Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Warm Chicken Apple Salad (Curtis Stone)

Mummy... I love this salad!

Trust me. My boy don't usually say this whenever I serve him salad. At most times, he eats his salad with heaps of salad dressing and usually decline when I offer him second serve of greens.

Mummy... I like the apples in my salad.
Me too!
Me three!

I like eating salad with apples. It does give a nice tang and crunch like the coleslaw that we enjoyed with our pulled pork sandwiches.

Today, I'm making this really really really good warm chicken salad with apples and it is a lovely recipe from Curtis Stone at Coles website. When I first saw this recipe, I knew that it is going to be a perfect warm salad for Spring or Autumn. Refreshing to eat and yet warm enough to fulfill our satisfaction. And yes, it is!

Really really really good salad? I really mean it when I say this. Please do not underestimate this ordinary-looking salad. Although it has a long list of ingredients, everything that is beautiful tastes even better when they are tossed together. 

Long list of ingredients??? Yup but please don't be intimated by this recipe as it is not difficult at all to execute. Essentially, there are four main parts of the salad and all you have to do is to make each part separately and then toss all together! No worries at all!!! Plus, I have re-written this recipe into a simplified version.

Hope that you appreciate this beautiful salad combination as much we do.

warm chicken apple salad
Warm chicken apple salad with honey vinaigrette
Here we have two pretty pink lady apples in this salad.
Part One: Roasting the pumpkin
Part Two: Pan frying the chicken strips
Part Three: Make the honey vinaigrette
Part Four: Get ready the greens...
... toasted walnut and blue cheese.
Toss all together!
This is one of the most beautiful way to enjoy apples!

Here's the recipe that I have mostly adapted from Coles

Serves 4

Part One: Roasting the pumpkin
1/2 small butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1cm thick wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 240˚C (or 220˚C fan forced), toss pumpkin with olive oil and thyme. Place onto a tray and in the oven for 15 mins or until caramelised and tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Part Two: Pan frying the chicken strips
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or any regular breadcrumbs
2 chicken breasts (about 160g each), cut into strips pounded to 1 cm with a meat mallet
1/4 cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to season
canola oil for frying

While pumpkin is cooking, season chicken strips with salt and pepper and lightly coat in flour. Shake off any excess.

Dip chicken in the egg allowing any excess to drip off, then coat the chicken evenly with breadcrumbs.

In a large frying pan, heat a 2-3 cm layer of oil over medium-high heat and cook chicken for 2-3 min per side or until golden brown and cooked through, adding more oil as needed.

Remove chicken from the pan to a baking tray and place in warm oven while preparing salad.

Part Three: Make the honey vinaigrette
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar and honey. While whisking, slowly add olive oil in a thin stream.

Part Four: Get ready other ingredients
2 apples, preferably Pink Lady Apple, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
3 tbsp parsley leaves
about 200g salad greens
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted until fragrant

While the chicken is in the oven, place walnuts on a lined baking tray and toast the nuts in the upper rack of the oven until fragrant.

In a large mixing bowl, gently toss the apples, parsley, and salad leaves with enough vinaigrette to coat. Place roasted pumpkins, blue cheese, walnut and chicken into each salad, drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette. Serve immediately. 

Enjoy this lovely salad

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Kit from I-Lost in Austen at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is APPLE for September 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 30th September 2014.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Kit from I-Lost in AustenFor more details, please see this.

What after September 2014? Eileen from Eileen's Diary will be the next hostess of October 2014 and her theme is PUMPKIN! Instead of starting on the first Tuesday of the month, her Little Thumbs Up event starts on 1st Oct 2014 and so please take note.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Triple Layered Apple Haystack Tart

Is it true that...

An apple a day keep doctor away?

I'm not sure because I don't eat an apple everyday

... but I know that eating apple tarts makes me feel happy all the way...

Why I first saw this Triple Layered Apple Haystack Tart at Nippon Nin during April, I told her immediately that I love to bake this for Little Thumbs Up Apple event in September. Am I crazy thinking too much ahead? I'm not sure but all I know is that I really like to bake this recipe.

According to Nippon Nin, this is a replicate recipe of an elegant haystack-looking tart originated from Kinzo Nishihara (西原金蔵), the owner of a famous and well-reviewed pastry shop, Au Grenier D’or (オ・グレニエ・ドール) in Kyoto.

As mentioned in its name, this is a tart constructed with three mains layers and they are:

Layer One: An apple sauce
Layer Two: A Frangipane layer
Layer Three: Haystack-looking apples


Although this tart sounds a little complicate with its multiple layers , it is actually not difficult at all to bake. To me, the most challenge thing to do here is actually requiring patience and time to cut two apples into a pile of "haystack". Yes that I did bought a new mandolin slicer specially to bake this tart but eventually chicken out when I faced these sharp potential skin-scraping blades. ugh!!! I'm sorry but this is is me, being not brave to use a mandolin slicer...

