Mack's Corner

This Week

Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

This doesn't have much to do with the Mediterranean Diet, but along with that I really love anything I can cook in one iron skillet.

Tarte Tatin with Crème Fraîche

4 pounds Golden Delicious apples—peeled, cored and quartered
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of allspice
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
14 ounces chilled all-butter puff pastry
Crème fraîche or whipped cream, for serving - Easy Crème fraiche= half sour cream, half cream, stir it up ..

In a large bowl, toss the apple quarters with the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and allspice.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the sugar and cook, swirling the mixture, until a deep caramel forms, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Arrange the apple quarters side by side in a ring around the skillet with the points facing in. Fill the center with as many apple quarters as possible. Lay any remaining apples on top (the apples can be packed down as they shrink). Cover and cook over moderate heat until the apples are tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out a 14-inch round and transfer it to a baking sheet. Refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.

Drape the pastry round over the apples and tuck in any overhang with a rubber spatula. Make two 2-inch slits in the center of the pastry. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Cover the tart with a large plate and very carefully invert the tart onto the plate. Serve the tart in wedges with a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream.


Apple Sharlotka

4 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of kosher salt
3 large eggs
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease the bottom and side of an 8-inch springform pan or iron skillet.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow and a ribbon forms when the beaters are lifted, 8 to 10 minutes. Gently fold in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.

Spread the apples in the prepared pan in an even layer, then pour the batter evenly over them. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the batter to sink in a little.

Bake the sharlotka for about 1 hour, until it is golden and crisp on top and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let rest for 15 minutes. Unmold and transfer to a serving platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm. If using an Iron skillet, just serve it from the skillet, sugar on top.


One Waiter per plate

One year as a fund raiser for the Hope Pre-school Special Kids inclusion class we did "Mack's French Laundry hoity toity super fancy dinner". It was $150 per person, 12 courses. Everything went great. It was lots of fun for the people eating and for us in the kitchen. I had 5 professional chefs working on it. For some reason I got the 2 dangerous jobs, shucking 140 oysters and making little ice cream cones. I think we got the meanest oysters we could find. I had gloves, 2 knives, and a can opener (the pointy kind). I gouged and poked and pried. My hands look like I was in the WWW smackdown. The ice cream cones were not really for ice cream, they were for Onion Crème Fraiche and salmon tartare. They are only 4 inches tall. What you do is put some batter in a 4 inch circle mold and then put that in a 400 degree oven for 7 minutes. Then you open the over and right there fold them around a cone mold and put them back in. 5 minutes later you get a crispy little cone. I burned the tips off of everyone of my fingers. I'm thinking of becoming a spy or a criminal now that I have no finger prints..  At the end of the first dinner all the chefs and waiters went out to be introduced to the people in the dining room and Jennifer Young said something that stunned me. We had 26 people that we were serving in the dining room and 20 people in the kitchen. Jennifer said that was the same number of people she had in the kitchen when she served 1200 people for MTV (Wednesday's at Hope now). We plated each plate for each course for each person individually and then had one plate in one waiters hand.  When a course was taken to a table, 6 waiters held 6 perfect plates and put them down all at the same time for the 6 people at the table. 50 people in the dining room having dinner, 46 people making sure it was a perfect experience. It was amazing!  

God's like that: Some people think God handles people thousands at a time, that he doesn't really have time to talk. But God not only has time for you individually,  he's right there with you every second of every day as if there was nobody else. Your personal God, totally in charge.

Wonder if I can put Elmer's glue on my fingers and peel it off to see if I still have finger prints. It worked in 2nd grade.


Posted by Mack Oates at 12:00 AM