Tarte Tatin {Daring Kitchen}

For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.

tarte tatin01

I like to think I know how to make pies. They are a big part of Thanksgiving in my family — we frequently have so many pies that only half of them get cut into on Thanksgiving Day, and the rest get saved for breakfast and dessert the next day. My pies are always pretty traditional, though. Apple or berry or pumpkin in a double crust or maybe a single crust topped with oatmeal streusel. Nothing fancy. All my pies have been right-side up.

Until this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge, that is. This month’s recipe was for a Tarte Tatin, a French pastry that is essentially an open-face apple pie.

With caramel.

And rough puff pastry.

So it’s a very fancy open-face apple pie.

And it tastes really, really good.

That’s probably to be expected. The ingredient list here is so short: butter, sugar, and apples make up the bulk of the filling. And while the ingredients this rough puff pastry are essentially the same as a basic shortcrust pastry(your standard pie crust recipe), the method here involves lamination, causing the pastry to puff when baked. It may sound intimidating, but if you can fold a letter and roll out dough, you can do this.

Actually, you should do this. It takes time, but the results are nothing like your grandma’s apple pie!

tarte tatin02

Tarte Tatin

from  Korena in the Kitchen


For the rough puff pastry

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup ice cold water

For the apples

  • 6 large or 7-8 medium-sized apples (Granny Smith, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, and Jonagold work well)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • pinch salt
  • 1 batch rough puff pastry


For the rough puff pastry: In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces of butter left. Make a well in the center and add cold water. Mix with a fork until the dough starts to clump together.

Turn the dough onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. Gently knead the dough to bring it together, but don’t work it too much – it should still look rough. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 10″ long. Fold the bottom up to the middle and the top down over it, like a letter. Turn the dough a 1/4 turn so the open edges are facing you. Roll out the dough until it is 10″ long again. Fold and roll again, for a total of five times. If the dough gets sticking during folding and rolling, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. After all five rolls, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the apples: Peel and quarter apples. Remove the cores so the each apple quarter has a flat inner side. Place apples in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Melt butter with remaining 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a 9″ or 10″ heavy-bottomed oven-proof skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat. Whisk until the sugar becomes a pale, smooth caramel (this took about 15 minutes for me).

Add the apple slices to the caramel, round side down. Cook over medium heat 15-20 minutes, using a spoon to cover them with some of the caramel. When the apples are starting to soften but still keep their shape, remove the pan from the heat.

Making the tart: Roll the rough puff pastry into a circle about 1″ large in diameter than your skillet. Lay it over the filling, tucking the edges between the apples and the pan. Cut a few steam vents in the top. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Increase the temperature to 400°F for the last five minutes if the pastry isn’t browning.

Remove from the oven and let sit until the caramel stops bubbling. Place a serving platter that is larger than your skillet upside down on top of the pan, and carefully flip so the tart ends up on the serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Sweet Potato White Bean Burgers

I discovered Kroger brand organic sweet potato chips a few weeks ago and was so excited when they went on sale this week. However, apparently everyone else got excited as well because the two times I’ve been to the store recently there have been no sweet potato chips. None. Zero.

It’s because sweet potatoes are pretty trendy right now.

I like to think, though, that my love of sweet potatoes started way before they got trendy. In one of my favorite kids’ books, The All-of-a-Kind Family, the family (in the early 20th century) visits the Jewish market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Each of the five children has something like a penny to spend on a snack. Two get candy, one gets a pickle, one gets hot salt-and-pepper roasted chickpeas, and the last gets half of giant sweet potato, from a vendor with an oven on a push-cart.

Doesn’t that sound great?

Especially in the dead of winter?

(We got hit with another snowstorm on Thursday.)

Most of us probably don’t have nice old men pushing around carts selling roasted sweet potatoes for a penny each. This is a decent alternative, though.

