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The BloggerAid Cookbook

Caramelized Walnut Apple Pie

There are a few desserts on my blog that I completely conjured in my head like the Chocolate Pear Cake, Coconut-Choc Scrolls, Coconut Chocolate Nut Cookies or the Carrot-Zucchini Cake etc. This new recipe is no exception. It all started with an innocent picture in a magazine of a layered apple slices, and from there it slowly brewed and ballooned into an extremely sinful fantasy... the urges grew stronger and yearning for that biteful of aromatic apples basked in spices, craddled in drooling buttery biscuit pie crust with to-die-for caramel walnut toppings became so real that I could almost savour it.

My attempts to make this tart was thwarted a few times... Somehow the apples always ended up eaten as an every day fruit as we either had other desserts lined up or over indulged during lunch. Finally the occasion came not once but twice. I made my first trial tart with Pierre as my ardent & willing taster. I was a bit nervous as it was my first attempt at making a caramelized walnut topping and frankly, I had no idea how to make one and neither did my mom-in-law. She suggested that maybe I stir the walnuts into the caramel. Well, that didn't went down quite as I expected. In trying to get the walnuts coated with caramel like I had in my head, I ended up with a big lump of un-spreadable caramelized walnut. AAAAHHH!

Anyway, with Pierre's stamp of approval, I made a 2nd one for my in-laws who were coming for lunch the following day. This time around, I got my caramelized walnut topping right. Bless my mother-in-law who, upon seeing me struggling with the apple slices, taught me the correct way of doing it like the professionals. I can't believe everything was going so beautifully well that day. I was so proud of myself. The oven beeped and my tart was all ready for its photo session before being devoured. Unfortunately for us, that day happened to be cloudy all day long. Pierre decided to place the tart on our kitchen window sill to have better lighting with Mom-in-law worrying that Pierre might accidentally drop the tart while taking the pictures. And me, menacing that I'll have his head if he dropped my gorgeous work of art. Phew! All went well and Pierre proudly told his mom that her worries were totally unfounded when suddenly, before our eyes, the tart slipped out of his hand ....SPLAT! 2 floors down, it became part of our garden's decoration and bird food. The horrified look on Pierre's face when the tart took a suicide plunge was PRICELESS! The scene was too hilarious to begin with... any upset thoughts flew out of the window. Pierre kept apologizing to me while Mom-in-law and I couldn't stop laughing. All was not totally lost, mom-in-law managed to salvage a bit of the tart from our garden floor. LOL! No, you can stop your wild imagination right there, there weren't any extra ingredient on our plate.

I'm sharing my beautiful broken tart with Meeta for her Monthly Mingle 'Brunch'.

Caramelized Walnut Apple Tart
Ingredients

Pie Crust

  • 2 cups (200 grams) of graham biscuits/gingersnaps or milk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (114 grams) salted butter, melted

Pie Fillings

  • 6 - 8 apples (peeled & cored)
  • brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon & nutmeg
  • walnuts (roughly chopped)

Caramel

  • sugar
  • water
  • about 2 tbsp salted butter
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4 ).
  2. Break up the biscuits into pieces, process it together with sugar until it's crumbly. Add melted butter and pulse it a few times until all is well mixed.
  3. Press a few tablespoonful of the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the springform pan. Turn pan on the side and press about 3 cm up the sides of the springform pan. Cover and refrigerate it while you prepare the filling.
  4. Peel, cut into half and cored the apples. To keep the apples from turning brown, dip them in a bowl of lightly salted water.
  5. Cut the sides off (set aside) and sliced the apples vertically. Hold it between your hands and gently spread it with your thumb.
  6. Place it clockwise on the bottom of the pan. Continue spreading sliced apples from the outer circle to inner circle. Fill the center circle with cut off sides of the apples.
  7. Sprinkle a dash of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and some brown sugar on top of the apple slices.
  8. Place the next round of apple slices anti-clockwise. Repeat step 5 - 7 until all apples are done.
  9. Sprinkle roughly chopped walnuts on top of apple slices (enough to cover the surface), pour caramel sauce over the walnuts.
  10. Bake pie loosely covered with aluminum foil at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4) for 30 minutes and uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes.

