[how on earth I forgot this I'll never know]
How many of you use a planner or calendar to keep track of events? [raises hand, pointing to both her planner and Google calendar]
And how many of you, despite having said organizational tool(s), manage to overbook your days and nights, leaving you occasionally frazzled and running around like a chicken with its head cut off? [raises hand emphatically, a la the lovable know-it-all, Hermione Granger]
So last week, I had on my calendar "have Laura and Matt over for dinner." When I have dinner guests on a weeknight, I try to plan and have most or all of the dishes made ahead of time. Vegetables can be cooked the night before, and dessert is most certainly complete and waiting to be devoured. For the main dish, I do fresh that evening, but try to have shortcuts in place. For example, since I was going to be cooking golden baked pork chops, I had the seasonings mixed, an assembly line of bowls ready, and even the baking sheet lined.
So I got home a little later than usual... I just had to try that new upper body workout at the gym. And I needed to shower and get cleaned up and head out again after dinner for another engagement. All with my friends arriving in about 30 minutes. Then it dawned on me... oh crap! As for dessert, would you believe that it just slipped my mind? Listen, I didn't forget about it entirely -- I had something in mind, but I had forgotten to set up properly and allot enough time to bake it. I became distracted... from dessert... my favorite part of the meal. May I plead temporary insanity?
We dined on the crunchy and flavorful pork chops (I highly recommend them) with rice and green beans with caramelized onions, fabulously and calmly, and dessert was ready just in time. Even before we topped it with ice cream, this humble peanut butter and honey apple tart stunned with its simplicity. And then we tasted it. Oh sweet heavens. A bit tart from the apples, salty from the peanut butter, sweet from the honey, and cool vanilla from the ice cream. It doesn't get any better (or faster) than this, folks.
Honeyed Apple Peanut Butter Tart
(adapted from here)
A few notes: I divided the original recipe by 1/3 (puff pastry comes in tri-fold sheets), since I was only making dessert for 3 people and serving it with ice cream. Glad I did, too, so I can make this at least twice more to use up the sheet.
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed for 20 minutes at room temp or in refrigerator for a longer time
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but chunky would be equally delicious)
2 Tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling roughly 2 Tablespoons
2 medium apples of choice, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting, for serving (optional)
Ice cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Slice puff pastry into three pieces and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, warm peanut butter in microwave until a bit runny (about 20 seconds or so), and stir in 2 T of honey.
Spread peanut butter honey mixture equally among the three pastry pieces, leaving a half-inch border on each piece. Layer apple slices on top of peanut butter on each pastry third, slightly overlapping. Drizzle each tart with a bit of honey (to your liking) and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and puffy around the edges. Remove to cooling rack, and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and top with scoop of ice cream, if desired. Enjoy the fruits (!!) of your minimal, last-minute labor :)