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southern food blog
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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





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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Lovely Internet 11.20.15

1. Used to be, when we lived in Maryland, that my twang only came out when I was nervous or three sheets to the wind. These days it’s creeping back into my every day life, and I’m not mad at it. There’s just something about that North Carolina twang that makes me feel home.

2. The lovely ladies of Brine Hound (from Baltimore!) sent me an oyster shucking set with a personalized shucking block, shucking knife, and the most fabulous tea towel I’ve ever seen. I could not be happier with them, and I will definitely be giving some as gifts this holiday season to the oyster lovers in my life.

3. The lessons we learn from attending schools that are racially and socioeconomically diverse are far more valuable than any academics.

4. This is a wonderful response. Also, this.

5. I want to curl up in a pair of old yoga pants and this sweater all winter long.

6. This is not great, guys.

7. Musical Education.

8. These tweets, forever.

9. Wearing pants basically IS the worst, so you’re right about that Matt.

10. It’s time for the annual Food52 holiday swap! I can’t wait to put together this year’s box of goodies.


P.S. Just in time for the big day, I’ve put all of B&S’s holiday-friendly recipes in one space. Scroll through our Holiday Recipe index and get ready for the season of good eating!


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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Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gratin

If our Thanksgiving party last weekend had a mic drop dish, it would be this. It was gone before I could blink, and it has been the most-requested recipe of the party. Something about the sweetness of the squash and pumpkin and the cheesy, creamy, garlic gratin together. Sizzling. It took everything I had in my power not to lick the dish (I might have licked my fingers though).


pumpkin gratin 2


Pumpkin & Acorn Squash Gratin


1 medium size sugar pie pumpkin

1 medium size acorn squash

1 block white cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded asiago cheese

2 cups heavy cream

2 garlic cloves

1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 pinch of salt


Peel, core, halve, and slice your pumpkin and squash. Slices should be 1/8″- thin, but not paper thin. Grate cheese. Preheat oven to 350F.


In a medium size pot heat cream with garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Scald by bringing almost to a boil, and then cutting the heat. In a large casserole dish layer pumpkin, cheese, squash, cheese, repeat, ending with cheese. Top with asiago and a sprinkle of salt.


Remove the garlic from the cream and pour the cream into the casserole dish, pouring mainly around the edges so as not to disturb your layers. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling, browned, and smelling so good you can barely wait to dig in.

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