Tag Archive | apple

Bubbly With Tasha

a very important appointment

A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to be invited to a sparkling wine tasting party. My friend Tasha and a few of her girl friends had joined the Chandon wine club. When a shipment arrived they all got together to share.

I’d done some research to come up with what would pair with sparkling wine.  Shortbread.  Almond. Fruit.  All three of my favorites. However the combo – an apple or pear tart was not something I’d ever made before.  But this turned out to not be a problem.  I found the perfect recipe on the Joy of Baking website that produced a perfect tart on the first try.

Apple Frangipane Tart

It is a free-form tart, so requires less than perfect crust shaping skills. And frangipane! Where have you been all my life?  A delectable combo of almond meal, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla that I would have eaten by the spoonful if I did not need to make a tart.   Tasha and I tested the first “practice” tart and found it to be a winner.  The crust has a nice buttery shortbread texture, just a bit of sweetness and salt.  Then the sweet, almond frangipane layer, topped with granny smith and a sprinkle of white and brown sugars and sliced almonds.  It was the perfect combo tart and sweet.

The tasting party was lots of fun.  Two bottles of bubbly, a yummy pot luck dinner and new lady-friends to meet.  Unfortunately the bubbly was all gone by the time we got around to eating tart.  Not that any one minded. It was a lovely, not too sweet end to a great evening.

Sugar Mamma Rating: Money

Make this tart for your next dinner party.  It looks way impressive with very little effort. However, make sure you plan to eat it the same day you make it.

Apple Frangipane Tart

Adapted from Joy of Baking

Note: Almond meal is available in the grocery store, with the specialty flours and grains in the baking section.

Frangipane (Almond Cream):

1/2 cup chopped blanched or natural almonds (can use almond meal)

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into pats

1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water


3 large Granny Smith Apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch slices


1tablespoon granulated white sugar

1tablespoon brown sugar

¼ cup sliced almonds

Frangipane: Combine flour, almonds or almond meal, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until finely ground. Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Pie Crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar and in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds)

With the processor running, pour water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched.  Turn the pastry out onto the counter and shape into a ball, cover and refrigerate for about one hour or until firm. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Assemble Tart: Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and spread the frangipane evenly over the crust, leaving a 2 inch border. Arrange the apple slices evenly over the frangipane layer, leaving a 2 inch border of crust. Fold the border of pastry up and over the apples (sealing any cracks) and brush the pastry crust with a little cream. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of sugar (half white, half brown) and sliced almonds over the crust and apples.

Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Serve either warm or room temperature, preferable the same day you bake. Delish with vanilla ice cream, but we just gobbled up the slices with our hands like it was pizza; yummy almond apple tart pizza.


Ginger Pear Upside-Down Cake

I’ve been invited to a sparkling wine tasting party in a few weeks, and of course, I begged to bring a dessert, or two or three.  Did a little re-search regarding what would pair well with bubbly.  Apple. Almond. Pear. Shortbread. Awesome. The free-form Frangipane Apple Tart I tested out first was a keeper.  I still wanted to try something with pear.  It is not a fruit I’ve ever baked with before.  I came across this Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake on the internet.  Perfect! Candied Ginger is an ingredient I’ve also been meaning to try.  By itself, candied ginger = gross out.  Paired with cake or scones, hopefully delightful.

A deep baking dish is a must & if you are going to use a spring form pan like I did, make sure to wrap it in foil so the melted butter does not leak out all over you.  Slice the pears thick.  The cake took about double the time to bake which meant there was not much left of the pears to sink your teeth into by the end.

Overall, I loved the ginger and the caramel-ey topping.  The pears did not add much to the overall flavor. Vanilla ice cream is a must. I gobbled up my piece and finished Mr. Sugar Mamma’s. I would not pair it with bubbly, for sure.  It just seemed to sweet and heavy.  I wonder how my Meyer Lemon Tea Cake (AKA Lemon Bread) would be like with some candied ginger…Stay tuned.  We are just now entering Meyer Lemon season.   I’ll also be  posting about the Apple Frangipane tart next week. And I really promise to work on my food photography skills.