Maple Apple Pie

apple pie slice

I hope all my Canadian readers had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

For the first time in as long as I can remember we spent Thanksgiving in Montreal. There was a very good reason for that; my cousin Ramy got married. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy. Carla is wonderful and I am very pleased to call her family. It was a beautiful ceremony, followed by an incredible feast. There was poutine at the midnight sweet table!

Yet I still craved a Thanksgiving dinner. So on Sunday my mom made us a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins and I took care of dessert. I went the traditional; apple pie and pumpkin pie. I decided to throw a little twist into the apple pie by using maple sugar. I was hoping for a more pronounced maple flavour, but I don’t think I used enough to get the effect I wanted. Next time I think I’ll put half a cup of maple sugar, though I’ve written the recipe as I made it.

I usually use an all butter crust recipe, but this time I used half butter half shortening. It made a really nice flaky crust, and the bottom held up nicely to the moisture from the apples. Just a note about pie crusts in general, recipes will usually give a quantity of water to add, but depending on where your flour was made and the humidity in the air you may need more or less. In this case I almost doubled the amount of water I normally use. If as you stir with a fork the dough doesn’t come together, add a little more water, then a little more if necessary.

I only have one photo for this post. By the time the pie had cooled there was no light, so I worked some leftover slices the next morning. Unfortunately the sun was so strong that even with diffused light I was getting crazy shadows. Thankfully I got one good photo out !

Sour Cream Pastry

(from Canadian Living)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup shortening, frozen
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  1. In a large bowl stir the flour and salt together. Using a box grater, grate the butter and shortening then add them to the flour. Toss the butter and shortening through the flour to cover it, then using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until a few small pieces of butter/shortening are visible.
  2. Mix the water and sour cream together then pour onto the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Add more water if necessary. Using your hands bring the dough together and knead one of two times. Split the dough into 3 balls then flatten them into disks, cover individually with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Maple Apple Pie
  • 4 cups apples peeled and cored (I used Cortland)
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine maple sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp four
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sugar for sprinkling
  1. Toss the apples with the sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and flour. Set aside.
  2. Roll out one of the pastry disks till 1/4 inch thick and large enough to cover a 9 inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pie plate then fill with the apples. Dot the apples with the butter. Roll out the second disk and place on top the apples. Trim the edges then roll them in making sure to have a tight seal. Cut some slits into the upper crust, then place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water, then brush the upper crust with the yolk. Sprinkle some sugar on the the crust (I used a course sugar to prevent burning).
  4. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking for 60-65 minutes.
  5. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
Enjoy!

Plum Tarte Tatin


I have what I would call a mini garden on my balcony. There is a cherry tomato plant, some basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, chives, and some pretty purple flowers. I love stepping out there and grabbing fresh herbs for whatever I’m cooking. I would love to have the space for more, but for now this is it.

I do have access to some pretty stocked gardens though. My Aunt Christine has a backyard full of goodies. There’s all kinds of fruits and vegetables. And fruit trees, glorious fruit trees. She’s got a cheery tree, a couple of plum trees, and an enormous pear tree (some branches spill over into the neighbouring yards so they get to enjoy the fruits too). All this in a pretty small space. I’m pretty sure if she had a couple of chickens her home would be completely self-sustaining.

The plum and pear trees are both giving fruit now, and I’ve got some pretty impressive supplies of both so you’ll be seeing quite a few recipes for those fruits in the next few days.

The first is Bon Appetit’s Plum Tarte Tatin. The tart was very easy to make, although I did mess it up a little. The recipe didn’t specify if the plums should be peeled, so I peeled half of them and left the skin on the rest. Because I left the skin on the syrup turn a deep red very quickly. The instructions were to cook until the syrup reached that colour, but I knew it was too soon to stop cooking so I let them go. Turns out I overcooked them so they lost their shape a little. There was also a flipping incident due to my impatience (don’t rush it!)

Despite my mistakes the tarte tatin tasted amazing. The plums tasted almost like jam. The skins I left on gave it a really nice tart (as in mouth puckering) flavour. I definitely will make this again.

