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Deliciously Organic: July 2009

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apple-Caramel Tartlets

I'll let you in on a little secret about me: I love anything with apples and caramel, and I simply cannot resist a tartlet. So, the other day when I was thumbing through the May issue of Bon Appetit and saw "Caramel-Apple Tartlets with Cinnamon-Rum Ice Cream" I knew that I just had to try this recipe. I got out my "cookbook" (that happens to be in a white binder, but someday I hope to have in print!) and pulled out my crust recipe, changed several of the ingredients in the Bon Appetit recipe, and ended up with a delicious dessert. The crust is buttery and flaky and the caramel apples have just the right amount of sweet and salty contrast that I love.

This recipe is a bit more labor intensive then others I have posted, but you will be so glad you went through the effort. The caramel sauce and crumb topping can be made the day ahead if you would like to split up the work. You can always serve this with ice cream, but if you don't have that on hand, softly whipped cream does the job nicely.
Here are some tips on baking with whole wheat flour: Freshly ground whole wheat flour weighs less than white bagged flour. To be exact, one cup of whole wheat flour weighs 4oz. while a cup of white flour weighs 6oz. So, when you are converting a recipe (that uses white flour) you always need to add a bit more whole wheat flour to make up for the difference. My rule of thumb is that when a recipe calls for 1 cup of white flour I will use 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour (the weight isn't exactly 6oz. but I have found that adding to much flour ruins the integrity of the recipe).

Caramel-Apple Tartlets
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2009
Makes 6 tartlets

1 1/2 cups fresh, whole wheat flour*
1/4 cup rapadura or sucanat**
1/2 cup unsalted butter
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons ice water

Caramel sauce:
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup rapadura or sucanat
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Crumb topping:
7 tablespoons fresh whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons rapadura or sucanat
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup pecans
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup rapadura or sucanat
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds apples (granny smith, gala or braeburn), peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For crust: Place flour and rapadura in bowl of food processor and pulse twice to combine. Add butter and then pulse, about 15-17 times until dough starts to come together. If needed, add a tablespoon of two of ice water to bind the dough. Gather the dough into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in freezer for about 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and press each dough ball into bottom and up the sides of a 4 1/2-inch-diameter tartlet pan with removable bottom. Pierce the crust all over with a fork (about 5-7 times). Repeat with remaining dough and then freeze tartlets for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 and bake crusts until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool crusts in pans on wire rack.

For caramel sauce: Combine rapadura and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low until rapadura dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil for 2-3 minutes, occasionally swirling pan. Remove pan from heat and add cream, butter and salt. Stir until completely dissolved. Set aside. (can be made a day ahead and kept in refrigerator. Rewarm over low heat until pourable before using).

Crumb topping: Blend flour, rapadura and salt in food processor. Add pecans and pulse, about 4-5 times until coarsely chopped. Add butter and pulse until moist clumps for (about 8 times).

Filling: Stir together flour and arrowroot in a small bowl. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples and saute 10 minutes, until almost tender. Add rapadura mixture and stir until dissolved, then add vanilla and cinnamon. Simmer until the juices are bubbling and slightly thickened. Remove from heat.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 375. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce into each tartlet crust. Divide apple filling among crusts then sprinkle crumb topping evenly over each. Bake until apple filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown, 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and then loosen tartlets from sides of pan and remove pan sides. Top with whipped cream.
*if you have questions about freshly ground whole wheat flour please refer back to my earlier entry on Jan. 15th for a full explanation. Of course, if you have more questions, please feel free to ask!
**rapadura and sucuanat are an unrefined form of sugar. Please refer to the blog on April 30th for more info.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"You've been Coned"

We are finally home after our three week vacation. It feels so good to be back and there is one "foodie" story I just have to share with you. A few weeks ago, we were with some friends driving up to Missouri to drop one of our kids at camp and we decided to stop at a tiny b-b-que restaurant in Springhill, AR. We were eating some great b-b-que (that was also insanely cheap) and all of the sudden, the waitress walks up to my husband with a 18" tall soft serve ice cream cone, and says (she was talking so fast she sounded like she was an auctioneer) "Listen quick, because I am only going to tell you once. I challenge you to eat the top two scoops of ice cream in one bite. If you succeed the cone is free, if you don't then you pay up. Are you ready?" Without hesitation Pete dove into the ice cream cone and ate off the top two scoops. Everyone in the restaurant was cheering (all 20 of us) and she said, "Welcome to Springhill, AR my friend! Now you can leave and tell everyone you have been 'Coned'!" Let's just say the laughter didn't end for quite a while. I just had to include a picture of Pete, it's clearly out of focus, but funny none-the-less.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Watermelon, Arugula and Feta Salad

This week we have been in TX and I have been able to spend lots of time with my Mom, which has been great. I love talking and going through all of her recipes looking for new ideas. Since her recipes are under lock and key, I always feel like I am going into a secret vault that only few have access to. A few days ago she pulled out a recipe for Watermelon salad and showed me how she changed it up a bit. The days here have been extremely hot and this salad was just the thing that was needed on such a hot day. The contrast of the sweet cool watermelon with the tangy feta and zing of the jalapeno is absolutely delicious. The salad should be served ice cold and make sure to toss in the arugula just before serving so it stays crisp.

Watermelon, Arugula and Feta Salad
Serves 6

1 cup olive oil
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. white balsamic vinegar
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 small seedless watermelon
1/3 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1 large bunch arugula, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, thyme, and jalapeno chile. Put in fridge to chill. Remove rind from watermelon and cut into bite-sized cubes. To assemble salad, place watermelon in large bowl along with feta and arugula. Pour 3/4 of dressing over salad and gently toss. Add more dressing if needed.

***I had help with the photo this week so props to Dan "to-the-max" Korem :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blackberries and Devonshire Cream

Summer is definitely in full swing here. We have spent many an hour swimming and at the beach and now we are on our summer trip with the kids. Being in the South it gets incredibly hot so in the afternoons, when we have had our share of the sun, I usually reach into the fridge for some cold berries to snack on. Years ago, when I started eating organic produce, I was shocked at how sweet the berries tasted! The first time I had an organic strawberry I thought, "OK, now this is what a strawberry is supposed to taste like." If you have been on the fence about buying organic produce you should first try organic berries. You won't be disappointed.

I think my favorite is the blackberry. The tiny little pockets of juice and the tartness at the end...and then if you pair it with whipped cream, well, that will just about send me over the top. Last week I was looking through an old binder of recipes that I used when Pete and I were first married. I came across this recipe for "strawberry devonshire". It's so simple it's almost silly to call it a recipe and, of course, I think it's much better paired with blackberries.

Blackberries and Devonshire Cream

3 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup heavy cream
dash of salt

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together cream cheese, honey and salt. Set aside. Whip one cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Pour whipped cream over cream cheese mixture and fold together. Serve with berries.