DESSERT: The Apple Tart at Meat On Ocean is a classic. Matthew Hall.

Overview:

The holiday season is about more than food. It’s about gratitude, celebration, sharing what we have with loved ones and generally evoking feelings of warmth and friendship. It’s a feeling that Meat on Ocean’s Executive Chef, Silvano Mestas, strives for at his restaurant.

The holiday season is about more than food. It’s about gratitude, celebration, sharing what we have with loved ones and generally evoking feelings of warmth and friendship. It’s a feeling that Meat on Ocean’s Executive Chef, Silvano Mestas, strives for at his restaurant.

“To me, it means spending quality time with family and friends. It brings about beautiful memories of me preparing for holidays for my children; and even as adults the traditions continue,” he said. “It is the best time of the year!”

While there is more to this holiday than the food, it is the food that helps define the sensory experience for many.

Mestas believes in the power cooking holds to bring people together, as cooking and sharing meals often means putting differences aside to simply enjoy the company of those we love; the holiday spirit is truly embodied in these moments as the sense of community and a shared life trumps individualism.

“It has to be fresh, it has to be comfort food that everyone can enjoy, it has to be special, and it has to be something that you will enjoy making. Food brings families together to celebrate; and if the food is good? That’s even better!” he said.

Regardless of how stuffed dinner guests may be in the aftermath of this bonding time, there is always enough room for dessert and his Warm Rustic Apple Tart recipe does not go to the stomach, but instead to the heart.

“A sweet treat is always perfect when you need a pinch of Holiday Spirit,” he said. “Meat on Ocean’s Warm Rustic Apple Tart offers that nostalgic comfort we’re all in search of this Holiday Season. With its inviting and warm apple scents, our guests from around the world are treated with this classic American dessert. Our recipe is graceful with a touch of elegance and consists only of four ingredients; puff pastry, Granny Smith apples, melted butter and sugar. The recipe calls for the dessert to be cooked on the stove top, which allows the apples to reach that perfect level of caramelization and jam-like goodness. We then roll out the puff pastry right before baking, this process takes extra time and care but makes it worthwhile in the end. After 20 minutes in the oven, this tart is turned out and placed with the apples faced up, then topped with our homemade Vanilla Custard. Adding a touch of class, we drizzle caramel over the dessert, followed by a dash of powdered sugar right before it is taken to our guests to enjoy.”

Mestas encourages home cooks to find easier meals when planning for holiday celebrations and not over-complicate things or lose sight of the joy in cooking. However, for those that dont’ want to cook, they can just visit the restaurant. Meat On Ocean, 1501 Ocean Ave., https://www.meatonocean.com.

Meat on Ocean’s Rustic Apple Tart

Ingredients:

• 2 oz. Puff Pastry

• 1 Granny Smith Apple, Peeled

• 2 and 1 / 4 oz. Unsalted Butter, Softened

• 2 and 1 / 4 oz. Sugar

• 1 / 2 Tsp. Powdered Sugar (for topping)

• 1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Gather, prepare, and measure out all ingredients and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Peel, core, and cut the apple into eights, set aside.

  3. Cut or roll out one 6 in. circle of puff pastry, set aside.

  4. Place the butter in a small, round cast-iron pan and “pound” until it evenly distributes over the base of the pan.

  5. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter, then arrange the apple pieces in a circular design on top.

  6. Place the cast iron with the apples on the stove over a medium-high heat and allow to caramelize (about 6 – 8 minutes).

  7. Remove the pan from the stove top, place on a sheet tray, top with the disc of puff pastry, and bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

  8. To serve, turn the tart out onto a plate with the apples facing up, then top with one scoop of vanilla ice cream and powdered sugar.

editor@smdp.com

Editor’s Note: With family gatherings upon us and visitors aplenty in town, the Daily Press is highlighting several local restaurants and talking to chefs about their approach to the holiday season.