Like most homemade burgers, these Sweet Potato White Bean Burgers don’t hold up as well as commercial, store-bought veggie burgers. But what they lack in structural integrity they make up for in flavor. Sweet potatoes themselves are flavor-packed (and super healthy!). Paired with yellow onions, garlic, and paprika, these pair sweet with a little kick.

And topped with sriracha and avocado slices?! Don’t get me started.

sweet potato white bean burgers

Sweet Potato White Bean Burgers

adapted from The Lunch Box Bunch

makes 5-6 patties (more or less, depending on size and thickness)


  • 1 medium sweet potato, roasted and peeled
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, such as cannellini
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 frozen chopped kale, thawed


Mash together sweet potato and white beans. Stir in spices, onion, kale, and flour. Form into 5-6 patties.

Fry in a hot skillet lightly coated with your favorite cooking oil (try canola, olive, or coconut) until cooked through. Alternately, sear the burgers before finishing by baking in a 400°F oven for 10-15 minutes.

Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container.

Flourless Almond Butter Apple Muffins {GF}

Super moist healthy muffins made with oat flour and applesauce!

almond butter apple muffins

It finally feels like real winter here in West Virginia. In November we had a cold snap and there was a week with snow flurries and 20 degree weather, then it warmed up. December hovered in the 30s and mid-20s. So did January. But now, February almost through and winter is in full force. All my cute clothes are hibernating as I can’t leave the house in anything but jeans (over leggings) and Sorel boots, and of course my giant winter coat.

We’ve had several days where it never got above 10 (in Fahrenheit, that is) and nights are often below 0. That’s not even factoring in windchill. And in the past week, it’s snowed so much with periods of white out conditions.

I know, it’s not just West Virginia. The majority of the country is facing cold, wintry weather, and there are probably plenty of places that are colder. But still.

Luckily, my job is pretty flexible and not 9-5 (though it will be soon), so on days when it’s been really cold I’ve been able to work from home or only work a half day. The office is in an old industrial building and thus the heating is awful.

Luckily, again, this means I have more time to spend in the kitchen. When it’s cold and snowy, all I want to do is bake and drink hot chocolate. At least, until I get cabin fever. Then I go outside for a bit, and come home to make more warm beverages.

Flourless Almond Butter Apple Muffins

adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

makes about 10 muffins


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 T oat flour (or 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, finely ground)*
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats*
  • 1 T flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple
  • 1/3 cup raisins or 3-4 T chopped pecans (optional)

*Make sure your oats are gluten-free if you need these to be gluten-free!


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin tins–the original recipe warns against using cupcake papers, but I have not tried this and cannot attest to what would happen if you did that.

In a large bowl, combine applesauce, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, brown sugar and egg. Beat in oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in old-fashioned oats, flaxseed, chopped apple, and nuts/raisins (if using).

Bake 16-18 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from tins and serving.

King Cake

king cake01


I’ve never been one for Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Carneval celebrations. They haven’t been a part of the local culture anywhere I’ve lived except for Austria (you can read a little about that here), so this was the first King Cake I ever ate as well as the first one I ever made. If you, like me, have never had or made one, here’s what to expect: it’s a pretty basic yeast cake filled with a mixture of sweet cream cheese, pecans, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Tradition calls for a toy baby representing Jesus to be hidden inside, but that got overlooked in my cake.

king cake02


No matter. With or without a plastic baby Jesus (or bean, or other substitute), this cake will surely be a crowd-pleaser. The cream cheese filling is slightly tangy to balance the rich, sweet buttermilk glaze. The cake itself, a broiche-like dough, has a nice tender crumb. The flavors meld together perfectly.

king cake03


So while the rest of the blogosphere becomes inundated with red and pink things for Valentine’s Day (Happy Valentine’s Day), how about giving this cake a try instead?

