Endive, Apples, and Grapes {FFwD}

Do you remember when you made Spiced Squash, Fennel, and Pear Soup for French Fridays with Dorie? You can be forgiven if you don’t; it was almost a year ago. It was also the last FFwD recipe that I made before I dropped out of sight.

Well, I”M BAAAAAAACK!!!!

I was going to restart French Fridays in October. In fact, I read through the recipes and have already started buying the ingredients. But when I saw this week’s pick, I decided to jump in a week ahead of schedule.

I love sautéed apples, but I had never had grapes or endive cooked in butter before. OK, truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever had endive at all. But slow cooked with fruit and butter — how bad could it be?

This was a really simple recipe. Other than the fruit, butter, and endive, it contained only rosemary, salt, and pepper, all of which I tucked into a cast iron skillet over low heat.

After 20 minutes, I turned everything over to cook some more.

Another 20 minutes, and it was done.

I put everything on a plate, scraped up the buttery bits in the bottom of the pan, and poured that over the top.

I sprinkled on a little salt and pepper, and tucked into this delightful little dish. The apples and grapes were amazing. (If you’ve never had a grape cooked in butter, you don’t know what you’re missing.)

As far as the endive goes, I enjoyed it with bites of fruit, but it was too bitter to eat just by itself. I think if I were to make this dish again, I’d try to come up with something to use in place of the endive. Having a savory component to the dish is a great idea. But I wish I could think of something less bitter and with a bit more flavor on its own.

In any case, it’s good to be back doing French Fridays again. I’m not going to try to make every recipe — that’s how I got burned out last time. And some of my posts may be short and sweet, been-there-made-that kind of affairs. But at least I’ll be making recipes from Around My French Table again.

And after all that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Apple Tart with Lattice Crust {Bake!}

A small group of us have been working our way through Nick Malgieri’s Bake! at the slow steady pace of a few recipes per month. We took August off to catch up on any recipes we might have missed, or to get ahead on the next section. We started up again in September with Truffle Brownies, a great way to start, if you ask me.

This was the second recipe for September, chosen for us by Kayte. Yes, I said September. I actually made this recipe on time, I just didn’t get around to posting it until now. A month to catch up, and I’m already behind.

This was a fairly straightforward recipe. It’s basically an apple pie baked in a tart shell with a lattice crust.

The lattice topping is brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with sugar.

I had some filling leftover, so I baked it in a gratin dish with the extra crust from the lattice.

 This was a good pie, nothing extraordinary. Probably not one I’ll make again. But then, I have a lot of great apple pie, tart, and cake recipes to choose from.

Squash, Sausage, and Apples {Recipe}

One of my family’s favorite dishes, and one that frequently appears on our table this time of year, is some combination of squash, sausage, and apples. It can be acorn, butternut, carnival, or any other kind of winter squash. I use smoked turkey sausage, but, again, you can use any kind you like. As for apples, I often use Granny Smith, but I’ll choose Honeycrisp whenever they are in season.

And just as the ingredients vary from time to time, there are several different ways that I make this dish. Sometimes I peel and cube the squash, parboil it, and then sauté it with the apples and sausage for a quick stovetop, one pan meal.

Tonight, however, I made the squash the way my mom always fixed it: baked and stuffed. I began by baking acorn squash halves, cut side down, in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes.

While the squash was baking, I peeled, cored, and chopped three Honeycrisp apples and cut the sausage on the diagonal. I sautéed the sausage and apples in butter with brown sugar and a bit of nutmeg.

I cooked the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the apples had softened and given up some of their liquid and the sausage had begun to color.

I put a pat of butter in each squash half, then spooned in the apple mixture and topped it with a few grinds of nutmeg and more brown sugar. (Note: I wouldn’t recommend the brown sugar on top. It’s not necessary, as the mixture is plenty sweet, and it tends to burn rather than melt.)

I returned the squash to the oven and cooked it for 25 minutes, until the squash was tender and the apples and sausage had cooked through.

This is a complete meal, which can be served directly in the squash halves or scooped out into a bowl. But don’t count on leftovers — we all polished off our squash halves. Even the extra squash and apples from the pan were gone by the time we were done.

This dish, in one form or another, will make several appearances on our table before the season is over. If you try it, I’m sure it will start showing up on your table, too.

