Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Caramel Apple Tarts...........................

I feel like I am a broken record when it comes to me saying how much I love fall but I just can't help it, it is one of my most favorite seasons.  And this past Saturday just so happened to be the first day of fall, so Thad and I went to the cutest little store down the road from us that sells baked goods, Amish jams and jellies, local fruits, veggies, grows mums and sells pumpkins and honestly it is like a fall wonderland and all it did was get me excited for fall.   We then returned home and I made Thad crawl into the attic and get out the Halloween decor.

But the first day of fall was not going to be complete without making an awesome fall recipe and I did not have to look far for inspiration.  I love getting my fall magazines, full of amazing fall pictures and fall recipes.  I got my Southern Living last month and it was jammed packed with recipes all featuring apples and what could be more fall than apples.

There were so many recipes to choose from but I decided to settle in on the Caramel Apple Ice-cream Tarts.  I used that recipe as inspiration and tweaked it according to my liking. I chose this recipe because there were cute little individual tarts topped off with sauteed apples, ice-cream , toasted pecans and homemade caramel.  Now if that does not sound good then  "you need to get on out of here" (a Thad phrase).  I made them and then presented a decked out plate to the master taster.....Thad and he loved it.  He even put this dessert in his top 5 which is big if you know Thad Forester.  This is the perfect fall dessert for a dinner party or just a chilly evening at home.  The smells that will fill your kitchen will give you fall fever and this recipe itself will get your taste buds ready for fall........

Caramel Apple Tarts
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup powdered sugar 
1/3 cup cornstarch 
4 tablespoons butter 
4 cups peeled and diced Gala apples (4-5 apples)
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream  
1/2 cup roasted pecans 

Start off by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor 10 to 12 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Then spray the individual tart pans and then using the mixture, firmly press on bottom and up sides of 8 (3 3/4-inch) or 4 (6 inch) round tart pans with removable bottoms. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. While tarts are Baking, begin on the caramel sauce since it needs time to cool slightly (see recipe below).

Once tarts are browned, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack just until you are able to handle the tart pans.  Once cooled slightly, I turn each tart over and tap the bottom until the tart pan sounds hallow to make sure the tart comes out in pretty form.

Then melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add apples and brown sugar. I also added 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.  Once all ingredients are all combined, make sure to stir constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until the apples are tender and caramelized.

Caramel Sauce
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream 
1/4 cup honey

Bring brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool 15 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. To reheat, microwave at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or just until warm; stir until smooth.

To assemble, take the tart shell, fill with sauteed apples, then place three hardy scoops of ice cream on top, then add the caramel sauce and top it all off with some roasted pecans.  This recipe will send your taste buds reeling, just the apples, with the creamy ice cream and homemade caramel topped with roasted pecan.....you can't go wrong.  Such a perfect fall dessert that will wow any guest!  Definitely a keeper!

 Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This is how we Roll Tide Roll........

To start each season off right we must place our scripted "A" on the door for good luck!
I love fall and this morning I woke up to a briskness in the air and although there is still some warm weather to come, it got me all excited for fall. I love all the cliche things about fall, changing leaves, apple cider and pumpkins, but also what fall symbolizes is College Football. I never really cared for football until I moved to the South and married a die hard Alabama fan and pretty much my life changed from there. I came to love game days on the quad in Tuscaloosa. And over time I grew to love game days on the quad more than Thad. I fell in love with the feel, the festivities and the smell of BBQ in the air.

Thad and I figured out the other day that this is our 5th football season we have spent together and in that time we have started some game day traditions that are pretty important to us. We both love tradition, good food and the Tide, so that basically makes a perfect combo for a perfect game day.

We recently moved from Tuscaloosa (Home of the Tide) to Trussville, a suburb of Birmingham. Since we no longer are in the center of all the action, we need to work a little harder to create a great game day atmosphere in our home. Usually mid-week we start talking about what we are going to make for game day and when I say "we", I mean Thad puts in his request and I make it. So we plan out our menu and enjoy the sounds of football playing on the TV and the smell of good food cooking in the air. I thought we would share with you a typical game day at the Foresters and show you how we Roll Tide Roll.........

So to start off with we had pigs in a blanket and they were the perfect appetizer for a football game
After the appetizer of pigs in a blanket we had some yummy homemade chili which I had cooked in the a crock-pot and the let all flavors marinate for several hours
Then Thad requested I make one of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.........New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

After our three course game day meal we sat on the couch and watched the Tide beat Arkansas in a 52-0 shutout. We definitely felt the Alabama spirit in our home on Saturday and hope to each game day, from here on out. Now we have to get to work on this Saturday's game day menu. Stay tuned................

Roll Tide!