Ahhh…. the old childhood song and rhyme to celebrate Jack O Lantern time. Nothing says fall like Halloween. Houses in the neighbourhood are decorating with hues of golden yellow, orange and black. Corner to corner, say hi to Mr and Ms. Pumpkins, Witch, Jack o lantern and Bones. A toothy grin came across my face as the sight of these decorations bring back memories of smiling little kids racing up and down the street in their costumes. Music rings my ear and warms my heart when I hear the pitter patter of little feet and fists knocking on doors saying the magical words. The neighbourhood comes alive with glowing jack-o-lanterns and fire works. In quest to make this years Halloween memorable I decided to buy some decorations and am waiting for the day to arrive in anticipation 🙂
The Halloween spirit really is infectious but in a good way. Throughout the city, one could see decorations of Mr. Jack O Lantern. Staff at department stores are even enjoying this spirit as they are out in costumes. At any rate, Halloween certainly is gainly popularity…yippee for the candy lovers and pumpkin carvers. This weekend was entertaining as chefs around town competed in a Jack O Lantern competition. Let the photos be the words.
Jack O Lanterned out? Never….there is more from where that came from stay tuned…but now for some goodies. Nothing says more like Fall than Apples. Crisp, sweet, crunchy and juicy, Apples are at the top of its game. Inevitably, I lost out to my baking itch 😛 This time, I made some apple tart with creme d’almonde. Enamored by tart shells, I wondered as to how to improve my pate sucre. It was very good, but I recently tried one that was even better. Christophe Felder to the rescue. I finally found a pate sucre that was equivalent to the pastry shop. The secret was using icing sugar instead of granulated sugar. Icing sugar tend to be more light hence resulted in a lighter pastry.
Felder suggested beating the sugar and butter together, a cookie dough method, but I chose to combine the butter and flour together first, biscuit method. The pastry dough would be lighter. As for the creme d’amande, I combined freshly toasted ground almonds and pistachios together. Apples were the centre piece. As a note to readers, don’t omit the jam. The jam acted as a barrier to the tart dough and creme almond ensuring a light pastry when baking. Bake at 360F approx 30 minutes.
Once done, I glazed the tarts and topped them with ground pistachios.
Pate Sucree Christope Felder (adapted)
1 stick butter
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
1 vanilla bean
3 tbsp-25 g ground almonds ( I used approx 50g almonds and pistachios)
1 pinch salt
1 2/3 cups (200 g) all purpose flour.
The recipe was a keeper. A fine tart it was as it had a light and crispy crust along with a fragrant nutty interior that complimented the apples.
Happy Halloween All !!!!