The city has been getting a steady flow of snow since Friday evening and it finally feels like winter – the storybook kind; not the wet-bone-chilling-tundra kind. I went out for a short walk to the library and the grocery store mostly because it was a chance to bust out my snow shoes which saw no action last season.
I came home being reminded of the good old times when such a trip would warrant a nice pouring of a good bourbon. My mouth watered as I opened the liquor cabinet and longingly stared at the bottle of Bulleit. A kick from the baby brought me back into focus and I grabbed the Grand Marnier instead and decided to bake some apple tarts from things that I had laying around the kitchen pantry.
Apple tartlets are easy but time consuming. Thankfully I had nothing better to do. I decided to make the crust out of the ground nut mixer given to me by my mom-in-law. It has cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and saffron. It smells amazing and when added to a glass of cold or warm milk makes for liquid crack. I was also excited to use my little tin tart shells for the first time which I bought a long time ago but never used since I usually make one big tart instead of small tartlets.
I didn’t follow a recipe and instead used my judgement to combine what I had on hand. The end result was tasty and would have been even more so with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Also, for next time I’ll add a couple of more apples to make the filling layer slightly thicker and more apple-y. Overall, it was the second best way to spend my winter afternoon.
Apple and Nut Tarts
120g nut meal
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling on top
1 tbsp apricot preserve
1 tbsp Grand Marnier or any other orange liquor
Cinnamon to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Heat oven to 350F.
Melt butter on stove top on low heat. Add melted butter to nut meal along with the sugar. Mix and divide equally between 4 tart shells. Press down to create an even layer and bake in oven for 5-6 minutes.
Chop the apples in even cubes and add to the same pot used for melting butter. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes. If the apples are sticking, add a couple of tablespoons of water. Add 1 tbsp of Grand Marnier and cook the apples uncovered until the alcohol evaporates. Cover and cook until apples are soft and mushy. Mash to make apple sauce.
Layer the apple sauce in the partially baked tarts. Top with sliced apples and a sprinkling of sugar. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until the crust starts to come away from the sides. Since nuts burn easily, make sure to lower the oven temperature if necessary.
Once baked, top the sliced apples with thinned apricot preserves. Enjoy.
These are gluten free and can be made vegan by substituting coconut oil instead of butter.