Apple Cheese Danish

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I am not, on a general note, a person who is easily embarrassed. I have been known to skip down the busiest street in town, flapping my arms, bird-like, at the hint of Christmas in the air. It is not at all uncommon for me to wait for the doors to close on crowded elevators to ask: “You must be wondering why I have gathered you here”, or to wind up in a ball on the floor in reaction to the loudspeakers at the grocery store, moaning “The voices! The voices are back!” In a nutshell, doing a lot of things that seemed like a good idea at the time… but weren’t.

Good times.

But I draw the line at singing. I do not sing. I have sung, on occasion, but only under duress, and after at least two human sacrifices, and half a bottle of vodka. And trust me when I tell you, it’s for your own good. “Oh, it can’t be that bad”, you must be thinking. “She’s being modest”, you might add. Oh, how I wish I was. I forgot myself the other day and began singing in the shower, and now feel solely responsible for two hurricanes, an earthquake, and the near-extinction of the red-barbed ant.

But – it’s Christmas, and everybody seems to expect me to go a-carolin’ around. I’ve politely declined so often I’ve started to go with “bah, humbug” to speed things up.

Over the years, I’ve learned a profound and enlightening truth: People don’t like other people who “bah,  humbug” more than strictly necessary. However, people do like other people who make scrumptious treats.

So I make scrumptious treats. And share them on the Internet to spread the Christmas cheer.

And, my friends, this definitely falls into the category of scrumptious, Christmas-cheer-spreading breakfast treats that make people really like you.

Like, really.

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Apple Cheese Danish

Adapted from the scrumptious Live Laugh Rowe.

Servings: 8

Prep time: 1 hour

You will need:

  • 4 or 5 apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry (any shape, really, but they should match)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup (250gr) sugar, separated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, separated
  • a good pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoons caramel sauce of choice
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Milk

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First off, place one sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake in a medium oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

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Place apples and butter in a large pan and cook until beginning to brown.

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At this point, add ½ cup of sugar, the flour, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and the nutmeg, and stir to mix.

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Add caramel and stir again.

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Cook for a few more minutes to caramelize a bit, then set aside.

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Beat the cream cheese with the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the egg.

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Allowing for some space along the edges, spread the cream cheese mixture over the baked puff pastry, taking care not to break through the surface. Spoon the apple mixture over that, distributing evenly.

Eat any stray apples straight out of the pan. Go ahead, it’s fruit, it’s good for you.

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Top with the second sheet of puff pastry and seal off the edges by pressing them together, or even folding them over a bit.

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Brush with a bit of milk, cut 5 or 6 small vents and sprinkle with sugar and the remaining cinnamon.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a deep golden brown (I might’ve overdone it a wee bit here…). While this is baking, kick back into your couch and enjoy the heavenly smell wafting from your oven.

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Cool for a bit, carefully cut into triangles and enjoy it hot out of the oven, or completely cooled the next day. If you can even wait that long.



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BBQ Chicken Apple Quesadillas

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Here’s the deal: While I am a true Barcelona gal, born and bred, I certainly do not look the part. I look like some Swedish reindeer spit me out on its flight across the skies on Christmas Eve. I look sort of, well, squeaky, like birds help me get dressed in the morning. Well, they don’t, and mark my words, sometimes it’s the squeaky looking girls that can blow the roof off the barn.

Mostly, my outlandish looks translate into being considered purely ornamental in most serious situations, but also people speaking to me in pigeon English and then short-circuiting when I answer in Spanish, let alone Catalan. Watching their gobsmacked faces is all good fun, just as long as it stays at that. But sometimes, ah, sometimes they will ask the dreaded question. Alas, that this should be my fate. “So… where are you from, then?” they ask. “Wow, you look like you’re [insert Nordic country of choice here]”. Or the very popular, “But you’re so pale!”. Or even, “Are you sure?”

I’ve lost track of how many times a day I’d like to turn to someone and say, “You can’t seriously be this freaking stupid.” Other times I just think, to hell with this, I’m going to Narnia.

So being American-Catalan-German-French isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Except when cooking. When cooking, it totally rocks. I know all the good stuff from all those different cultures. And I can bring them together to create one glorious riot of globalization. And then I eat it.

This recipe is the brainchild of one of those fusion-crazed moments. We’re basically talking about quesadillas, but Mediterranean style. But with BBQ-sauce. And Cheddar, for good measure. When I make these, I of course have to wear my old cowboy boots, which are a subtle nod to my Texas forbears. I truly believe you should wear them, too, or the result just might not be the same. Also, try singing a random national anthem, just to mess with people’s heads.

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BBQ Chicken Apple Quesadillas.

Servings: about 8 quesadillas

Prep time: 30 mintues

You will need:

  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups (500gr) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2  cups (300gr) bacon, cooked until crisp
  • 3/4 to 1 cup (200-250ml) BBQ sauce, or more, to taste
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • salt and pepper, to taste

We will begin with the chicken. Using your kitchen scissor, or if you’re feeling particularly primitve, your bare hands, shred the chicken, making sure to catch all those yummy rotisserie juices. Season with salt and pepper if you feel it needs a little kick. Combine the shredded chicken with the BBQ sauce until coated. Add more, to taste.

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Before you start cooking, make sure you have all your ingredients handy. Place them in bowls around your workspace so you can access them quickly.

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As you can see, my grocery store was all out of Cheddar. All they had was sliced Cheddar, which took about as long as the original Ben Hur movie to shred.

Now, place your pan on the stove, but to not preheat it just yet. Prop up two tortillas against eachother, thus…

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…then layer with cheese, then chicken, apple, top with bacon and finish with a final layer of cheese. The exact amount of each is entirely up to you. If you want and XXL quesadilla, you can go crazy witht the stuffing. I wanted to keep mine light and crispy, so I went for a single layer of each.

Now you can fold over the quesadilla so they look like semi-circles, and turn on the heat. Cook on one side until golden brown and crisp (go ahead and lift the edge of a tortilla to check whether Mr. Golden Brown has arrived yet), then flip carefully and cook on the other side until, you guessed it, golden brown and crisp. Repeat the process with the remaining 6 tortillas.

Set aside for a few minutes so the cheese can melt into the other ingredients.

Serve with rice or a green salad, and some extra BBQ sauce.

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