Apple Rustic Tart

Rustic Apple Tart

My best friend came over today with her little month old baby and we got to spend the afternoon baking! My dad brought some apples from my parents’ house where they have a few apple trees so I had a ton of apples to use for recipes (I made this applesauce last week too!). My pie pans have disappeared since our move last October, so instead of making apple pies, we decide to make Apple Rustic Tarts. This recipe says that the prep is about 30 minutes but if you’re also watching a baby and a toddler it takes like 3x that long…

Apple Rustic Tart

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

For the Crust

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup cold water

For the Filling

1 -1/2 lbs apples (appx 3 large)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt

For Assembly

1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp apricot preserves, for glaze

Instructions

Prepare the crust:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar and pulse briefly to mix.

  3. Add the cold butter and process just until the butter is the size of peas, appx 5 seconds. Then, add the ice water to the mixture and process just until moistened and very crumbly, about 5 seconds.

  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it until it comes together into a cohesive ball, just a few times. Split the dough into two equal balls.

  5. Flour your work surface again and sprinkle one of your dough balls with flour, as well. Using a rolling pin, roll the ball into a circle appx 12 inches in diameter, turning and adding more flour as necessary so the dough doesn’t stick. Transfer the dough to the parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Repeat with the second ball of dough.

Make the filling:

  1. Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/8-inch-thick slices (you should have about 4 cups) and place in a large bowl.

  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, melted butter, and salt; toss to combine.

Assemble the tart:

  1. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the pastry. Arrange the apple slices on top in overlapping concentric circles to within 2 inches of the edge. Work quickly so the dough doesn’t get too warm. Fold the edges of the dough over the apples, working your way around and creating pleats as you go.

  2. Using a pastry brush, brush the pleated dough evenly with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the crust and apples. Chill the assembled tart in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. Prepare the second tart and place it in the fridge as well.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the center position.

  4. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden and cooked through.

  5. While the tart bakes, make the glaze. In a small bowl, mix the apricot jam with 1-1/2 teaspoons hot water. About 2-3 minutes before your tarts finish baking, remove them, brush the tarts with the apricot glaze, and put them back in the oven for the final two minutes. Remove and let cool.

  6. Transfer the tart to a serving plate or cutting board. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature. The tart is best served on the day it is made, but leftovers make for a delicious breakfast treat the next day!

PROJECT | #MelrosePlaceHouse

Tacoma Home Renovation

I'm so excited to share the big news that we just closed on our first flip house!  This has been a long time coming, something I've been planning for over a year and have been thinking about for several years.  After Jack was born I really felt like I needed to reclaim myself and in early 2018 I decided that this year I needed to give birth to something creative for myself.  I vowed that in 2018 I would flip at least ONE house.  I've been trying to get a house since January and have been learning the ins and outs of house flipping and real estate investing, and I still feel like I've only seen the tip of the iceberg with all this stuff, but I also know that I learn by doing so this will be a big learning process.

So here she is in all her day-1 glory. We just got our dumpster delivered so we can finally finish up our trash-out!

There you have it. It’s not going to need a lot in terms of any structural changes, it’s primarily a cosmetic fix, but we are adding a bedroom within the current footprint!

Here’s the original layout:

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Basically one half of the house is bedrooms/bathrooms, and the other side is one big open space (with a couple pony walls) of living and kitchen. Normally I’m all about the open concept life, but for a house this size, in this neighborhood, I felt like functionally it needed a third bedroom/office.

This house has a huge yard, and a large detached garage, so it really feels like it would be a perfect spot for a small family, or a couple who might need home office space. The third bedroom will be pretty small, but for a nursery or home office I think it’ll be a great space.

For a small family or a couple, a huge dining room isn’t necessary so I combined the kitchen and dining space in the center of the house, and it’ll be a large, open room with the living room. I also love that you’ll still be able to see the back door from the front door, which will make it feel bigger even though we’re making the living space a bit smaller. The way it was laid out before didn’t feel functional at all, even though it was larger, so I think this new layout will be more practical for actually living in the space!

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One of my favorite things about this house is how big the property is. Most homes in the neighborhood are on two parcels of land, and this one is on three. Right now I have my Winnie parked there, plus there’s still a parking spot and a two car garage, so it’s got tons of space for fun to be had! The backyard is begging for a kids’ playset!

I’ll try to update here on the blog when major progress happens, but follow my Instagram Story for more quick updates!

DIY White Concrete Skimcoat Countertop

DIY White Concrete Skimcoat Countertops

I was hoping to have my backsplash done in time to take some "after" photos of my counter, but that project is just taking too long to complete, so I'm getting this post up anyway, demo'd backsplash on full display!

