Thursday, October 30, 2008

Playing Catch Up

We went to Ontario for Canadian Thanksgiving (Oct 13th) and spent a relaxing week with family. I couldn't find my copy of Eat, Pray, Love so I bought another one at the airport. I figured I would pass it on to a friend when I'm done reading it. Also picked up Water for Elephants which I totally devoured. Odd for me, as I'm usually reading some sort of reference book. Perhaps I enjoyed it so much because it is an historical novel. The author is a tech writer from Ontario - something I didn't know until I got to the end of the book. Very good read!

My mother-in-law's insanely delicious Canadian Butter Tarts made with pecans from my father's orchard in Alabama! Mmmmm...I'd have to say that these are better than pecan pie because of the sweet to flaky crust ratio. Speaking of that, I learned a trick from my father-in-law on how to maximize the pumpkin pie eating experience. He puts a hole in the top of the piece of pumpkin pie and then fills it with Canadian maple syrup before covering with freshly whipped cream. *Smack!*

Friday, October 3, 2008

All Tarted Up

I picked this basket of apples and pears across the road at my 90 year old friend's orchard yesterday. DELICIOUS! The tart I made today with only 3 of the apples.

Apple Bistro Tart

  • 1/2 of a 15 oz package (1 crust) folded refrigerated unbaked piecrust
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t finely shredded lemon peel
  • 2 medium tart green apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup caramel apple dip
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 apple jelly
  • powdered sugar

Let piecrust stand according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, and lemon peel. Add apple slices, toss to coat.

Place unfolded piecrust on a large baking sheet. Spread caramel apple dip over crust to within 2 inches of edge. Arrange apple mixture over caramel. Sprinkle with pecans. Fold edge of crust about 2 inches up and over apple mixture, pleating edge as necessary.

Bake in 425 degrees oven about 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat apple jelly over low heat until melted.

Remove tart from oven. Brush melted jelly over entire tart, including pastry. Serve warm. Sift powdered sugar over tart before serving. Makes 8 small servings or 4 decent servings.

I can't remember where I got this recipe but I seem to think it was maybe from Cooking Light about 4 or 5 years ago. I've made it so many times that I don't even use the recipe anymore.

Here are some of my variations:

If I don't have pecans (like today) then I just chop up some raw almonds and use those instead.

If I don't have apple jelly for the glaze (like today) then I just brush on some maple syrup.

I have a small jar of Caramel Ice Cream Topping in the 'fridge that I use instead of the Caramel Apple Dip.

I've also added blueberries to the mix before and I usually leave out the lemon peel but squeeze fresh lemon juice on the apples as I'm cutting them.

We got one of those Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer things at a yard sale for $2 a few weeks ago. Man, does that ever make for a quick job of prepping the apples! Before that, I used one of those Apple Wedgers and just trimmed off the peel. Still a pretty quick job.