apple pie cream cheese tarts

For far longer than is acceptable, I had been neglecting a package of puff pastry, a bowl of sweet, red apples, and a precious jar of matcha powder.  My birthday was also approaching, and someone was gonna have to make a cake.  That someone, is yours truly.  So many projects, and only one of me.  Oh, the travesty.  I took inventory, picked up the missing ingredients at the market, and happily resigned my day to the kitchen.  Aside from the obvious perks a baking storm leaves behind, I had yet something else to look forward to.  And that’s cleaning the aftermath of the dance between flour, countless measuring spoons and spilled batter.  In the end, I had a face full of dessert, a kitchen towel in one hand, and a bottle of homemade cleaner in the other.  Pure joy.

Apple pie tarts were first on the agenda, and agreeably, the first to enter my belly.  Green tea ice cream and a fluffy, two-tiered vanilla birthday cake were also made that day, but I’ll get to them later.  Right now, let’s just agree that one of these flaky, buttery, reminiscent-of-apple-pie tarts covers your daily fruit intake recommendation.

 

Materials (makes 4 tarts)
1 package commercial puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 large sweet, red apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 Tbsp. cream cheese, optional
1 egg, beaten

 

Protocol
1. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Melt butter in a medium skillet, add apples, sugar and spices, and stir well.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until apples have softened.

3. In the meantime, prepare your dough.  On a lightly floured surface, lay a sheet of dough, and cut it into four pieces.

4. Poke two of the squares with a fork (these will be the bottoms), and cut 3-5 slits in the other two (these will be the tops).

5. Repeat with the other sheet.

6. When the apples are ready, begin assembly.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (or parchment paper), and place two bottom pieces on the mat.

7. Gently spread a tablespoon of cream cheese over each; then spoon a quarter of the cooked apples over the cream cheese.

8. Cover with a top piece of dough, press edges down with a fork, and brush liberally with egg wash to seal.

9. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. Garnish with powdered sugar, and devour shortly thereafter.

The tarts are amazing alone, but, just like their pie counterpart, pair well with vanilla ice cream.  Hold.  Me.  Back!  And to think this all started with an apple, which, itself, could be dessert.  It very well could, but not today, my friends.  Not today.

orange creamsicle martini

Orange you glad it’s the weekend?  Terrible, I know.  It’s related, so just relax.

Sometimes ideas come to me at odd hours.  Like, at 4 A.M. while I’m stepping into the kitchen for a drink of water.  And sometimes, insight dawns upon me when I’m in the mood for something a bit more fun than just a glass of water.  Like tonight.  The easy choice is always wine, but opening a bottle can be so much work.  I remembered that I have a bottle of cake flavored vodka in the freezer, but couldn’t think of any mixers.  Then I looked over at the fruit bowl and saw several luscious oranges.  And before I knew it, I was sipping on a cocktail that tasted like a 50-50 bar.

There are many ways to make an orange creamsicle cocktail, but this method is quick, easy and requires only two ingredients (one of which is not heavy cream).  I prefer to eat my calories, and if it tastes good, it tastes good, amirite?!

 

Materials (for 1 drink)

1 oz. cake, vanilla, or whipped cream flavored vodka
juice of 2 oranges (or about 4 oz. orange juice)

 

Protocol

1. Place vodka, orange juice and three or four ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, and shake around for a few seconds.

2. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with an orange slice.

This drink can also be enjoyed on the rocks.  Simply pour the vodka and juice over a few ice cubes, and stir.  No garnish necessary.  Lip smackin’ good!

Cheers to making the best of what you may have in your fruit bowl!