Making the caramel

  1. Prepare this only after you have done up your pie as caramel sauce hardens up quickly when cooled.
  2. Put some sugar and enough water to wet the sugar in a small pot and heat it up on medium heat.
  3. Sugar will dissolves and when it turned into bubbling brown and golden, turn off the heat.
  4. Quickly stir in the salted butter until combined.
Caramelized Walnut Apple Pie
The Verdict

It's so sinfully good and decadent. How can I described it? Every bite is filled with aromatic, spice basked apples with salty sweet crunchy caramelized walnuts together with the butter biscuit crust - awesome combination. Best of all, it's not overly sweet. Pierre said it's the best apple tart I ever made. LOL! This desert also proves that salted butter rules:-)

Caramelized Walnut Apple Pie
Notes

You can replace the biscuit pie crust with pâte brisée (short pastry crust) instead. Either you blind bake the crust or bake it at 210°C for 10 minutes, then lower it to 180°C.

For the caramelized walnut toppings, don't make the same mistake as I did, went walnut crazy and totally filled up every space available on the pie. LOL! Just enough to cover the pie is fine, more than that will be overkill.

The number of layers of apple slices in the pie is up to your discretion. For us, 3 layers high is just the right combination. If you are doing a mix of apples and pears, make sure that the pears aren't too ripe as they have high water content and will turn your pie filling mushy.

Caramelized Walnut Apple Pie
20 comments on this post.

Over The Top Pie

Last weekend our whole family was hit by gastric flu. What a torture! It was the first time Little One got sick (poor baby) but amazingly she fought it off rather well and recovered from it very quickly. While she was on the mend, I caught the bad bug and was violently sick (I thought I had it bad). Luckily Pierre was still ok then so he could look after Little One. Then as I got over the worst, it was Pierre's turn to be sick to the gut. Unfortunately for him, the virus hit him the hardest (I have never seen him in that shade of gray). The next day, both of us were lifeless, while our little darling had her energy back and went on trashing the whole house. We have never been hit by an actual tornado, but now I have an idea of how it would look like afterwards.

I made this pie a day or two before all of us fell sick (rest assured that the two events are totally unrelated). There were some leftover old apples and over-riped bananas on the table (as usual). I didn't want to make another apple/banana pie so decided to add some pineapples in it to give it a more exotic taste. Then I thought why not a coconut crumble top - it would go very well with it. Originally I wanted to use a plain pie crust but was inspired to make a nutty pie crust for a change. All those ideas combined this over-the-top recipe :

Over The Top Pie
Ingredients

Hazelnut Pie Crust (variation over a classic sweet pie crust)

  • grounded hazelnut
  • flour, sugar, chilled butter (cubed), a bit of ice water (like a regular sweet crust)

Fillings

  • a few apples (small slices)
  • bananas (sliced)
  • pineapples (sliced)
  • dark chocolate (small pieces)
  • sugar
  • rhum (a little bit)
  • ground cinnamon (only a little bit)
  • water
  • cornstarch

Crumble

  • Sugar
  • Chilled Butter (cut into cubes)
  • plain flour
  • grated coconut
Direction

Hazelnut Pie Crust

  1. Mix grounded hazelnut, flour, sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it form crumbs or sandy.
  3. Make a small well in the middle, add a little bit of ice water. Mix the dough delicately with your hands until it forms a ball of dough. Wrap it up and refrigerate it for an hour.
  4. Roll out a clean piece of cloth on the table; sprinkle generously some flour on it.
  5. Flatten the dough slightly with your hands and dust the dough lightly with flour before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin.
  6. Roll the dough into a circle and larger than the size of your pie dish. Put your pie dish face down to the centre of dough. Put your hand underneath the cloth (centre of the dough) and gently flip the dough over.
  7. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry firmly into the pan and trim any excess dough from the edge.

Crumble

  • Combine all the ingredients together and rub the butter with your fingers into the sugar-flour mixture till it is crumbly (not as fine as sand but coarse crumbs).

