Saturday, November 30, 2013

Caramel Apple Tarts

Most of the time, when Ben and I go out to eat, I kindly decline when the server hands me a dessert menu.  It's mostly because if I get a good look at the decadent desserts that are available, there's no way that I'd be able to NOT order one.  Sometimes, I don't even need to SEE the dessert, the description in the menu is enough to convince me that I NEED to try it. 

Ben is just the opposite.  He peruses the dessert menu with such intensity that you would think he was selecting the next Presidential candidate.  He takes his dessert very seriously.  Most of the time he chooses something fruity and warm.  I think it's because he knows if he orders chocolate - he's going to HAVE to share with me.

I saw a picture of a caramel pecan tart in my southern living magazine and this dessert had Ben's name all over it.  Warm and fruity and topped with ice cream and nuts!  This one's for you, honey.

Caramel Apple Tarts
1 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups peeled and sliced apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 pints vanilla ice cream
caramel sauce
1/2 cup lightly salted roasted pecans

Combine first 4 ingredients in food processor.

Pulse 10-12 times until crumbly.

Press into 8 greased mini tart pans.

Set on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350.

Remove tarts from pans carefully.

Peel 4-5 apples.

Slice apples into thin slices.

Toss apples into skillet with 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Cook over low heat until liquid is thick and syrupy.

Fill tart shells with caramelized apples.

Top with 3 small ice cream scoops, a drizzle of caramel sauce and some chopped pecans.

This little tart was beautiful and elegant and most importantly - DELICIOUS!

I think that there may be a few of these around my dessert table this Christmas.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Chicken and Rice Soup

I hope that all of you were able to gather with your family and friends around a Thanksgiving table this week to create some new memories.  The relationships that happen around the table and in the kitchen are much more important than the food that is served.

I always plan for a few extra servings of turkey on Thanksgiving so that there are plenty of leftovers.  We look forward to turkey sandwiches and wraps all weekend.  I also have big plans for that turkey carcass - SOUP!

I made a test batch of soup a couple of weeks ago.  Remember that bistro roast chicken?  Well, it was so flavorful and juicy that I couldn't bear to waste any of it.  I carved off as much meat off of the carcass as I could and then I used the rest to make the most delicious chicken soup.

I found my inspiration for my soup on the Williams Sonoma website and even though their version was for a turkey soup - my chicken was a great substitute.  I am going to give you the Williams Sonoma version as it appears on the website - just in case you would prefer to do it with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey.