Tuesdays with Dorie, chosen by Leslie at Lethally Delicious. I have to admit, I generally am really not a fan of baked fruit. I do however, really love me some puff pastry. With how simple this recipe was, I knew it would be a simple one to pull off, even with a busy week. Of course, with me, that usually just means that I'm going to complicate things for myself somehow.
A quick note before I get much further though - do you know what this Friday is? Besides being October 1st it will be the very first post for the brand spankin' new French Fridays with Dorie celebrating and cooking our way through her new book - Around My French Table (which she is incidentally out on tour with right now). This week's first recipe is a favorite of mine and if you don't have your book yet, you really ought to go ahead and order one. You won't regret it! Also, if you didn't see the article, you can read a nice article that the Post-Gazette did about our own Laurie & Dorie :) This group is going to be awesome!
This week's complication turned out to be by making the recipe twice so that I could perform my own little puff pastry test. Back when we made the little parisian apple tartlets for TWD I made the rough puff pastry recipe from Martha Stewart's site (you have to watch the video with Michel Roux - it is so great and the perfect simple tutorial).
I made one version from the rough puff pastry and one from the Pepperidge Farms frozen puff pastry. The rough puff once again beat out the frozen stuff hands down for flavor, flakiness, and texture. The PF puff pastry was good, but the homemade puff pastry really made this dessert something special.
No surprise that I did the sweeter version over in the 'playing around' section of the book with the added butter and sugar under and over the apples. I also added a little sprinkle of cinnamon since it is just always such a natural pairing in my book. I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this dessert, but only the homemade pastry version (the other I ate a couple bites and was done). As I mentioned, I don't like baked fruit all that much, especially apples, so I think that the fact that they were sliced so thin really made a difference for me. I would definitely make this again... but probably only when I have some more homemade pastry on hand.
As much as I loved making my own puff pastry, and how delicious it turned out, I haven't done it more than a couple of times. Not so much because of the effort or even the time and performing the different 'turns'. It was actually the mess. As you can see in the video you dump a huge pile of flour and an equally huge pile of little cubes of butter onto your countertop and go to work.
In a house with three small children running around, as you can imagine, counter space is a precious commodity and it will come as no surprise to anyone out there that any time I want to make something that has any time on the counter I have to perform a deep cleaning to feel like I can use the space. With little kids, believe me, a simple nice thorough wipe-down is never enough!
I spent quite a while going through their site browsing and when I found this huge, silicone pastry mat I knew I had to try it out. The thought of having a sturdy, non-stick, easily cleanable surface to use for breads, cookies, pastries, etc - I had to try it. Thanks to CSN Stores sending me one I was able to have one and try it out.
The main thing I can say about this pastry mat is that I can't believe I've gone so long without one! Oh, how much I love this mat. It is huge for one thing - that is no small mound of flour and butter you see there either. The work space was clean, plentiful and perfect. Cleaning up couldn't have been easier since I just removed any left over mess to the sink and washed up, leaving my countertops clean as well.
The ordering process with CSN was simple and easy, and best of all, my pastry mat arrived promptly within a couple of days. I really enjoyed going through their site and being able to read reviews of products from others as well as having all the product specifications right there.
If you have a baker in your life, or want to get started a little early on your holiday wish list, I definitely recommend that you put this pastry mat at the top of your list. In fact, forget getting it for the holidays - you need this BEFORE then so that you can really pull out all the stops for your holiday baking! Just think of all the things you could do! I know I am.
To help you along the way, CSN Stores is offering a $25 gift code to one lucky reader to use off of anything in any of their stores. All you need to do to enter the giveaway go check out CSN Stores and leave a comment on this post before Thursday, September 30 at midnight MST telling me what you would get. That way, by the time all the comments are in, we'll have one heck of a wish list going right here I'll bet! The winner will be drawn using Random.org.
For second entry in the drawing tweet about this giveaway and include @PheMom in the tweet so I know about it and in case I don't already follow you on Twitter. Then LEAVE ANOTHER COMMENT telling me you tweeted so that it's in the drawing.