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F).
  2. Spread some apple, banana and pineapple slices in unbaked pie shell. Then sprinkle some dark chocolate pieces on it. Repeat the process till all the fillings are used up.
  3. Heat up and mix water, sugar and ground cinnamon together. Once sugar is dissolved, add in a little bit of rhum and stir in corn starch till blend in. (in a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with a bit of water - this will avoid having lumps in the mixture). Remove pan from fire and let it cool down a bit.
  4. Spread the sugary cinnamon mixture all over the fillings.
  5. Spread crumble all over the filling covering the whole pie.
  6. Bake in preheated over for 10 minutes (at 210°C / 410°F), then reduce heat to 175°C (350°F) for 35 to 40 minutes.
Over the top pieOver the top pie
The Verdict

The whole pie itself tasted not bad at all - it has a different taste at each bite : sometimes apple/banana and other times pineapple/apple or banana. I was expecting a tangy and strong pineapple taste but was rather disappointed with the weak pineapple flavour. Pierre felt that I didn't put in enough pineapple whereas I felt that I should have used fresh pineapple instead of canned ones (but I had an old can lying around).

Adding the dark chocolate wasn't a wise choice as we found out that it overwhelmed the whole taste of the pie whenever we took a bite that has chocolate in it. So it's best to omit it.

Notes

As noted above, it would have tasted better if I had used fresh pineapple and the juice of the pineapple for the syrup spread instead.

For the crumble, it would have been better to just use only grated coconut sans flour.

over the top pieOver the top pie
12 comments on this post.

Wild Mushrooms Pie

My sincere apology for the delay in posting my mushroom recipe. Settling back to normal daily routine with a little one is hard and difficult after a summer vacation... plus I wanted to get good and precise mushroom informations, and it turned out to be a lot harder than I expected (partly because it's very different between French and English names).

I'm also so sorry for not having new pictures today. Here's a word of advice: when the new Windows Vista tells you that there's a problem with your memory card and ask you if you want to fix it, what it really means is if you want all your precious and perfectly fine pictures to be definitely and permanently wiped out.:-(

As I was saying in my mushroom post, picking mushrooms was very exciting and fun - time just flew by while we were in the forest (to me it seems like the time has come to a stand still - just the gently cool breeze that blew at you once in a while, the sound of birds chirping... well including an occasional barking intrusion from the hunters' dogs.) I'm so lucky to have in-laws who love nature and who love picking mushrooms or else I wouldn't have the opportunity to ever experience this. I personally can't identify which mushrooms are edible and which aren't... it's Michèle, Patrick and Irène who guided me. Sometimes we will pick up a mushroom that we are curious about or not so sure of their edible state... once home, my parents in-law usually check out the unsure ones with their mushroom encyclopedia.

The hard work on mushroom trips is to re-identify them and sort it out by the species and throw out whatever that we aren't sure off or too old. This is to make sure that there are no poisonous mushrooms in it. Then we clean some of the mushrooms, try getting the worms and bugs out of the mushrooms by placing a plastic film over it to seal off air. After a few hours or overnight, all the bugs will come to the surface.

First an obvious disclaimer: picking mushroom and eating them can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly. Some poisonous mushrooms can look eerily similar to edible ones. You should not engage into it without taking all necessary precautions, including asking a specialist (in France, pharmacists are trained to recognize mushrooms and will traditionally help identify them, free of charge). Although I've done my best to be accurate, mushroom informations below could be inaccurate and should not be relied on when evaluating mushroom edibility or toxicity.

Judy guessed it right that I'm making a pie out of it while Gourmet Traveller,, Orchidea and Karin's sharp eyes identified: cèpes, Chanterelles and craterelles from the basket. To be more precise we had :