I'm super thrilled about this DIY for multiple reasons.  Not only does it create a super cool finish that's a little bit industrial, a little eclectic, a little farmhouse, but it's fast, pretty easy, and it's AFFORDABLE.  That last one is really important to us because we just don't have money to throw around on new counters (and to be honest, the reason our backsplash has looked this way for almost 3 months is because I haven't been able to afford the tile).

I did a little research on what product I wanted to use. Originally I had planned on doing walnut butcher block counters in our kitchen but since we weren't replacing the cabinets I was worried that removing the original counters would damage the cabinets.  We're also thinking about eventually putting this house up for rent and I was concerned that a more high maintenance substance like butcher block wouldn't fare as well with renters. Concrete answered both of those problems, as well as the financial issue as well. Butcher block (even the fake Ikea stuff) was around $3 - 400, which is super affordable compared to a lot of counter options out there, but this skimcoat product only cost me $173.  That's a price I can get behind.

Since I'd already painted the cabinets a dark grey, I was worried that doing the regular grey concrete color would just make for too much grey in the space and make it feel too cool (as in cool toned, not like... awesome cool), and I'd just seen a friend do white concrete counters and loved that look, so I went on the search for a skimcoat product that would allow me to do white concrete.

I found what I was looking for with Direct Colors Inc.  They do a concrete overlay product that is specifically designed to skimcoat formica counters, which is what we had.  I bought their DCI Concrete overlay, with smooth texture, white base color, and added the Pearl color pack, which was supposed to make it even more white (I didn't make a batch of it without the pearl color added, so I'm not sure how white the white base would be without it, but I think it'd probably be plenty white if you wanted to skip that.  It cost $10.95 more). I also bought the 550 Water Based matte Polyurethane Concrete Sealer in the Matte finish (I didn't want shiny counters).  And I added on a Magic Trowel because I didn't have a trowel to smooth things out.  I didn't realize that I should've also bought a primer sealer which should go on before the 550 Water Based Sealer, so I'd recommend getting that too and applying it before the 550 sealer.  Our counter is working fine, though, with two coats of the 550 Water Based Polyurethane Concrete Sealer.

You're really gonna want to prep your work space, I promise.  This stuff is messy.  Or maybe I'm just messy. But historically I'm not messy with wet/goopy stuff and I was messy with this.  So get some dropcloths/plastic to protect your lower cabinets and floors.  The concrete gets heavy when it's on the plastic, too, so make sure you tape it to the top edge really good. I had my tape let go and then I had concrete dripping down behind it onto my cabinets and was frantically trying to get it re-taped while also covered in concrete, which is about as easy as it sounds.

I'd also recommend having a partner to help you.  I did it by myself and it would've definitely been helpful to have someone to assist.

DIY White Concrete Skimcoat Countertops

If you're doing a formica counter like me, just give it a sanding before you start to give it some texture to stick to.  I used a 120 grit.

The first thing you'll do is the front vertical edge, which needs a bit of a thicker consistency to stick, so make up a small batch of that (If you're using the DCI product they send lots of instructions on how to use it/make a batch, and they also have lots of video tutorials on their site which I watched thoroughly before starting).  For the top surface you want it mixed to a pancake batter consistency, but with the vertical surfaces, you want it much more thick and sticky.  I bought a mixing accessory for my drill, which I used to mix the concrete.  Since I wasn't making huge quantities, I could just mix the product and water in a 5 gallon bucket (or smaller for the vertical surface batch) with my drill.

Once you've made up your more sticky batch, apply that just with your hands wearing vinyl gloves.  It's a little hard to get a smooth finish, but I wasn't too worried about that because I didn't mind getting a more "rustic" finish.  You can use a trowel to smooth it out too if you want it more uniform.

Then mix up your batch for the top, to about a pancake batter consistency.  You can pour it directly on the counter and then smooth it out with a trowel.  You want about a 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick skimcoat, and do your best to get it as smooth as you can because it's super annoying to have to sand and put another slurry coat on there.

This product doesn't require a second coat (unless you want to fix some errors) so you just have to wait 24 hours to let it dry and then seal it with the sealer!

I've only had the counters for about a month and a half, but I really like how they've been holding up.  I haven't had any staining, which I was a little worried about since they are white, and no chipping or any other issues.  Obviously that's not a lot of time for regular wear and tear to conduct a really good evaluation so I'll update in a while once it's had time to be sufficiently tested.  That being said I know two people who have refinished their counters by skimcoating with concrete and both were super happy with it (and one is in an RV, so you know that gets jostled around a lot while on the road!).  Neither of those folks used the same product that I did, so it's not exactly the same, but the finish as a whole seems solid and durable!