King Cake

slightly adapted from Saveur


For the dough

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 2 T light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

For the filling

  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

For the frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • splash vanilla extract
  • sanding sugar or sprinkles, to decorate


For the dough: In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine yeast, water, and a pinch of sugar and allow the yeast to activate and become foamy, 5-10 minutes. Add sugars, milk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and beat until combined. Add flour and salt and mix. Using the dough hook attachment, knead on high for four minutes.  Add the butter and continue kneading for another six minutes until fully incorporated. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

For the filling: Cream together cream cheese, brown sugar, pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest.

Make the cake: Punch down the dough and turn out onto a clean, floured surface. Roll the dough into a large circle about 1/4″ thick. Poke a hole in the center and gently stretch and widen the hole. Halfway between the edge of the dough and the edge of the hole, place dollops of the filling. Starting with the outside edge, roll the dough over the filling to form a ring. The seam should be hidden. Cover and let sit for one hour.

Bake the cake at 350°F for thirty minutes, until golden brown.

To frost: Let the cake cool completely. Whisk together powdered sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour or spread over the cake, and decorate with sanding sugar or sprinkles.

(My friend who is from The South where Mardi Gras is more of a thing would like to add the following instructions for hiding a baby inside the cake: BABY. Strategically place the baby where only your favorite person will be expected to seek it. Alternatively–the preferred method–hide multiple babies and cause chaos!)

Cranberry Pecan Scones

Perfect for breakfast or brunch, these scones are packed with dried cranberries and pecans.

cran pecan scones01

As the blogosphere becomes inundated with Game Day foods, I present to you: breakfast. Sports and I do not really get along–I’ve given many of them a try, but there are usually other things I’d rather be doing with my time.

The only reason I knew that the Superbowl was coming up was because of all the food bloggers.

Which brings me back to breakfast. Or brunch. Fantastic meals, right?

If you need something new for your breakfast or brunch table, how some scones?

These Cranberry Pecan Scones are on the heartier side. They’re big, not like some dainty high tea scone, and studded with cranberries and pecans. True to the quick bread name, they can be whipped up in just a few minutes. Just whisk together your dry ingredients, cut in the butter, and some liquid and your mix-ins, knead and shape, then into the oven they go.

(That may have sounded like a lot of steps, but trust me, it’s not.)

Cranberry Pecan Scones

makes 8 scones

adapted from Martha Stewart


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 T sugar, plus 1 T sugar for sprinkling (I experimented date sugar, but granulated or demerara will do)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 T butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Work in butter with your fingertips, a fork, or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Stir in milk until just moistened. Add in cranberries and pecans.

On a clean, lightly floured surface knead the dough briefly. Pat into a circle or rectangle about 1″ thick, then cut into eight wedges or squares. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar.

Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Somewhere between a cake and a quick bread, this decadent loaf perfectly marries chocolate and bananas!

choc banana bread01

Reader, I want to apologize for posting my Saturday posts on Sundays. But lately, my Saturdays (and my Mondays through Fridays) seem to be disappearing. The daylight hours–the times I might try to photograph the things I cook–especially seem to be disappearing quickly.

Take yesterday, for example. I spent most of the day working on a project with some fellow AmeriCorps members, and by the time I was finished the sun was close to setting. Not that it makes a huge difference, as my town is notorious for gray skies and rain. And due to poor planning, I had nothing ready to share with you in advance.

However, after the sun set I did get to do some baking. A whole lot. Maybe too much. There may have been a chocolate overload, something I did not know was possible. Some friends came over to finally have a baking and Jane Austen movie night as we had discussed many, many months ago. It turned into a chocolate-fest and board games instead, which is just as acceptable. We made brownie sundaes, Oreo balls, and this banana bread.

This Double Chocolate Banana Bread is rich and almost like a chocolate cake, but the banana flavor still comes through. Plus, it’s studded with chocolate chips and features a hint of cinnamon. And is a great companion to the game Bananagrams, which is maybe the best game ever.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

from Smitten Kitchen


  • 3 medium-large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used half regular and half Black Onyx by Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Mix together bananas, melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sift in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, flour, and cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 to 15 minutes before removing to serve or cool completely on a wire rack.

Posted to Sweet & Savoury Sundays!