Sour Cream Apple Pie {ModBak}

This recipe, the last of three apple pie recipes in the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker, is the only one that really seems like pie. The other two — Breton apple pie and Maida’s Big Apple Pie — are more of a cake and tart, respectively. Each one is delicious in its own right, but none, including this one, reminds me of a classic apple pie. When I think of apple pie, I picture a double-crusted pie (although I don’t have anything against crumb topping, either) with a filling made of apples, sugar, cinnamon, butter, maybe a splash of lemon juice, and not much else.

The twist in this recipe is the addition of sour cream, which makes a custard-style pie. To make the pie, I began by cooking down some apples in butter and sugar. While the apples were cooking, I whisked together flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Then I made the crumb topping, which consisted of flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and butter. Finally, I rolled out and panned a single crust sweet pie dough.

Once the apples had cooled, I combined them with the sour cream custard mixture.

As soon as I put the filling into the pie, I knew I had a bit too much. Fortunately, I had placed the pie pan on a parchment-lined jelly roll pan, so it caught the overflow.

After topping the pie with the crumbs, I baked it at 350°F for about 55 minutes, until the filling was set and the topping nicely browned.

I cooled the pie (more or less), then sliced and served it for a late-evening snack.

The recipe says that the pie needs no accompaniment, and it was certainly good on its own.

Don’t tell Nick, but it was also awesome with ice cream and whipped cream!

Maida’s Big Apple Pie {ModBak}

This is the second of three apple pie recipes in the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker. The first one, Breton apple pie, is based on a French cake recipe and actually reminded me more of cake than pie. The third recipe, sour cream apple pie, is a classic crumb-topped apple pie, albeit with a sour cream twist.

This recipe to me is less like a pie than an apple tart. In fact, it is very similar to the rustic apple tart I made last Fall using a mix from Fowler’s Mill.

As large and impressive as this tart is, it’s really simple to assemble. Other than the sweet dough, there are only five ingredients: apples, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

I began by cooking the apples — a mixture of Granny Smith and golden delicious — in butter with the sugars and cinnamon.

As the mixture cooked, the softer golden delicious apples began to break down, while the firmer Granny Smith ones held together. This would provide contrasts of both texture and flavor to the tart.

While the apple mixture cooked, I rolled out the dough. The recipe calls for a double recipe of sweet tart dough, rolled out to a 16-inch circle, which is then draped over a large pizza pan.

Once the apples had cooled, I spread them over the filling, then folded in the edges, leaving the center open

I brushed the edges of the tart with egg wash, and sprinkled with finishing sugar. I baked the tart at 375°F for about 40 minutes, until the crust was golden and the filling bubbly.

I let the tart cool, then cut and served it for dessert. It was sweet, spicy, flavorful, and the mix of apples gave it a subtle complexity. The tart was delicious on its own. But of course, a little ice cream wasn’t amiss, either.

I thought about cutting this recipe in half, as I knew it would be absolutely huge. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t, since part of what made this tart so impressive was its sheer size.

And regardless of how big it was, none of it went to waste.

Long and Slow Apples {AMFT}

I love Autumn. I love the changing leaves, the cooling temperatures, the golden light in the late afternoon. But above all, I love the food. Squash, pumpkin, pears, grapes, root vegetables, and, most of all, apples. I love apples, both for eating out of hand and for cooking and baking.

Of course, in this day and age, you can get apples year ’round. But in the Fall, we have access to a greater variety of apples, locally grown and fresh from the trees. Throughout Autumn, you will always find apples in my house, and at any given time, I have four to six varieties to choose from.

Having recently made Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake for French Fridays with Dorie and a rustic apple tart, I hadn’t yet had my fill of apple dishes. When I got my copy of Around My French Table, one of the first recipes that caught my eye was this recipe for long and slow apples. I thought it might show up as one of our October or November FFwD recipes, and when it didn’t, I knew I had to make this dish anyway.

This is a simple dish in which time and gentle heat do most of the work. I made the apples in buttered ramekins by layering thinly sliced apples with melted butter, spiced sugar, and grated orange zest.

I wrapped the ramekins in plastic wrap (which Dorie assures us will not melt) and covered the plastic wrap with foil.