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Nettle Florentine Pasta

Nettle Florentine Pasta

One of my favorite things about summer is farmers market season and all of the fresh produce that comes in my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box every week! When I first started getting a CSA last summer, I learned how to prepare a ton of obscure (to me) produce I’d never seen before. One new thing that popped in my CSA this summer was stinging nettles. I worked at a summer camp a few years ago and learned how to eat raw nettles in the wild, but I’d never thought about using nettles while cooking until we got a big batch of them in our CSA share. Nettles are rich in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium and calcium, and since they saute-down nicely (and lose the sting when cooked), I decided to treat them like I would spinach and make a chicken Florentine. It worked great.

Nettle Florentine Pasta
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Nettle Florentine Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Penne
  • 4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cups dry white wine
  • ¾ cups low-sodium broth (more if needed)
  • 3 cups stinging nettle leaves
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese, shaved
  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. For more flavor, add a pinch of salt to the water. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over high heat. Add chicken in a single layer and don’t stir for a minute or two to allow the chicken to brown. Flip the chicken and brown the other side. Cook until done. Remove chicken and set aside.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and add garlic, making sure to stir quickly to avoid burning. After about 30 seconds, add wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Allow the liquid to bubble up, then continue cooking until it’s reduced by at least half (most of the surface of the liquid should be bubbling at this point).
  5. Turn off the heat and add nettles, tomatoes, chicken and cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to combine; the nettles will wilt as you toss everything. Add plenty of Parmesan shavings and toss to combine. Serve with extra Parmesan shavings.
Nettle Florentine Pasta

How to Handle Nettles  
Nettles can give you nasty stings if you don’t handle them carefully, so make sure you don’t sting yourself while preparing meals or while harvesting. Wear gloves when handling. Use tongs and a salad spinner when cleaning nettles. Stinging nettles have hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems, which act like tiny hypodermic needles to inject histamine and other chemicals that cause an uncomfortable stinging sensation. If you do get stung, though, there are a few natural remedies to relieve the sting. First, you can make a paste out of a little baking soda and water and rub that onto the affected area, which should help reduce the sting. You also can mix a couple drops of lavender essential oil into a tablespoon of coconut oil to make a little salve and rub it onto the sting, and it’ll help take away the stinging sensation. 

Nettle Florentine Pasta

Keeping an eye out with Ooma Butterfleye

Thank you Ooma Butterfleye for sponsoring this post.

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Keeping our home safe is something that's increased in importance dramatically since we brought Jack home.  Or maybe it's just a result of binge watching way too many Forensic Files episodes on Netflix. Either way, finding really easy ways to keep our home safe that seamlessly integrate into our lives has become a much higher priority for me, so I was looking forward to parterning with Ooma to try out their Ooma Butterfleye camera.

We used to have a home security system... which I removed so I could wallpaper the wall where it was installed (safety... first?), and while we used to use it daily, when we moved back in October, it just never settled back into our routine and I never reinstalled it.  We may eventually install it somewhere else in our home, but I really love how easy the Ooma Butterfleye is in comparison.

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With our security system we had someone drill into our wall to install the keypad, it was attached to our only outlet in the room, and was kind of stressful to arm/disarm.  What I really love about the Ooma Butterfleye is that not only is it a camera, which our other system didn't have, it is battery powered so we can put it anywhere in the house we'd like monitored (heck, I could probably use it as a baby monitor in Jack's room if I needed!), it sends updates right to my phone, and it automatically goes into private mode when it senses that my phone has entered the home, so I don't have to manually turn it on or off.

It doesn't have an alarm or anything, which is one reason I think eventually I'll reinstall our security system (I do like that a loud alarm will go off if an intruder enters after that system has been armed), but you can set it to recognize familiar faces, so it won't keep telling you an unidentified person is in the room when it's just your husband.  

I like too that it's small and can be easily hidden or blended into your decor.  Nowadays we're all used to having an Alexa or Google home sitting on a counter, so something small like the Ooma Butterfleye kind of just disappears to the eye.

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My favorite thing about it is that I manage everything with my phone which is super easy and straightforward, which is what I need now that I'm a mom and pretty much nothing else in my life is easy and straightforward.  

If you want to enter to win your own Ooma Butterfleye, just follow the directions below!  The giveaway will be open from Aug 20- Sept 4

Winners will be randomly selected and notified by CLEVER by Friday, September 7

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


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