Sometimes you know within the first five minutes of meeting someone that you are going to be friends for life. Such is the case with my friend Mindy. We met two years ago this month, at a dinner meeting for women new to the city. We all know how hard it can be to make new friends as we get older. Add moving to a new city into the mix, and it can be downright daunting. At first I wasn't going to go to the dinner (because I'm a little bit shy), but then I thought "what the hell!". Nothing to lose. So I went, and ended up sitting beside Mindy, where we bonded over cats and karaoke, gin and geraniums. And we've been friends ever since. I wasn't even scared off as she dragged me to a NKOTB concert! Mindy is the kind of friend you want in your corner. She was with me in that small, sad room, as I put my beloved cat to sleep, handing me Kleenex and letting me sob uncontrollably on her shoulder. She's tagged along as I stalked, er, "investigated" potential mates. Mindy has pretty much made it her mission to find me a boyfriend, and I think she tries harder at it than I do. Some days I think what would have happened if I hadn't gone to that dinner. I would have missed out on a kindred spirit, and you never want to miss out on those.
Mindy has pretty much declared herself the official "sweetsugarbean" taste tester, which is fantastic because there's no way I can eat all of this food! She was popping by on a Friday afternoon, so I looked in the fridge, assessed the contents, and decided to make this apple tart. I had a bag of apples, a little on the tired side, a sheet of puff pastry, and a jar of the glorious Dulce de Leche. Not really having a recipe to go by, I knew I wanted a tart, not too dry, thinking that the Dulce would add some caramel goodness to it. The lavender was a last minute addition, but one I thought would be amazing. I've made cookies before with dried lavender. Even adding it to roast chicken, along with rosemary and thyme and sage. I LOVE the lavender in this tart. It's subtle, but combined with the cinnamon and apples, it adds another flavour dimension. This recipe is quick, and simple. I'm looking forward to slices of it with my coffee for tomorrow's breakfast.
Maybe it's adding lavender to an apple tart, or putting up an online dating profile, but everyday it seems there's an opportunity for us to take chances. So. Are there any chances you need to take?
Rustic Apple Tart with Dulce de Leche and Lavender
one sheet of puff pastry, rolled out to approx. 9"x13" (the size doesn't have to be perfect. It's rustic after all!)
3-4 medium apples. I used gala, but you could granny smith or golden delicious too.
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tsp. dried lavender. Check any specialty grocery, or health food store.
1/3 Cup of Dulce de Leche (I used the PC brand)
Peel, core and thinly slice your apples. Put into a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and lavender. Stir well. Add the melted butter. Stir again. Roll out your puff pastry, and place on a parchment lined bake sheet. I rolled the edges up a little to make a border. Prick the sides and centre of the puff pastry with a fork. Spread a thin layer of the Dulde de Leche over the centre. If you need more, than add a little more. Layer your apples, overlapping, over the caramel goodness. Looks pretty, hey? Bake in the lower third of your oven at 375*F, for about 35-40 minutes. You want a golden crust. Let cool before cutting into wedges. You could serve with whipped cream, or ice cream, but I liked mine straight up, with some organic strawberries. Oh yeah, Mindy loved it too, and lucky girl got to take some home. Her job as official taste tester done for the day!