Friday, October 9, 2009

Apple Turnovers

Although they're mostly considered a breakfast food, apple turnovers are good as a snack pretty much anytime.  Growing up we used to 'make them' with the Pillsbury can we bought at the store.  You unroll the dough, squeeze on the fruit filling, seal, and bake.  Well, this recipe honestly wasn't very difficult. The only time consuming part was peeling and cutting the apples. 
This also gave me an opportunity to use one of my favorite store bought products- frozen puff pastry dough.  I love using this stuff because it tastes great and looks impressive.  This with the combination of the homemade apple filling made a delicious turnover.  And don't forget the icing! I also love the combination of apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg which makes it very fallish.  Perfect for the weekend.

Apple Turnovers
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
2 T butter
3/4 C brown sugar or dark brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 t lemon juice
1 T cornstarch
1 T cold water
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

1 C confectioners sugar
1-2 T heavy cream (or milk if you prefer)
1 t vanilla

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, then put the apples in.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Cook and stir for another 2-3 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice.  Stir together cornstarch and water, then pour it into the skillet and mix well.  Cook until sauce has thickened.  Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unfold puff pastry sheets.  Mine are the shape of a large square, so I cut mine into 4 smaller squares.  You can cut them into 8 if you prefer mini turnovers.  Spoon the apples into the middle, then fold over and seal.  Putting a little water around the edges with my finger helped seal it together nicely.  Place turnovers on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about an inch of space in between. 
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until puffed and lightly browned.  Cool on wire rack.
TO make the glaze, mix the sugar, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Drizzle over turnovers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chocolate Almond Tart

When I think of fall foods and flavors, things like pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg come to mind immediately, but I think that nuts also definitely have a fall feel to them.  I'm severely allergic to pecans and walnuts (which sadly often leaves me out of a delicious dessert) so my go-to nut of choice is obviosly almonds.  But hazelnuts are also on my okay list, and when I came across this recipe I had to try it.  You can use either nut (almonds or hazelnuts) for this recipe without any changes though hazelnuts can be harder to find. 
It came out beautifully with this awesome crispy crust on top, while the middle stayed soft and chewy.  Perfect texture, and very decadent.  Be sure to wait until it's mostly cooled ( I know it's hard to wait, but with this one it's a must), otherwise it will be too runny and gooey.  You can pop it in the fridge if you're too impatient!  I'm told that this is a bit similar to a Pecan Pie, but seeing as how I've had to run away screaming from that type of thing for most of my life, I'll just take their word for it. 
Also, I feel like I say this about most of my recipes, but this was seriously easy with no skill required.  Anyone can whip this up quickly and it's sure to impress if you have guests.

Chocolate Almond Tart
1/2 C sugar
2 T flour
3 eggs, beaten and at room temp
1 1/2 C chopped hazelnuts or almonds
1 C semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (milk chocolate is just too sweet for this recipe)
3/4 C light corn syrup
2 T melted butter
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt (if your nuts are salted, you can skip this)
pie crust (store bought or home made, your choice)

In large bowl mix together the sugar and flour.  Add all remaining ingredients and stir together until blended.  Pour into crust and bake at 325degrees for 1 hour.  Cool on wire rack.