  • Yellow foot or funnel chanterelle or commonly called winter mushrooms (name scientific Craterellus tubaeformis & Cantharellus lutescens) is a yellowish-brown and trumpet-shaped chanterelle found end of summer/autumn until first sign of frost. It grows on moss or rotten wood in the forest and in groups. It is not easy to spot this mushroom since the cap looks like dead leaves on the ground. Very good mushrooms. It has a sweet to peppery flavour and is slightly chewy in texture. Great complements with soups, stews, poultry, vegetable dishes, casseroles, cheese or egg dishes and sauces. Raw unwashed mushrooms can be stored in a bag in the refrigerator for 5 to 8 days. It can be freeze for more than a week if cooked and stored in an airtight container.
  • Girolle or Yellow chanterelle (name scientific Cantharellus cibarius) is an apricot-coloured mushroom with an unmistakable vaulted cap, whose gills run down to a thick stem below - found during summer to late autumn. It has a rich and meaty flavour and a good texture. Excellent mushrooms. Best keep fresh girolles in brown paper bags rather than plastic, which causes them to sweat and rot prematurely. If kept in plastic, make sure that the plastic bags have air holes in them. In Europe, a chanterelle is generally either a chanterelle grise or a chanterelle jaune, indicating whether its stalk is indeed grey or yellow. The stalk is thin and hollow and the cap is usually brown and quite delicate.
  • Pieds de mouton - Hedgehog mushroom (scientific name Hydnum repandum) looks like a large chanterelle but the underside of the cap has a shredded appearance, like a tiny shag carpet. The flesh is firm and dense, and is quite delicious in soups or stews. They are commonly found under the chestnut trees in groups spread out under the dead leaves from September to November. Although distinctive in appearance, the hedgehog mushroom can be confused with non-edible species.
  • Cêpes or Porcini (scientific name Boletus edulis) is a highly regarded edible mushroom. It has a distinct aroma reminiscent of fermented dough and it has a higher water content than other edible mushrooms. This mushroom grows singly or in clusters. Found mainly in forests dominated by oak, pines or spruce during summer to autumn, following sustained rainfall. It's flavour is described as nutty and slightly meaty, with a smooth, creamy texture. Porcini are eaten and enjoyed raw, sautéed with butter, ground into pasta, in risotto, in soups, and in many other dishes.
  • Amanite rougissante or Blusher (scientific name Amanita rubescens - The European blusher has a reddish-brown convex pileus (cap), and strewn with small cream-coloured warts. The colour of this mushroom varies depending on humidity, age of mushroom - it can be very pale, clearly white, or it could be rather dark. The flesh of the mushroom is white, becoming pink when bruised or exposed to air especially at the base of its feet - an important feature in differentiating it from the poisonous False Blusher or Panther cap (Amanita pantherina), whose flesh does not. Though edible, it can be confused with poisonous species and should probably be avoided by novice mushroomers. Worse, this mushroom should always be eaten cooked as it contain a hemolytic poison in its raw state which is destroyed during cooking. Commonly found during Autumn under dead leaves.
  • Petits violets or Purple Mousseron or Amethyst Deceiver (scientific name Laccaria amethystea) - these beautiful little purple ones have deep violet colour when wet and pale grey when dry. The caps are edible. Colorful, edible and tasty. Season is July to October. Can be found in large groups spread around under the moss or dead leaves or pines.

This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging host by Katerina from Daily Unadventures in Cooking.

Tourte aux champignons

(Michèle's recipe)

Ingredients
  • 2 shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée)
  • 400 g tasty mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk slightly beaten with a bit of milk

Creamy béchamel sauce

  • 30 g butter
  • 40 g flour
  • 250 ml liquid cream
  • salt, pepper & ground nutmeg
Directions

Creamy béchamel sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
  2. Stir in the flour and let it cook for a minute.
  3. Pour in the liquid cream and mix it well. Season it with salt, pepper and a dash of ground nutmeg.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil while stirring it all the time. Once the sauce has thicken, set it aside.

Mushrooms fillings

  1. Preheat oven at 220°C (425°F - gas mark 7).
  2. Place one pastry crust in a pie dish and with a fork, gently prickle the base of the crust. Set aside.
  3. Cook the wild mushrooms with a bit of olive oil without any seasoning. Drain the cooked mushrooms with a strainer as it will give out a lot of water during cooking.
  4. Mix the creamy béchamel sauce with the mushrooms.
  5. Spread the creamy mushroom mixture onto prepared pie dish and fold in the side border of the dough. Brush the border with water (this helps to seal the two pastry). Then cover it with another puff pastry, pressing on the border a little to make sure it is sealed to the bottom pastry. Fold in whatever is left on the side.
  6. Cut a tiny hole in the middle of the pie to make a chimney and place a small cone on the chimney.
  7. Brush the surface of the pie with the beaten yolk-milk mixture.
  8. Bake it in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  9. Serve hot.
The Verdict

I didn't know a mushroom pie could be this delicious. The full woody flavour of the mushrooms just fill up your taste buds and the creamy sauce just heightens up everything. It was so good that everyone was fighting for the last piece ... hehehe ... guess who won the last slice? Bet you would never guess it.;-)

Ok... people there is a mystery price to be won here;-) ... whoever gets it right first gets a French specialty from this region and if the winner is a French, gets an Asian specialty instead.