Plum Tarte Tatin

  • 2 1/4 pounds sweet firm plums, halved, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  1. Roll out puff pastry. Cut a 9 inch circle, and chill for up to one day.
  2. Peel half of the plums. In a bowl, mix all the plums with 2 tbsp sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind, nutmeg and the seeds from the vanilla bean. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in a ovenproof 9 inch skillet over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle the remaining sugar over the butter.
  4. Place the plums in concentric circles in the butter, cut side up. Pour the juices from the bowl over the plums. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. The syrup will have thickened slightly. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Heat oven to 400.
  6. Once the plums have cooled, cover them with the puff pastry.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, until pastry is golden. Let cool at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours.
  8. To flip onto a platter, heat the tarte for 3 minutes in a hot oven to loosen it. Place platter over skillet and flip (make sure you’re wearing an oven mit!) Let stand for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Double Peach Tart

When I moved in to my condo four years ago I knew absolutely nothing about taking care of a home. Things like installing light fixtures, or fixing a leaky faucet were completely foreign to me. Today I know slightly more than nothing, but I’m still pretty much clueless. Thankfully I have friends who are kind enough to help me out with these things. Yesterday, my friends Frank and Bianca came over with their almost two-year old son Sasha. Frank changed the light fixture in the dinning room, I made dinner, and Bianca watched Sasha like a hawk as he ran through my non-babyproofed home.


Frank and Bianca have helped many times over the years, and to thank them I wanted to make sure they had a great meal. Main courses aren’t really my thing, although I think I have been getting better, so I made them an amazing dessert: Double Peach Tart from the September issue of Food and Wine.

The tart tasted amazing. The crust was nice and crisp, it reminded me of a sugar cookie but a little less crumbly. The cinnamon and nutmeg went perfectly with the peaches. I think cardamom would have been nice as well. I made the tart exactly as written by Food and Wine, except for the cooking time. The magazine says to bake for an hour and 40 minutes, however my tart was done after an hour. I’m not sure if the recipe is just wrong or if my oven temperature is off. Either way, I’m really happy I decided to check in on the tart after an hour, it would have been a disaster if I had waited.

Since this is another magazine recipe, I’ll be submitting it to Cream Puffs in Venice for another Magazine Monday entry. Magazine Monday’s are a chance to go through all those magazine recipes we’ve all got bookmarked to make one day. Just post a magazine recipe you’ve made and contact Ivonne and she’ll post it with her next edition.

Double Peach Tart

Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes

Filling

  • 10 small, ripe peaches (about 4 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour sugar and salt together.
  2. Add the cubes of butter and cream cheese. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter and cheese into the flour until it has a crumbly texture.
  3. Press the dough into a 10 inch fluted tart pan (with removable bottom). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325.
  5. Line dough with foil and cover with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the weights and foil and bake for 15 more minutes.
  6. While the crust is baking, make the filling. Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 10 seconds each. Peel the peaches, then cut 6 of them into quarters and 4 of them into slices.
  7. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs to butter one at a time. Add vanilla.
  8. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and continue to mix until well combined.
  9. Pour the filling mixture into the baked tart shell. Place the quartered peaches in concentric circles over the filling. Sprinkle with sugar.
  10. Bake for 1 hour. Check that the filling is golden and firm to the touch.
  11. Cover with sliced peaches before serving.

Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Julia

August 15th was Julia Child’s birthday. Many of us grew up watching her shows, moved by her enthusiasm for food  and the joy teaching people to cook brought her. The Way To Cook is my mothers go to cookbook even now, over 20 years after it was published.  We watched her cooking on her own in Dinner at Julia’s, we saw her marvel at dishes created by others in Cooking with Master Chefs, and we saw her tease and joke with Jacques Pepin in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (Jacques is another go to at my parents house).

In honour of her birthday I made a recipe from Baking with Julia ; the tart that made Julia cry. The recipe is actually a Nancy Silverton recipe, and you can watch them make it here. The tart really is wonderful, I can understand how a bite of it could bring tears of joy to Julia’s eyes.

