Yesterday, I ran into someone in my class at the gym when I was at the grocery store picking up the ingredients for this recipe. She said to me, as we were bemoaning our mutual attempts to drop a few pounds for health reasons, that she'd not been cooking at home very much lately. She'd just not been able to get herself motivated and couldn't figure out what to do about it or how to get over this hump.
What struck me, and it directly relates to this blog, is that this is not a unique point of view. I've heard this same sentiment from several people, and at least one fellow blogger has admitted to the same thing. Is there some major culinary slump going on? I don't think that this has to do with the economy, as good cooks and those who love to muck about in the kitchen will do so no matter how much or little they have to spend on ingredients. It just seems as though there's some type of long dry spell taking place at the moment. I can plead guilty to have fallen victim to this same malaise (I just like to use that word.).
With spring and all the great green produce coming out, I'm hoping to pull myself out of this slump. Actually, truthfully, I've been trying the past few weeks to bake my way out of it. This, of course, runs counter to what I was trying to accomplish by watching what I eat more carefully and not to over-indulge. So, where is the balance? I'm not sure.
This week, inspired by a recipe that I found when I decided to sit down last week to cull the pile of articles I'd pulled from cooking magazines, I attempted to make something that has long been on my must-have, must-learn-to-make list: Chassons aux Pommes or Apple Turnovers (not to be confused with Apple Dumplings). Orangette had published the recipe in an article in the November 2008 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Here are my results below:
Here are my confessions: I didn't go through the expense of using real, all-butter puff pastry - I used the regular store-bought stuff; I added about 1/2 tsp of almond extract to the filling and will do so again; I cut the dough into six squares and used both sheets in the box to make a dozen, as I found using eight squares and throwing away one to be wasteful; and I agree that the filling needs to be cut in half, as I actually made two batches in order to use up everything. My first attempt yesterday I tried to follow the directions exactly. This is a recipe that I've tried to make before, although not this version of it. I've wanted to have one on file for weekend guests, as I think this is a lovely treat.
What would I do next time? I'd follow some of the suggestions that the commenters on Epicurious.com had. I'd cut the filling recipe in half at least (maybe by 1/3). The apple combo was o.k. but I might try to make it with some varieties that are available at the Greenmarket, instead. Because I like the apple-almond flavor combo, I might also put in some ground almonds into the fruit filling. For guests, I'd splurge and buy the all-butter dough. I'd also stick to my guns that larger squares are better and easier to handle. They make a more breakfast-friendly sized pastry, in my opinion, which is just how I plan to devour them during the course of the next week or so.