Emerald Isle Inspired

The east coast of the Atlantic has received an unusual amount of rain this season. Some may say it reminds them of England or Ireland. I must confess my days filming on the Emerald Isle have been filled with sunshine, warm people and yes, very tasty scones!

Watch GH Living it UP! TV segment having tea with Ireland's Rachel Allen.

Enjoy a cup of hot tea with My Irish Scone Recipe.

Park Hotel Kenmare Ireland

image, Hirsch Media

Tarte Tatin, A Confused Apple Pie

So the original legend tells that an apple tarte was made upside down by mistake—and so, I call it a confused apple pie. And the tart is still a tart with or without the e.
Believe it or not- tarte tatin is easier to make than apple pie; and could even have higher appeal because it’s served warm. So put your best pastry move on and make it for your guests for dessert, they’ll love the show! 

Heads up. There is no need to fret- you won't make a mistake with my version. There are only four ingredients. I’ve prepared this recipe thousands of times; in my restaurants, on TV shows and when entertaining guests. I haven't received one complaint yet and note, dessert plates are always empty.

My only advice, as with all new recipes and techniques prepared; please first try making it for yourself before serving. I encourage practice. Your guests may not say anything, but there is nothing worse than being the victim of a first time recipe trial. 
Back to the pastry. Follow the recipe below. Basically set up your sugar, butter, sliced apples, cover with puff pastry dough (you can buy puff pastry available at grocer's frozen section) and arrange in a non-stick pan. Cover with plastic wrap (or cling film) and place in the refrigerator until thirty minutes prior to baking. Then, follow the instructions below.

images: George Hirsch

Tarte Tatin by George Hirsch

Makes six servings

From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series | chefgeorgehirsch.com

2 large green apples, peeled, cut into quarters, remove core and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 stick sweet butter
1/4-1/2 cup pure cane granulated sugar, depends on tartness of apples
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted 

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread room temperature butter in the bottom of a nine-inch non stick oven proof sauté pan. Sprinkle sugar completely over bottom of pan. Arrange apple slices on top of sugar.  Cover apples with puff pastry dough, but do not stretch dough. Press dough lightly around the inside rim of the pan. Cut away corners of excess dough so puff pastry fits into the round sauté pan. With the tip of a knife, poke three to four tiny holes in dough.

On the stove top, begin to cook the tart on a high heat until the dough begins to bubble. This will take about 3-4 minutes. By cooking on the stove top you are browning the sugars and apples. If the dough bubbles up too high, gently pierce dough with tip of a knife to allow excess steam to escape. Once the tart has been cooked on the stove top, place the tart in the oven for ten to twelve minutes or until the pastry is light brown and fully baked.

Remove tart from oven, allow to set about thirty seconds. CAREFULLY, with a large serving platter place inverted over tart. With a towel holding the hot pan and anther hand on top of the inverted platter, turn the platter right side up and un-mold the tart from the sauté pan. 

Top with powdered sugar. Serve warm with fresh whip cream or ice cream. Enjoy your tarte tatin.

A Good Croissant

The furthest thing from a pop-and-brown repast. I’ve sampled this pastry all over the world; some excellent, some good, most poor. What's involved in doing it better than good besides traveling across the pond? Several days of labor intensive work combined with years of European style baking experience. Caution- do not attempt at home. There are no short cuts. The multi day process creates this heavenly butter-laden pastry. Desired result? Picture approximately eighty flakey layers of butter and dough that should melt in your mouth and at the same time leave crumbs all over the table. Those are the signs that you might be eating something in the vicinity of a good croissant.

As history tells, this Austrian pastry, a creation by the Emperor of Austria's French baker, was created to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during an attempted siege on Vienna in 1683. Oh shock- it’s not French, but close enough!

The other key to finding that good croissant; seek out a true boulangiere vs. the fastfood mass produced version that’s gone by way of drive-thru burgers. But, I've found one worldwide chain of Belgian origin that pulls it off, Le Pain Quotidien.