Notes

The bring out the goodness and full flavour of this pie, it's best to use wild mushrooms, preferably: Craterellus or Black trumpet or Blewit or Chanterelles...or mix of wild mushrooms.

27 comments on this post.

La Pissaladière

La pissaladière (pissaladiera in Provencal dialect) is a culinary specialty of the region of Nice. As it is some sort of onion pie, it is often considered as a type of pizza, and in fact the traditional Pissaladière is made with bread dough, along with pissalat, a sort of a paste or salted cream made from sardines or salted anchovies which gives this dish its name. As time passed, the pissalat has been replaced by the anchovies cream or filets.

The Pissaladière that I'm going to introduce is a modified version of Michèle's. I haven't forgotten my mushrooms - the recipe will be coming next;-)

La Pissaladière

(Michèle's recipe)

  • 1 shortcrust pastry or pizza dough
  • 4 big onions (sliced)
  • 4 tomatos (thick slices)
  • 1 can of anchovies
  • some olives (sliced, optional)
  • some herbs of Provence (or a mix of savory, marjoram, rosmary, thyme and sage - optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 210°C (410°F - gas mark 6).
  2. Heat up some olive oil in the pan or wok and saute the onions till they are a bit golden brown. Sprinkle some salt on it.
  3. Lay the onions onto the pie dough, spread sliced tomatos on top of the onions. Sprinkle some dried herbs on it, and then some anchovies and sliced olives.
  4. Bake it for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Pissaladière ingredientsPissaladière
Conclusions

Not only it's delicious and flavourful, it's also a simple, easy to fix and healthy meal (unlike your regular pizza, no cheese or sausage in there ). It's an effective solution to get kids to eat veggies.;-)

Notes

It tastes great even without the herbs sprinkled on top of it. The sauté onions just bring out all the delicious flavour.

Pissaladière
27 comments on this post.

Almond Apple Pie

I've been wanting to bake an apple pie with almond fillings for some time, but I couldn't find an apple pie recipe that would fit the bill in any of my books. So I decided to be a bit creative and modify an existing almond pie recipe. I started from a Bakewell tart, which combines an almond filling over a layer of jam. I replaced the jam with slices of apples instead and prayed for the thing to turn right.

What got me motivated to make the pie today was this month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge 19 - Dinner and a DVD. You have to cook something to match one of your favourite movies. In this case guess which one goes with the apple pie... ? Yup, the famous teen comedy American Pie, where the poor and innocent pie suffered a humiliating fate. While my recipe is far from the classical apple pie, I hope it'll satisfy all the apple-pie lovers out there... but it's probably better enjoyed eaten:-p

american pie
Almond Apple Pie

(adapted from Bakewell tart recipe)

Pie crust

  • 125 g plain flour (shifted)
  • 90 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp ice water

Fillings

  • 90 g butter (soften)
  • 90 g sugar
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3 drops Almond essence
  • 70 g ground almonds
  • 40 g self raising flour
  • 3 to 4 golden apples (sliced)
Almond apple pie Ingredients
Directions

Pie crust

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4). Lightly grease the bottom of the 20 cm diameter pie dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar together and put in the diced up butter.
  3. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it form chunky crumbs or lumpy.
  4. Make a small well in the middle, add in almost all the ice water. Mix the dough delicately with your hands until it forms a ball of dough. Add more water if the dough is too dry.
  5. Roll out the dough in between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Gently place onto the pie dish and trim off the excess. Refrigerate it for 20 minutes.
  6. Line the pie crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill it with dry beans or rice. Bake it for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and carefully remove pie weights. Put it back in oven (without the weights) and bake it for an additional 7 minutes. The crust should be lightly golden. Cool completely before filling.

Fillings

  1. Peel, cored and cut the apples in slices.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it is smooth and creamy.
  3. Add in slowly the beaten eggs while continually whisking it and mix in the almond essence.
  4. Using a metal spoon, mix in the ground almonds and the shifted flour.
  5. Spread a layer of apple slices on the bottom of the baked pie shell.
  6. Pour in the batter and smoothen the surface.
  7. Spread another layer of apple slices on top of the batter.
  8. Bake it at 180°C (350°F - gas mark 4) for 35 minutes. The pie should rise and golden brown.
The Verdict

It turned out surprisingly good. While it's a bit short of sugar for Pierre, it was most appreciated by the rest of the family. The texture is moist and soft, and has a nice almond flavor which fits very well with the apples.

