Delicious baked apples in a crusty crust

Hello friends,

So here I am talking about how to impress your guests, again, or surprise yourself with a bit of creativity.

As you probably know I like to make my guests feel special and always like to end a dinner party with something to remember, usually it happens with food. So last night we had friends over for dinner and I was looking for a simple dessert to make, not very sweet, with simple ingredients that yield a big impact. I had six apples chilling in my refrigerator that no one paid attention to and a lots of frozen puff pastry. What to do what to do. Bingo – who doesn’t like warm baked apples in a crusty crust? well…my daughters. but that doesn’t count.

After scoring, cutting, wrapping and baking, in the end I came up with these mouth-watering sparkly baked apples in a golden crusty crust with stuffing that simply tastes  a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

delicious baked apples

baked apples in crusty puff pastry

Not only that but these apples look beautiful too, like little individual presents. I mean if the apples had eyes they would blink right back at me.

It’s so easy to make even a teenager with a nose ring can do it.

so, shall we:

ingredients
1 pkg puff pastry dough, thawed and chilled
6 medium size granny smith apples
1/2 c. toasted almonds, crushed
2 tbsp honey
3 cloves cardamon, crushed
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water (for egg wash)
2 tbsp fruit jam (orange, apricot
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
preparations
Heat the oven to 375º. Wash apples, scoop the cores then peel. Try to keep the apples whole. Drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice to keep color.
For the mix: in a microwave melt the jam about 30-40 seconds just to get it easier to blend. Combine honey, crushed nuts, cardamon, zest and jam and mix well.

delicious baked applesStuff apples with the nut mix, as much as the apples can contain. Set aside.

crusty baked apples

Roll out the pastry sheet into a thin layer and cut into equal squares, roughly 5″x5″. Larger squares if you have larger apples. Place stuffed apples in the center of each square, brush inside edges with the egg wash and wrap apple with pastry sheet. Here you can get creative and wrap it anyway you like. I pulled the four corners into the center and left little “ears” sticking out (in case you feel like stuffing these tiny pockets too). Place the wrapped apples on a greased parchment paper, brush with egg wash all around and sprinkle with cinnamon powder and brown sugar. Chill for 15 min.

delicious baked applesBake from 35 to 45 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Serve warm. If you have a very sweet tooth add a side of vanilla ice cream, it’s a perfect cool/warm combo for any juice buds. Otherwise, serve the warm apple on its own making it the star.

delicious baked apple

P.S. I didn’t know it was my friend’s birthday that night (what kind of friend am I anyway?), so I quickly took a tiny birthday candle, stuck it inside the edge of the pastry and boom, instant personal birthday cake. The man was happy. Still is.

A must try. Yum.

Lemon Mousse she made in no time

lemon mousse she madeLast week we had friends over for an intimate dinner in which I prepared a scrumptious Moroccan meal they loved, loaded with flavors and colors. On the look out for a dessert I wanted to surprise my guests just a bit and offer something opposite to my Moroccan tradition. I wanted something light, fluffy, dairy free and lemony.

Bouncing ideas with my sister over the phone and a little Google research the word lemony kept repeating in my head and I’ve decided – Lemon Mousse – something I had never done before let alone eaten before. I was willing to take the risk not because it’s hard (so easy it’s ridiculous), but because it’s different and I’m always inspired by these glamorous mini French desserts and how they are served, that I was already armed with an idea for the presentation.

I’m not a double-boiler kind of girl (simply for the lack of patience) but this recipe which I find it light and quick, requires it so I decided to ignore the “inconvenience”. I’m glad I did.

lemon mousse she madeI was surprised to find that the citrusy flavor didn’t take over at all and it was absolutely a delight to eat.

Shall we:

ingredients:

3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest
4 eggs at room temperature
pinch kosher salt
fresh red raspberries for garnish

preparations:

In a double-boiler of simmering water over medium heat combine all the ingredients except for the raspberries. Whisk it all up. Do not stop whisking or you will end up with scrambled eggs in no time. Keep whisking (about five minutes? or more), and you will witness the magic process of how the mixture thickens and becomes smooth and and frothy almost like a high-end facial cream. To test: if the mixture coats the back of a spoon – it’s done. Remove from heat and gently pour the hot mixture through a strainer into a clean bowl to get rid of bits and pieces. Yes, you should notice the lemony aroma happening.

Arrange mini cups (glass cups are best so you can see through them) and pour into them the fluffy mousse you just made. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Before serving garnish each cup with fresh raspberries for added color and texture. You’d be surprised and your guests too, how airy and shockingly delicious this dessert feels and tastes.

Bon appetite