Monday, January 29, 2007

When Life Hands You Apples...Make Turnovers

I woke up at 4:30am yesterday, just as Mike was leaving for work. Knowing that I had several loads of laundry waiting for me, I decided to stay up & get started. After I got the laundry going, I decided to get a head start in the kitchen as well. I put a roast on to boil for barbecue to have later in the week, browned some stew beef for vegetable soup for our evening meal & dinner was well on its way before 6:00am. I felt just like a pioneer woman (albeit a bit modernized).

I headed back into the kitchen a bit later to check on my soup. After adding the last few ingredients, I decided I needed a good dessert to finish the meal. Spying a few Granny Smith apples in the refrigerator & knowing apple pie is Mike's favorite, I thought apple turnovers would be a hit. After thawing out my package of puffed pastry (still cheating, I know), I set to work. They were simple to make & smelled absolutely heavenly. I served these plain, but you can make them even more special with a homemade caramel or cinnamon syrup, or just a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

2 Granny Smith apples
3 Tablespoons Sugar plus extra for topping
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Slight pinch of salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel & quarter the apples; cut into 1/2-inch dice. Add sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Roll sheet of puff pastry to a 12 by 12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal squares. Separate.

Neatly place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on half of the square. Fold the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and seal with fingers or fork. Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with egg wash & sprinkle with sugar. Make 2 small slits in each to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm. These are also delicious at room temperature.

This recipe makes 4 turnovers, but can easily be doubled - just remember to thaw 2 sheets of pastry.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Happy New Year

I wanted to have a special yet simple breakfast for New Year's morning, so I decided to try cheese danish. I had a recipe from Ina Garten's new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa At Home. My husband loves danish & I knew a homemade version should be better than what he gets from the deli bakery case. I used frozen puff pastry (cheating, I know) & made a filling from cream cheese, a little ricotta cheese, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest & a pinch of salt. They turned out wonderfully - the pastry was crisp & flaky; the filling smooth & creamy. For added flavor, I heated some strawberry rhubarb preserves in the microwave & drizzled it over top half the batch. The recipe makes 8, so we had plenty for New Year's Eve & New Year's Day.