I know that I'm not the best person to judge this apple tart as I have never been to Au Grenier D’or or Kyoto in my life. All I can say that this is a cake-like sticky tart fully absorbed with natural sweetness of apples. A cake-like sticky tart? My first bite of this tart tells me instantly that this apple tart is not the same as most traditional apple tarts. The very-apple-infused tart has an almost cake-like texture. The tart base is firm but not short or crispy or flaky. Although the tart base was first baked using classic shortcrust pastry and frangipane recipes, it forms a base to absorb the moisture from the apple sauce and the haystack-looking apples at its second bake and 
eventually form a sticky kind of texture. Sticky? Yup. My second bite confirms that it is truly apple-licious!

Besides enjoying an unique tart here, baking this tart has allowed me to learn a few things about apples. Like what variety of apple to use for what kind of purposes? Using the information at here, I have used the sweet and juicy Fuji to make my sweet apple sauce and firm and tangy Granny Smith as my firm-haystack-looking apples and we are loving this sweet and sour combination. What will be your favourite apple combination?

An Au Grenier D’or inspired Triple Layered Apple Haystack Tart
These beautiful Fuji apples are used to make the first layer of this tart.
The cooked apples will release its own juice in the presence of sugar.
I can't have enough of this apple sauce. It is so delicious.
Making the frangipane, the second layer.
... and bake!
... after its first bake
Here's more apples for this tart!
No mandolin slicer for the chicken me, please!
Spread apple sauce on the baked pastry first
Then top it with a big pile of apples!
Every slice of this tart is piled with apples!
The tart base is totally infused with natural sweetness of apples...
Sticky and apple-licious! 

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from Nippon Nin. She is always the lady that I know with heaps of delicious food, displaying exquisite moods and beautiful seasonal colours.

For the tart pastry:

150g cake flour, preferably with low protein (6-8%)
1/2 tsp salt
75g butter, cold and cubed
25ml water
1 egg yolk

Using a food processor or by hand, combine flour, salt and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Mix in egg yolk and the minimal amount of water until mixture forms a dough. Wrap dough with cling wrap and allow it to rest in the fridge for at least hour or overnight.

For layer one, apple sauce:

1 large or 2 small apples, preferably Fuji, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Place apple and sugar in saucepan. Cook on low heat for 10 to 15 mins, stirring mixture occasionally until apple is thoroughly cooked tender.

Using a processor, blender or a hand blender, process the apple mixture into sauce-like consistency. Please note that the mixture doesn't have to be very smooth as some coarse bits of the sauce does enhance the overall texture of this tart.

Stir in lemon juice and set aside.

For layer two, frangipane:

50g finely ground almond (or almond meal)
50g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg, light beaten

Using wooden spoon or an electric mixer, stir ground almond and sugar in bowl until combined. Add butter and beat mixture until well incorporated. While mixing, add egg gradually in batches and mix further until well combined. Set aside.

Lightly grease and floured a 19cm or 20cm loose bottom round tart tin.

Remove pastry dough from the fridge. Allow it to rest in room temperature for 5 mins before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to 5mm thickness.

Transfer rolled dough onto the prepared tin. Lightly press the pastry into the tin, patching any cracks. Trim the edges with a knife or a rolling pin. Chill pastry in the fridge or freezer for at least 30 mins. Chilling is important here as this shortcrust pastry can shrink during baking.

Preheat the oven to 360°F or 160°C fan forced.

Spread frangipane mixture evenly on the pastry and bake for 20 mins.

For layer three, Haystack-looking apples

2 large apples, preferably Granny Smith for its firmness and tangy taste
lemon juice from 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

Remove the core of the apples but leave the skin on. Using a mandolin or a knife, cut apple into sticks. Mix apples, sugar and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl and set aside for 10 mins. to allow the apple to "sweat". Remove the apples from the mixing bowl and place them on the sheets of paper towel and pat-dry them thoroughly.

Heat oven to 360°F or 160°C fan forced. Spread about apple sauce over the tart base. Top the haystack-looking apples on top of the apple sauce without pressing the topping.

Bake the tart for 10-15 mins. When the tips of the apples start turning brown, remove the tart from the oven and cover it loosely with a foil. Return the tart into the oven and bake again for another 10-15 mins. The total baking time for this second bake is about 25 mins.

Leave it to cool slightly for 10-15 mins before removing it from the tin. Leave it to cool completely at room temperature. Dust it with icing sugar and serve.

Happy Baking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Kit from I-Lost in Austen at this post.

 

Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is APPLE for September 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 30th September 2014.

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Kit from I-Lost in AustenFor more details, please see this.

What after September 2014? Eileen from Eileen's Diary will be the next hostess of October 2014 and her theme is PUMPKIN! Instead of starting on the first Tuesday of the month, her Little Thumbs Up event starts on 1st Oct 2014 and so please take note.