Minh Thu’s French Apple Delicacy

Minh Thu was born in Vietnam, and raised in France. She and her husband, Alan, have sailed for many years aboard their catamaran NOUVELLE VIE II. In New Zealand, they invited us aboard for a delicious Vietnamese meal. For dessert, she served this French delicacy. It is very easy and quick to make — perfect for cooking aboard a boat.

Special Equipment:

  • A pot or skillet that can be used on the stove top and in the oven
  • Pastry brush for painting the egg wash onto the top of the puff pastry

Ingredients:

  • A small package (400 gm) of frozen Flaky Puff Pastry, defrosted according to package instructions
  • 6 large cooking Apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • a pinch of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Mixed Citrus Peel
  • 1 egg, beaten with a fork

Instructions:

  1. Place the apples, brown sugar, cranberries, butter, salt and citrus peel into an oven-proof pan, on the stove top.

  2. Heat the apple mixture, tossing continually, untill the apples are mostly cooked, but not mushy.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200C (for convection oven) or 220 C for normal oven.

  4. Cut the puff pastry into four strips and roll each strip out to about 1/4 inch thick.

  5. Cut each strip in half, and lay the strips over the top of the apple mixture, creating a large “lattice” appearance.

  6. Paint the egg wash over the tops of the puff pastry strips.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove and cool.

  8. Serve warm or cold with Yoghurt, Ice cream or Cream.

Enjoy!

 

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

From: The Gourmet Cookbook, Edited by Ruth Reichl, 2004
with a few modifications by Dorothy Darden

The word biscotti comes from a verb meaning “to cook twice,” which refers to the way these cookies are made: first the dough is formed into a log and baked, then it's cut into slices and baked again until golden, crisp, and perfect for dipping into coffee or milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cups (4 ounces) dried cranberries
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) shelled natural pistachios (not dyed red)
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp water, for egg wash

Instructions:

  1. Soak cranberries in boiling water to cover in a small bowl until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, then pat with paper towels, or press into the strainer with the back of a spoon to squeeze out the liquid. (Save the soaking water and drink. It is delicious.)

  2. Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 325 F (200 C). Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.

  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat with a strong electric mixer at medium speed just until a dough forms. I use my big KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment.

  4. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix at low speed. If the dough is too stiff for the electric mixer, use your hands to knead in the pistachios and cranberries.

  5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead several times. Halve dough. Using floured hands, form each half into a slightly flattened 13-by-2-inch log on baking sheet, spacing logs about 3 inches apart. Brush logs with egg wash.

  6. Bake until golden, for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

  7. Transfer logs to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices cut sides down in one layer on baking sheet (it's fine if slices touch each other). Bake, turning once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes (or 13 minutes on each side). Transfer biscotti to racks to cool.

Tip: You can freeze or refrigerate the logs after first baking, through step 6., then slice and bake the slices when you need them, step 7. I sometimes make a double batch, and refrigerate half of the logs before step 7.

Enjoy!