When I got the call that I had made the Top 100 for MasterChef Season 6, I was beyond thrilled to be in the category of one of the top 100 home cooks in America. But what I didn't realize at the time is that in the week I would spent in LA, I would form amazing friendships with people who had as much of a passion for food and cooking as I did. Alex Charpentier was one of those friends. We spent nights drinking wine and sharing our culinary dreams and goals. She has a great blog where she has shared some of her journey through culinary school, food, fitness, and life: http://www.berkeleybabe.com/ This delicious recipe was inspired by her mother who recently passed away... Here's her cooktale: Growing up in a French family we tended to put a French flair on our Thanksgiving meal but one thing that we did keep traditional was dessert. I have always had a passion for cooking and over the years even prior to attending culinary school I mastered several desserts that my family has grown to love. One of them that I have been making for more than 20 years is my AppleCrumble Tart. I used to serve it with store bought vanilla ice cream but two years ago I bought myself an ice cream maker and have been churning out my own delicious flavors to compliment my tart ever since. This Thanksgiving, in honor of my mother who tragically passed away this summer and will thus not be with us I made her favorite ice cream flavor, butter brickle. Shewas after all French and loved anything with butter!
Apple Crumble Tart
Equipment: You will need a spring-form pan and a food processor for this recipe.
Pate Brisee – this is a standard recipe for pate brisee and can be used for all of your sweet pies and tarts! (Tip: for savory pies and tarts just leave out the sugar!)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and diced (small dice)
1/2 cup ice cold water (you may use less)
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the diced butter and pulse just until you have pea-sized pieces of dough.
2. Gradually trickle in the water into the dry mixture and keep pulsing just until a ball of dough forms. (You do not want to over work your dough). Remove it and form it into a large disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.
3 lbs apples (about 4 large) 1/2 Granny Smith and 1/2 Fuji
Juice from 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1. Prepare crust: coat a 9-inch spring-form pan with non-stick spray. On a floured surface, roll out chilled dough into a 16-inch round – 1/4 inch think. (Tip: Once you have the dough rolled out, use your rolling pin to roll the dough around it and carefully lift the whole thing up and easily transfer it to the spring-form pan!) Trim the overhang and then place the pan into the fridge while you prepare the apples.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core and slice the apples in the food processor using the slicing blade. Place them into a large bowl and with the lemon juice and toss to coat. In a separate small bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and then mix into the apples.
3. Scoop out the apples using a slotted spoon to avoid getting too much liquid from the lemon juice and layer the apples into the prepared crust spreading them as flat and evenly as possible (you may have extra apples, do not over fill the tart or your streusel will overflow so leave a bit of room). Bake tart for 30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven (if the tips of the apples begin to brown and burn, cover the top with foil).
4. While the tart is baking, make the streusel topping. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flour, oats, walnuts and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and mix to combine. Refrigerate until tart has baked for 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes, remove the tart from the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 325 and then gently press the streusel onto the top of the apples. Return to the oven and bake on the lower rack of the oven for an additional hour. (Cover with foil if the streusel begins to brown too quickly).
6. When the tart has finished baking, remove it from the oven and let cool to lukewarm. Run a knife around the crust to loosen the edges from the pan. Carefully loosen the clamp on the spring-form and slide it over the top and off the tart.
This tart eats best when brought to room temp with homemade ice cream (recipe to follow).
Butter Brickle Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
Equipment – you will need an ice cream maker and a stand mixer
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup English toffee bits
2 large eggs
¾ cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
Directions 1. Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy skillet. Add the pecans and salt and sauté, stirring constantly until the pecans start to turn brown. Drain the butter into a small bowl and the pecans into another bowl; let the butter and nuts cool.
2. Using the whisk attachment to your stand mixer, whip the eggs until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue to whisk until completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and cream and whisk to blend. Add the cooled, melted butter and blend at low speed. 3. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Add the toffee bits and pecans about 2 minutes before the ice cream is done (when it starts to stiffen) then continue freezing until the ice cream is ready.
CHEERS TO COOKTALES FROM EVERYWHERE!!
These one of a kind meatballs are my final recipe that was featured on Local Memphis Live last week. A sweet and tangy balsamic BBQ sauce gives these meatballs a fun twist, but it's really the pork rinds that make this recipe stand out. Pork rinds in meatballs?!?!?! What in the world?! Well, traditionally breadcrumbs are featured in meatballs, and we've all had a BBQ flavored meatball so put the two together and you have quite a unique meatball! Pork rinds were a fun subject for me to discuss on the Local Memphis Live segment because it immediately brought back a childhood memory. When I think or pork rinds I think of being a kid on a road trip. When I was a kid, we would go on summer trips to the beach, and what I remember most were the gas station stops. We would make pit stops and stock up on snacks for the car. As strange as it may sound, pork rinds were always a family favorite. I've grown up eating pork rinds, so cooking with them made a lot of sense!
Grocery list (makes about 20 meatballs):
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup balsamic
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Dijon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb pork
1/2 lb ground beef
1/3 cup grated onion
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 cup parm
1 tbsp cream or milk
1 egg - beaten
2 tbsp basil - minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup Rudolph's Original Pork Rinds (or breadcrumbs)
Start by making the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, balsamic, brown sugar, Dijon, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic power, and salt. Set over low heat and whisk until smooth.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Make the meatball mixture. In a mixing bowl, combine the pork, beef, onion, garlic, parm, cream, beaten egg, basil, and salt with a fork. Don't over mix. In a plastic bag, crush your pork rinds into very fine crumbs. You can also do this in a food processor. Add the crushed pork rinds and combine the mixture with your hands. Again, don't over mix. Just mix together until well combined.
Make your balls. You can use your hands but I like to use a small ice cream scoop so they're all the same size. Place meatballs on a baking sheet and spoon a small amount of the Balsamic BBQ sauce over each ball. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve extra sauce alongside for dipping.
CHEERS TO HAPPY EATING!!!