After poking through the foil and plastic wrap several times, I put custard cups filled with pie weights on top of the dishes.

I baked the apples at 300°F for two hours. The whole house smelled like Fall while the apples baked, and I couldn’t wait to try them.

As an aside, when I peeled the foil and plastic wrap off the ramekins, the plastic wrap fell apart, and some of it stuck on top of the apples. I took great care to pick it off, but I think when I make these again, I won’t use plastic wrap. Perhaps a disk of parchment would work better.

I let the apples cool and served them, still slightly warm, with fresh whipped cream. Everyone in my family loves apples like I do, and we all enjoyed this dish immensely. It reminded me of other baked apples I have tasted, but the thin slices of apple changed the texture a bit, putting me in mind of applesauce, but with a bit of tooth.

This was another delicious and easy recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s new book. If you have an interest in French cuisine, or just want to expand your culinary horizons with a great book chock full of amazing recipes, you won’t be disappointed if you add Around My French Table to your cookshelf.

Fowler’s Mill Rustic Apple Tart

The Folwer’s Mill has operated in Chardon, Ohio, for 176 years, and a few weeks ago I finally got there. We were on our annual pilgrimage to Patterson Fruit Farm, and I decided to take a small detour to Fowler’s Mill.

As you would expect, the mill store carries a variety of fresh grains, processed in the mill’s stone grinders. But what Fowler’s Mill is known for is its baking mixes, including pancake, muffin, cookie, apple cake, apple crisp, shortcake, and cobbler mixes. So, in addition to bread, cake, and oat flours, I had to try a few baking mixes. Since we had just been to Patterson’s, where we loaded up on fresh apples, I chose Apple Crumb Pie Mix and Rustic Apple Tart Mix.

I had never made a rustic tart before, so I decided to try that baking mix first. A rustic tart is similar to other tarts or pies in that it consists of a crust and some kind of fruit filling. What distinguishes it from other recipes is that the dough, rather than being pressed into a pie or tart pan, is folded partway around the filling.

After making the dough,which consisted of the mix, butter, and cold water, I cut up the apples and mixed them with sugar and cinnamon.

I rolled out the crust, draped it over a ceramic pie plate that I had also purchased at Fowler’s, and added the apple filling. Then I folded the edges of the crust over the filling, leaving the center uncovered. I brushed the crust with egg wash and sprinkled it with finishing sugar.

It baked up golden and gooey, and smelled delicious.

I really liked the rustic look of the tart and the way the apples had begun to caramelize.

This is a wonderfully homey dish that I would happily serve at the end of a kitchen supper. Not at all pretentious, perfectly comforting, and delicious.

It’s a bit of a drive to get to Fowler’s Mill, but they sell online and ship to the Continental US. I probably won’t get there too often. But a stop at the mill will definitely be included in our annual Patterson trip from now on.

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake {FFwD}

The final recipe chosen by Dorie Greenspan for the premiere month of French Fridays with Dorie is, appropriately enough, a Fall dessert. This recipe, as with all of the FFwD recipes, comes from Dorie’s newest book, Around My French Table. Having just made our annual autumn pilgrimage to Patterson Fruit Farm, I was flush with apples, so Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake came at a perfect time. Dorie recommends using apples divers, that is different kinds of apples. I had four varieties — Jonathan, Jonagold, Macoun, and Granny Smith — and I used them all.

This recipe sounded so good that I decided to make a double batch so I would have an extra cake to take to work. I prepared the pans, got out my ingredients, and set to work.

After mixing the dry ingredients — flour, baking powder, and salt — I whisked together eggs, sugar, rum, and vanilla. I stirred half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, added four tablespoons of melted butter, mixed in the rest of the flour, then four more tablespoons of butter.

Finally I folded in the chopped apples.

As you can see, the mixture is more apple than cake. There was just enough batter to hold the apples together.

I baked the cakes at 350°F for 55 minutes, until they were golden brown and set.

I turned the cakes out of the pans and let them cool a bit. We ate the cake while it was still warm with whipped cream.

To say this cake was delicious would be an understatement. It had an amazing depth of flavor, from both the apples divers and the dark rum. If you don’t believe me, ask my friends at work. They never got a chance to try it. One cake just was’t enough for us at home.