Notes

In my hurry to get the pie ready for dinner, I forgot to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top of the apples as I had originally planned. And I would put more layer of apple slices (if thinly sliced) on the bottom and thicker slices on top.

Almond Apple pieAlmond apple pie
29 comments on this post.

Granny-Smith Turkey Pie

I was at Michèle's place recently and was browsing through her small but valuable library of cook books when one titled Tourtes, feuilletés et autres pies caught my eye. On the front cover was this delicious looking meat pie that had me drooling over it. There are a lot of interesting recipes in this book and I couldn't decide which to try it out ... so here comes Pierre, my knight in shinning armour (or more exactly a Mystic Blue coupé - times change:-D) to the rescue. After browsing the book for a long while and salivate at a few pages, he picked on this interesting recipe and this is what we had for dinner that day.:-)

Tourte à la dinde et granny smith

(taken from Tourtes, feuilletés et autres pies by Anny Mayer-Armbruster)

Preparation: 30 minutes
Baking: 40 minutes
Makes: 6

Ingredients
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 700 g turkey (2/3 minced & 1/3 cubed 1x1 cm)
  • ½ savoy cabbage (chou vert frisé)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 15 cl white wine - dry
  • 10 cl fluid crème fraîche
  • 2 shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée)
  • 1 egg yolk (slightly beaten with a bit of milk)
  • salt & pepper
Directions
  1. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters.
  2. Mince 2/3 of the turkey meat together with the apples.
  3. Separate the leaves from the cabbage and remove the middle hard stem.
  4. Boil the cabbage in a pot of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. Drain and plunge them in cold water to cool them. Well drain them and cut them in thin slices.
  5. Heat the pan with 1 tbsp oil, stir in the minced turkey and cabbage. Add in the white wine, the crème fraîche and season it with salt and pepper. Let it simmer uncovered, stirring it often until the liquid is absorbed. Then keep it cool.
  6. Cook and season the rest of the turkey (cubed) in a pan with the rest of the oil. Mix with the stuffing. Keep it cool.
  7. Lay the pastry on a deep pie dish or baking pan lined with the baking paper. Spread the stuffing in the pie.
  8. Fold in the side border of the dough (towards the stuffing) and brush it with water (this helps to seal the two pastry). Then cover it with the other pastry, pressing on the border a little to make sure it is sealed to the bottom pastry. Fold in whatever is left on the side.
  9. Cut a tiny hole in the middle of the pie a make a chimney using a small rolled piece of cardboard.
  10. Brush the surface of the pie with the beaten yolk-milk mixture.
  11. Bake it at 200°C (400°F - gas mark 6) for about 30 minutes.
Turkey pie ingredientsTurkey & Granny Smith pie
The Verdict

This is the first time I'm baking this dish so I wasn't sure what to expect. For me, the pie itself taste fine: it has the nice flavour of the meat and cabbage, but it's overall kinda flat (a feeling that my in-laws also share). Perhaps I'm used to eating my food with lots of spices and not used to something that is relying more on just its flavour without any spices enhancing it. Pierre on his side somewhat likes it (funnily for someone who doesn't really like cabbage) and had a second helping too, but felt that there was way too much stuffing.

In preparation of this pie, I forgot to mince the apples together with the turkey meat so I did them both separately. We replaced the dry white wine with apple cider (we ran out of white wine in our cave and since we have apples in the recipe, we thought «why not?») and thick crème fraîche instead of the liquid version. We were somewhat taken aback by the large quantity of water that our stuffing produced during cooking and baking. In the end we had to scoop out the water. We don't know if this is due to the fact that we used apple cider instead of wine (we don't believe it should make much of a difference) or maybe I didn't drained the cabbage well.

We both felt that there was way too much meat in this pie compared to the quantity of crust, and would recommend cutting the quantity by 1/3 if you attempt the recipe. Also the book called for 1/3 of the turkey to be cubed. To us, it doesn't really make a big difference in taste and the chunks of meat aren't very nice to munch.

Note

When choosing savoy cabbage, choose a head that's heavy for its size. The leaves should be crisp, not limp, and there should be no sign of browning. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.

tourtes à la dinde et granny smithGranny-smith turkey pie
21 comments on this post.

