it over the filling. Seal the edges well and cut a little hole in the middle to let out the steam.
Glaze the top with beaten egg and bake the torte for about 1hour or until the pastry is golden brown and well cooked.
Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.

Sweet Pastry and Sweet Tart Case
Makes enough for two tart cases

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
generous 2/3 cup of superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter (10 minutes out of the fridge)
pinch of salt
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
If you are using a food processor, process the flour, sugar, butter and salt for about 10-12 seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then put the mixture in a bowl. Otherwise, put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and cut the butter into pieces and work it into the flour with your fingertips.
Now make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mixture and add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Stir with a fork to incorporate the flour evenly until you have to begin using your hand.
Using one hand only, bring the dry and wet ingredients together.
Dust your work surface with flour and then remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on the floured surface for a few minutes until it is smooth and homogeneous.
It is now ready to be rolled out. 
Sweet Tart Case 
Divide the dough in half and work on a well floured surface one half at a time. Once it is rolled to a smooth 1/4 inch thick, lift it with the rolling pin and place it gently into the tart tin.  (For the tart above, refrigerate for 30 minutes.) For other recipes it could be blind baked at this point. For the case, roll the other half out in the same manner and refrigerate until you are ready to seal the tart closed.

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