One of the joys of early autumn is the abundance and variety of freshly harvested apples. That’s why October has become National Apple Month, a celebration of one of nature’s most perfectly conceived foods. Benny’s Chop House (444 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago; 312-626-2444)
Pastry Chef Aaron Lindgren has designed a very special creation—Caramelized Apple Tart with Cream Cheese Dough—as the perfect autumn finale to Benny’s quintessential steakhouse dining experience. His apple tart is a modern interpretation that combines the sweetness of perfectly baked apples with the richness of a flaky cream cheese crust. It’s unforgettable.
The Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream topped with a haystack of fresh Fuji apples, is a perfect accompaniment to the warm enticing tart.
A great dessert at Benny’s Chop House really should be no surprise, since Benny’s long list of regular customers comment frequently that the desserts are nothing short of amazing. Paired with the perfect dessert wine, the dessert course is a signature event every time. It’s another reason Benny’s Chop House is considered one of Chicago’s best steakhouses especially for those who desire the best in modern and sophisticated dining.
Caramelized Apple Tart
• 4 tablespoons (or ½ stick) unsalted butter
• 5 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick
• 1 cup plus 2tablespoon Sugar
• 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon Salt
Melt butter over medium-high heat in large skillet. Sauté the apples about 10 minutes, until tender and lightly caramelized. Do not turn them frequently. Use hot pan, with a med-high flame. Apples need to be touching the bottom of the pan. Apples should be cooked quickly, and spread on a platter to cool quickly. Combine with the rest of ingredients.
Flaky Cream Cheese Dough
Pastry for 4, 6-inch pie shells or a 9 1/2- or 10- by 1-inch tart shell
Note: Best prepared the day before.
• 16 tablespoons, (= ½ # or, = or 2 sticks) Unsalted Butter (Cold)
• 1 cup + 1 tablespoon pastry flour or 1 cup (= 8oz.) (dip and sweep method) Bleached All-Purpose Flour
• 1 teaspoon Salt
• 1 cup (= 8oz) Cream Cheese, (cold)
Place a medium mixing bowl in the freezer to chill. Cut the butter into small (about 1/4-inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, and salt, in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the cream cheese and rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the cream cheese into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Spoon the mixture, together with the cold butter, into gallon-size freezer bag. Expel any air from the bag and close it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into thin flakes. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or until the butter is very firm.
Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl, scraping the sides of the bag. Set the bag aside. Sprinkle the mixture with the water and vinegar, tossing lightly with a rubber spatula. Spoon it into the plastic bag. (For a two-crust pie, it is easiest to divide the mixture in half at this point.) Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with the knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc (or discs), and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.
PIE ASSEMBLY AND BAKING
Line a 4” pie pan with your 6 inch circle. Fold the dough over lapping the edge back onto the rim. Spoon the cooled apple pie filling into the shell. Roll out remaining pastry, and cover pan; seal and crimp edges. Cut several decorative slits in top. Alternatively, top pastry can be cut in strips and used to make lattice.
Brush pastry with cream, and dust with remaining sugar. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake about 40 minutes, until pastry is golden. Cool briefly, and serve.
October is National Dessert Month – Celebrate at Benny’s Chop House
October is National Dessert Month and we can’t think of a better place to indulge than Benny’s Chop House. You may not think of a “steakhouse”
Celebrate National Seafood Month this October at Benny’s Chop House
National Seafood Month is celebrated during the month of October, and Benny’s Chop House (444 N. Wabash Ave., 312-626-2444)
Executive Chef Jonathan Lane (previously of The Four Seasons - Dallas, Las Vegas, New York and Chicago) has long been a proponent of safe and sustainable cuisine. Benny’s seafood comes with a Safe Harbor Certification. This quality control system checks for major risk factors by routinely testing for mercury, pathogens, radiation, and histamines (before the seafood is sold to restaurants)
Chef Lane is a pioneer in bringing sea-to-table fish to Chicago; and offers a wide variety of seafood dishes on bar, lunch and dinner menus. From Benny’s raw bar you can dine on American East and West Coast Oysters (starting $14.99), Jumbo Prawns ($19.99), Crab and Lobster ‘Louie’ ($19.99); or the crowd-pleasing Seafood Tower (for two - $69.99) filled with chilled lobster, King crab, and shrimp. The lunch menu hosts a slew of options including the Lobster Grilled Cheese ($10.99) and Halibut Tacos ($9.99). For dinner, guests can choose from Faroe Island Salmon (28.99), Australian Lobster Tail (market price), Jumbo Sea Scallops ($35.99) and more. Also, Benny’s bar menu has a vast selection of seafood choices, including Jumbo Prawns ($14.99) and Crab Cake Sliders ($9.99).
Now that you are well informed on the plethora of seafood choices at Benny’s Chop House, be sure to include them in your coverage of this month-long adventure, National Seafood Month.