Tourte aux pommes de terre - Potato Pie

This is another French recipe from my mother-in-law, Michèle. This big potato pie is rather delicious, and as often in this case, not the best thing for your diet ! It goes well as a side with some meat, but we also like to eat it as a main course (with salad) since you are unlikely to end up hungry after downing a portion;-)

Tourte aux pommes de terre

Ingredients
  • 1 kg potatoes (peeled and sliced in thin rounds using a vegetable slicer machine)
  • 1 big onion (sliced)
  • 200 to 220 g bacon (cut in match sticks)
  • 2 puff/flaky pastry (pâte feuilletée dough)
  • 1 egg yolk slightly beaten with a bit of milk
  • 40 cl sour cream (crème fraîche)
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg for seasoning
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven at 170°C (325°F - gas mark 3).
  2. Stir-fry the sliced onions with a bit of oil till they are a bit transparent and soft.
  3. Lay 1 puff/flaky pastry in a deep pie dish or round baking pan laid with baking paper.
  4. Spread a layer of sliced potato in the pie, then spread some bacon and onion on it. Season it with a bit of salt, pepper and nutmeg powder.
  5. Repeat the above step till all is finished.
  6. Fold in the side border of the dough (towards the potato) and brush it with water (this helps to seal the two pastry). Then cover it with another puff pastry, pressing on the border a little to make sure it is sealed to the bottom pastry. Fold in whatever is left on the side.
  7. Cut a tiny hole in the middle of the pie to make a chimney and place a small cone on the chimney.
  8. Brush the surface of the pie with the beaten yolk-milk mixture.
  9. Bake it at 170°C (325°F - gas mark 3) for about 60 minutes or till the potato is cooked.
  10. Once the pie is cooked, cut a bigger circle on the top crust and put aside the cover. Pour in the crème fraîche. Put back the cover on the pie and leave the pie inside the warm oven (switched off) for a few minutes to let the cream melt and spread down the pie.
Tourte aux pommes de terre ingredientsPotato Pie
The Verdict

Well my first attempt at it turned out to be a masterpiece, although a bit by accident: I added a bit more bacon then normal (the "official" recipe use only 150 g) to finish a box, and the potatoes were well cooked to the point of melting in your mouth. With the cream, the result is a very delicious (and rich) texture, smooth in the mouth and with that tasty smoky bacon flavour. Yummy ! The crunchy crust around makes the whole experience even better. This is definitely one of Pierre's favorite recipe as well:-)

Note

Some variants skip the bacon but use a lot of parsley to enhance the flavor. We are not a big fan of parsley but if that's your thing, you might like to have a go at it.

Tourte aux pommes de terre - potato pieTourte aux pommes de terre
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Tarte Flambée

Today I would like to introduce to you a very simple and delicious traditional dish of Alsace (eastern of France): the tarte flambée (in Alsatian Flammekueche or in German Flammkuchen). It's a sort of «Alsacian pizza», although its history is absolutely not related in any way with the famous Italian treat (except maybe as the inspiration for what is known today as «white pizzas»).

My first meeting with Miss Tarte Flambée was for a dinner at Michèle's place (my mom-in-law) in 2002. I was surprised by the simplicity and easily available materials for dressing up Ms Flambée and my, she is delicious too. Since then, I have met Ms Flambée several times, and I'm sure your friends and family would love her as much as we do.

Here's Michèle's recipe:

Tarte Flambée

Baking: about 20 minutes
Makes: 4 person

Ingredients
  • 500 g bread dough
  • 250 g fromage blanc (cottage cheese or quark)
  • 20 cl crème fraîche (sour cream)
  • 2 big onions (chopped)
  • 220 g thinly sliced bacon (cut in match sticks)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg powder
Directions
  1. Heat oven to about 220°C (425°F - gas mark 7).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan and cook the onions, stirring over low heat for about 5 minutes. They must be soft and golden but not brown.
  3. In a big bowl, mix fromage blanc, crème fraîche, egg yolks, salt, pepper and nutmeg powder all together. Then mix in the onions and bacon.
  4. Roll out the bread dough until it is slightly smaller than the baking sheet and place it on the sheet.
  5. Spread the onion-bacon mixture over the dough.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tart is lightly brown.
  7. Serve it with salad.
Tarte FlambéeTarte Flambée pizza
Conclusion

It's in no way an high-end super-complicated dish to make, but it's certainly delicious and satisfying. I bought the bread dough directly from my favorite local bakery, and the delicious crust that it became made the experience even more enjoyable:-D

Note

You might want to let the dough rise before flattening it, then let it rise some more. Another version is using only crème fraîche without the eggs. Some people also add cheese or, mushrooms on top, but this is a departure from the original recipe.

