Blog - biscuits and such
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Lovely Internet 12.4.15

1. Emily McDowell said it perfectly. This is all I want for Christmas, too.

2. This. Is. Unacceptable.

3. I really  need to take care of the rotting decorative gourds in my life.

4. My friend Carrie is kicking ass all over the place.

5. Yes! Precisely!

6. Help return kitty convicts to their homes. Dress them in orange.

7. Oh thank goodness.

8. I can’t say the Pirelli calendar has been on my radar in years past, but this year it looks pretty great.

9. We have four bikes in a house with no garage, shed, or easy place to store them. This might be the answer.

10. Want to sit by the fire and drink whiskey with Nick Offerman? Done.

 

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Brown Butter Sweet Carrots

Growing up one of my favorite dishes on the holiday table were what my dad simply called “sweet carrots”, essentially baby carrots that have been simmered in sugar and butter all day long. Because everything you’ve heard about southerners and vegetables is based in some amount of truth.

 

sweet carrots 1

 

This year I gave the traditional Rosemond sweet carrots a bit of a makeover, adding bacon, brown sugar, and brown butter. Still sweet and absolutely delectable these carrots are now also little bit smoky and a little bit savory. I also grabbed a selection of the most beautiful colored carrots at the grocery store, so they were also a little bit stunning.

 

sweet carrots 4

sweet carrots 3

 

Brown Butter Sweet Carrots

 

a dozen rainbow carrots

1/2 lb bacon

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

 

Chop your bacon and add it to a skillet, along with the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until bacon has browned slightly, about 10 minutes.

 

While your bacon is cooking clean and chop your carrots into 1/2″ slices. Add to skillet, along with brown sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to coat the carrots and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes. The carrots should be soft but not mushy. Serve immediately.

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Apple Rose Tarts

 

I am absolutely willing to admit that we made these apple rose tarts for Fauxgiving just to see if we could. Because who hasn’t seen these beauties floating around the internet and heard the call of challenge? And I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy. It took three of the best brains I have at my disposal to solve the puzzle, to get the mandolin cutting just right, to make the center of the apple sit just… right. And when we were done I thought, those are gorgeous! Nobody will want to eat them, they’re too pretty.

 

apple tarts 2

 

Which was mostly true. Unlike the gratin these beauties sat on the table for hours, admired by all but touched by none. Finally someone cut one in half. And then another. And before I knew it there was only a bite of one left and I had almost missed my opportunity to try it.

 

apple tarts 3

 

In addition to being the most beautiful thing on the table (the turkey was a close second), these tarts were also the most surprisingly delicious. They were fresh, crisp, and lovely. The apples (sweet tango, my favorite) were perfectly balanced by the vanilla pudding and homemade creme fraiche. The crust was light and crunchy and it all came together as a wonderful counterpoint to the richer options on the table. Well worth the time on the mandolin, in my opinion.

 

apple tarts 4

 

Apple Rose Tarts

 

makes 6 small tarts or 1 large tart

 

pie crust:

 

2 cups flour

1 stick butter

1 tbsp sugar

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cold water

 

pudding:

 

pudding:

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar 

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup creme fraiche

3 sweet tango apples

Begin with your pie crust. In a food processor combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Pulse until combined. Slowly add in water, pulsing until a dough ball forms. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

While your dough is chilling, make your pudding. Bring milk almost to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch and sugar and whisk continuously until thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Let chill.

Heat your oven to 350F. Roll your dough out on a floured surface to 1/4″ thick. Press into greased tart tins (or one pie dish to make pie instead of mini tarts) and set on a baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes (longer for a full pie- 45minutes) or until the dough is golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.

With your mandolin thinly slice each apple. Slices should be so thin they are almost transparent, as thin as you can get them. We found that it works best to halve the apples before slicing. After they are sliced toss in lemon juice to prevent browning.

Pop your tarts out of the pan. Mix your pudding with your creme fraiche and spoon a healthy amount of pudding into each tart crust. Working from the outside in, begin to make your rose. Some trial and error comes through the process, but layer the apple slices so that they begin to spiral in towards the center. As needed feel free to use a pair of kitchen scissors to slice the apples down to the desired height. When you get to the middle take a very thinly sliced apple and roll it onto itself to make the center. We experimented with cutting darts into the apple piece to help it to hold, so I suggest you play around with this a bit. Once your apple rose is complete, take a moment to admire your handiwork and pat yourself on the back. Then instagram that immediately, you did good.

 

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