Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dessert in a skillet

Mmm, apples. We're off to a good start.

After a holiday potluck at work last week and an early celebration of Thanksgiving this weekend with Miguel's family, I feel more prepared, cooking-wise, for this Thursday with my family. Get this: I learned how to make gravy! I'm sure someone in my family already plans to take care of this step, as — somehow! — it's always been handled without my help in years past. But if needed in a pinch, I can toast up that flour and whisk in the drippings like a pro. At least, I feel as though I could after watching over the shoulder of Miguel's sister's mother-in-law, who gave her tutorial in Spanish. Another lesson: I now know the Spanish word for "lumps."

Juicy, sliced apples on a stove top? You bet!

There's no way you can go wrong with a flaky crust, right?

I'm also a little more wise about attempting slightly ambitious desserts for such a well-attended occasion. Let's just say it's a good thing that other people brought multiple pies and cakes and fluffy marshmallow concoctions. My tarte Tatin, though intended to be an effortlessly glamorous French take on a traditional apple pie, was not only under-caramelized but also mushy and even a tad green. I blame that one weirdly hued corner on an unripe Golden Delicious.

I'm tempted not to publish such things and save myself from further embarrassment. But I feel a little better being able to point out that it tasted fine — but probably not as good as the one Dorie Greenspan baked in Michele Norris' kitchen — and that one of Miguel's cousins said it was one of his favorites. I guess this is the inherent trouble with upside-down desserts. I think if I try this recipe again, I'll do the caramelizing first and wait until the sugar has become dark before adding in the apple layer.

Oh, my. Hey, the chocolate cake is looking good...

But that tart was only one of many desserts I'll make this week. I am undeterred. The only thing is, I have so many family/favorite/brand-new-favorite-blog recipes I want to cook up for Thanksgiving, I haven't even been able to decide yet what I'll be making. One of everything??

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