Tarte Flambée
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Apple-Banana Chocolate Crumble Pie

The other day I was trying to figure out what do with 3 ripe juicy golden apples and 2 bananas sitting on my kitchen table. After much thinking, I said to myself 'hey, why not bake an Apple-Banana Chocolate Crumble?':-D Here's how it turned out :

Apple-Banana Chocolate Crumble Pie

Baking : 50 minutes
Makes : 1 - 12" pie

Ingredients

Pie Crust - sweet version (La pâte sablée)

  • 250 g Plain Flour
  • 125 g Chilled Butter (cut into cubes)
  • 80 g Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • A little water (ice cold)

Fillings

  • 4 golden apples - sliced (as shown)
  • 2 bananas - sliced (more if you prefer)
  • Dark Pastry Chocolate bars (cut up into pieces)

Cinnamon spread

  • 60 g Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 120 ml Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Corn starch/corn flour

Crumble

  • 60 g Sugar
  • 90 g Chilled Butter (cut into cubes)
  • 100 g Plain flour
Directions

Pie Crust

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar together and put in the diced up butter.
  2. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it is crumbly (like sand). To make sure that all butter are rubbed in and there is no big lumps left, scoop some mixture into your hands and rub it in a rubbing motion.
  3. Make a small well in the middle, crack in the egg and just a little bit of ice cold water. Mix the dough mixture with your hands until it forms a ball of dough. It will be a little bit sticky but the dough should hold together and comes off the bowl easily. Do not work the dough too much.
  4. Wrap the ball of dough with a plastic wrapper and refrigerated it for 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour: Roll out a clean piece of cloth on the table; sprinkle generously some flour on it.
  6. Flatten the dough slightly with your hands and dust the dough lightly with flour before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Start rolling at the centre of the dough and work outwards. Roll the dough into a circle and larger than the size of your pie dish.
  7. Put your pie dish face down to the centre of dough. Put your hand underneath the cloth (centre of the dough) and gently flip the dough over.
  8. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry firmly into the pan and trim any excess dough from the edge.

Crumble

  • Combine all of them together and rub the butter with your fingers into the sugar-flour mixture till it is crumbly (not as fine as sand but coarse crumbs).

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F)
  2. Spread 1 layer of apple and banana slices in unbaked pie shell. Then sprinkle some dark chocolate pieces on it. Repeat the process till all the fillings are used up.
  3. Heat up and mix water, sugar and ground cinnamon together. Once sugar is dissolved, stir in corn starch till blend in. (in a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with a bit of water - this will avoid having lumps in the mixture). Remove pan from fire and let it cool down a bit.
  4. Spread the sugary cinnamon mixture all over the fillings.
  5. Spread crumble all over the filling covering the whole pie.
  6. Bake in preheated over for 10 minutes (at 210°C / 410°F), then reduce heat to 175°C (350°F) for 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or room temperature. It is delicious on its own or serves it with a scoop of ice-cream.
la pâte sabléeapple crumble apple slicesapple crumble pieapple crumble
Conclusion

Normally I bake this pie with only apple fillings but I have decided to try it out with banana to see how the flavour would turn out. I added dark chocolate pieces to it just for my other half because he loves chocolates. To my surprise, it turned out to be very good. It has a nice mixed aroma of apple and banana with melted dark chocolate without any of them overpowering the other flavour.

The other day I baked this pie using only 3 apples and with milk chocolate simply because I didn't have any dark chocolate at that time. It turned out as delicious as usual but both of us agreed that an extra apple in the pie would taste better and that the dark chocolate version tasted better.

Note

As I do not like overly sweet stuff, this pie is just "nicely sweet". So for those who prefers it to be sweeter, please add more sugar to the crumble and sugary cinnamon spread.

If you cannot find any golden apples, royal gala is equally good as a replacement.

Sweet dough pie is rather fragile and it breaks easily. That's the reason why I rolled out the dough on a piece of cloth because it is easier to maneuver and transferring it to the pie dish than baking paper.

apple-banana chocolate crumble pie
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