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Apple & Vanilla Tart

I’ve come out of summer hibernation… finally. Fall is here and the cooler temperatures have inspired me to get back to the kitchen.

Your freezer section does most of the work for this fast & impressive dessert. If you have a mandolin – it makes the process even faster for slicing the apples. For something so easy to put together (and the oohs & ahhs that followed from the tasters) I think I’ll stop spending hours on dessert!


  • 1 whole sheet Puffed Pastry, thawed & cut in half
  • 4 whole Granny Smith apples, cored, halved & sliced (but not peeled)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apricot or pear jelly


Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Place puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray. Add vanilla, lemon juice & salt to apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

Arrange apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Dot the top with the butter and sprinkle with Muscovado or dark brown sugar.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Warm the jelly and brush over the apples and pastry edge. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.

Fresh Apple Cake with Hot Butter Sauce

I was a very lucky kid. I grew up in a house where the entire family ate dinner at the table every night. My parents both worked full time but somehow my mom pulled off a real meal 7 days a week. I have them both to thank for many things, but many thanks to my beautiful mother for never chasing me out of her kitchen.

This sinfully crispy and buttery apple cake has burned a memory in my stomach. It was 1997 and instead of sitting through college graduation I was having one last party with my friends… and this cake was my final request from her kitchen.

Make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even better make it on some random Wednesday and share it with people you like to see smile. Trust me, it works.

** The Vanilla, Butter and Nut extract is available at Kroger. If you can’t find it, use vanilla… but it’s just not my mom’s cake without it.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnaomn
  • 3 medium apples (peeled, cired and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, butter & nut extract (KROGER)


Cream butter and sugar and beat until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and do not over mix. Gradually add other ingredients except apples and nuts. Stir in apples and nuts. Turn into a buttered 9X13X2” pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 70 minutes.

Combine sugar, butter & milk in small sauce pan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally until hot (starts to rise up pan). Remove from heat and and stir in extract. Puncture cake with large fork in spots and pour hot sauce over cake. Serve with whipped cream.