Am I the last person to learn about the joys of baking spray?
Though I claim not to bake, I do bake every now and then. And up until last year, when executive pastry chef Cindy Salvato came to teach a class at Ninecooks, I'd been using that popular canola-spray-with-a-girl's-name. I'd spray my cake pans, and watch the canola oil pool in the corners after sliding down the sides of the pans.
Then along came Cindy, with baking spray. "Grease and flour" — that standard instruction in cake recipes everywhere — grease and flour in a single can!
No sliding, no pooling. You spray, and it stays.
Baker's Joy, which has been around for 25 years, contains soybean oil; PAM Baking Spray contains canola oil, as does the Trader Joe's baking spray currently in my pantry. They all work well, add no calories or carbs to your baked goods, and have a shelf-life of forever. Try it; your cakes will come tumbling cleanly out of their pans.
Oh joy, oh joy.
Apple tart for non-bakers
I've made this tart in all shapes — rectangular, round, freeform — and all sizes, including as large as a pizza! Absolutely anyone can make this tart; there's very little measuring, and lots of room for error. The recipe below makes one standard size (9" round) tart, but you can easily double or triple the dough recipe and use more apples to accommodate larger sizes. Try it with pears, too. Serves 8.
For the pastry dough:
1-1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
3-4 apples, sliced but not peeled
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Juice of one lemon
1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
Add flour, butter, salt and sugar to food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Process 8-10 seconds until mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. With processor running, add ice water and process only until dough forms a ball. Turn out onto wax paper, form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate or freeze.
Preheat over to 350°F.
Spray tart pan (one with a removeable bottom, if you have it) with baking spray. Roll out dough and press into pan; trim edges if necessary for a nice apperance. Toss apples slices in lemon juice, half the sugar, and cinnamon, and arrange in tart pan. Sprinkle remaining sugar over apples, and paint butter on with a pastry brush. Bake 30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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