Brioche Custard Tart

  • 1/3 of dough from Golden Brioche
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 nectarines, sliced
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 or 6 basil leaves
  1. After chilling the brioche dough overnight, roll it out to fit in a pie plate, with about an inch of dough overhanging. Fold the overhang into the pie shell to create an edge.  Let rise uncovered for 1 hour.
  2. While the dough is rising, whisk the cream and egg yolks together.
  3. Once the dough has risen, dimple the bottom of the dough (don’t create holes, just dents) and pour the cream mixture in.
  4. Sprinkle the cream with sugar.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300, then bake the tart for 30 to 40 minutes until brioche is cooked and custard has set.
  6. Let cool completely.
  7. While the tart is cooling bring the wine to a boil. Add the sugar and basil leaves. Add the fruit and simmer for a few minutes, just until the fruit is slightly softened. Strain fruit.
  8. Place fruit on tart.

Bon appétit!

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Magazine Monday: Mini Tomato Chèvre Tarts

You may have noticed that my posts aren’t very challenge-like lately. I’ll admit, I haven’t worked as hard on this one as I did for the sugar free challenge. I think the rules this time around are too lax. Organic chips are still chips after all. All I really have to do is have a smoothie and go for a walk. How hard is that? I need a challenge that is actually challenging.

But I’m trying to shape up a little, starting with this post. The April 2010 issue of Chatelaine has a recipe for a Classic Tomato Chèvre Tart that really caught my eye. I’ve decided to make it challenge friendly by making the crust out of whole wheat flour and eliminating the sugar. I could have gone the extra mile and substituted the milk for something non dairy, but that seemed like overkill (and to be honest could have been disastrous). I also decided to make the tarts mini for easy office-lunch portability and for the cuteness factor.

These smelled soooo good in the oven. I could hardly wait to have a bite. And when I did have a bite, it was like a little bit of goat cheese heaven.

Bonus, this recipe is really easy to make, it took me just a few minutes to get the dough and the filling together.

I’ll be submitting this post to Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Mondays. Be sure to check her blog to see what all the other Magazine Monday-ers are up to!

Mini Tomato Chèvre Tart

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 150 g goat cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup snipped chives

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine flours, butter and salt with your hands until a it takes on a crumbly texture. (This can be done in a food processor too). Add liquids and stir till ingredients for a ball.
  2. Press dough into a muffin tin. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. Combine eggs, milk, cheese , chives and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  5. Put some diced tomato in each muffin cup. Pour 1/3 cup of egg mixture into each muffin cup.
  6. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until filling is set.

Enjoy!

I’ll Have What She’s Having

Sally Albright: But I’d like the pie heated and I don’t want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it’s real; if it’s out of the can then nothing.

Waitress: Not even the pie?

Sally Albright: No, I want the pie, but then not heated.

My favourite movie ever: When Harry Met Sally. I laugh and cry every time I watch it (which is surprisingly often). I was very sad to discover the domain “whatsheshaving” is already taken. You better have a good blog, whoever you are! Thankfully, this is a movie that has many food moments to choose from, including the ordering of pie.

In an ideal world, I would have a pie to show. But I don’t. Instead I have an amaretto cheese tart for you. This is one of my favourite recipes, and it’s incredibly easy to make.

This time I made it for Nelson’s birthday plus 37 days. I’m a little late, but I think he’ll forgive me. Now all I have to do is figure out how I’m going to get it to the office…

Amaretto Cheese Tart

Crust

3 cups Amaretti cookie, crumbled (easiest if done in a food processor)

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup butter

Filling

250 g cream cheese, softened

250 g mascarpone, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup Amaretto

Preheat oven to 350. Combine amaretti crumbs with sugar and butter. Press into a 9 inch tart pan, making sure to push the crumbs up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. (Update, some people had issues with butter dripping out of the tart pan, so it may be best to use a pie pan)

While the crust is baking, beat the cheeses and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each is added. Add the amaretto.

Fill the tart shell with the filling and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool, then refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy!