Tag Archives: apple

A Pie Class with Joy the Baker: Pics, Tips, and Memories

28 Oct

I started Figs in My Belly in June, 2009. At that point in my life, I was living in California, getting a degree in Nutritional Science, staging (interning) in the kitchen at a small handful of restaurants, working at a cooking camp for kids, and making dinners for my housemates at the co-op where I lived. Oh, and I was totally obsessed with Joy the Baker and her blog.

That August, I heard about a rooftop picnic in downtown Los Angeles that Joy was hosting and jumped on the opportunity. I brought my mom along and we spent the afternoon enjoying Joy’s biscuits, fried chicken, coleslaw, and cupcakes while mingling with other Joy the Baker fans.

Cut to more than five years later, and I now live in New York City with a short (four-year-long) pastry cook career currently on pause while I finish up a graduate degree in Nutrition Education and a dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. And, as you might have guessed, I am still totally obsessed with Joy the Baker and her blog.

Joy is currently on tour for her latest cookbook, Homemade Decadence. I attended her book signing at The Brooklyn Kitchen, and the following weekend, my friend Michelle and I drove up to King Arthur Flour in Vermont, where Joy was teaching a hands-on pie making class. Joy taught two four-hour pie classes on the same day. She is a warrior.

I’ve made my share of pies in the past, but pie still intimidates me, and I wanted to gain some pro tips to boost my pie confidence. Plus, my friend Michelle never made her own pie before, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn. We road tripped for pie! Continue reading

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Apple Tart

1 Jan


The very first thing I made with my new standing Kitchen Aid mixer was a batch of tart shell dough. I made the dough, wrapped it up, and stuck it in the freezer for “emergencies.”

I brought my dough over to Linda’s house yesterday because I thought we might want something more to play with! We rolled out the dough and placed it in a tart shell. We spread the shell with a layer of wild plum jam and then we layered apples from her apple tree in concentric circles around the tart, but first we tossed the apples with a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. We made sure not to add too much sugar because we liked the balance of the sweet crust with a nice tart apple. To top it all off, we sprinkled some raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar over the tart. This gave the tart a nice little crunch of sweetness!


I think this may be one of the best apple tarts that I have EVER tasted. Seriously. Not too sweet, but just sweet enough. The crust is perfect. And the apples are so thin and pack a punch full of flavor! Oh, and I absolutely love the combo of the wild plum jam with the apples. Mmm mmm mmm!

Now, laying your tart dough in the pan can be pretty tricky. My goal is to do it like snow white. Even after doing it over and over at work, I still have trouble. Your dough may break here and there, but the dough is pretty malleable and you can just patch things up where you need.

Sweet Tart Dough
from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food

makes enough for one 9-inch tart or six 4-inch tartlets, or 30 cookies (you can make thumbprint cookies!)

Beat together until creamy:
8 Tablespoons (1 stick)
1/3 cup sugar
Add and mix until completely combined:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolkAdd:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

Mix well, stirring and folding, until there are no dry patches. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight until firm (you could probably just chill for 1 hour and be fine). Or, freeze. Just be sure to defrost for a few hours before ready to use.

Fun variations:
-mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into the flour
-substitute some of your all-purpose flour with cornmeal

Apple Tart
invented
1 Sweet Tart Dough (optional: you can pre-bake your shell for 10-12 minutes, but it is not necessary)

Wild plum jam, or any jam of your choice
Apples from Linda’s tree (or any good baking apple), peeled and sliced thinly
Cinnamon, a few pinches
Sugar, maybe 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons
Lemon juice, maybe 1 Tablespoon

Optional: raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar for finishing

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil your tart pan.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll your tart dough into a 12- inch disk. Carefully transfer to the tart pan.

2. Spread with a layer of plum jam.

3. Combine your apples, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice. Arrange over the dough in concentric circles.

4. Sprinkle with raw/turbinado sugar.

5. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. If your edges start to brown, cover with foil and continue baking.

6. Cool and take your gorgeous tart out of the pan. Serve warm with ice cream, coffee, or on its own.