I first made an apple tart tatin when I was a senior in highschool. I didn’t have time to work but I wanted to have some money to spend so my mom paid me to do all the grocery shopping and make dinner a few nights a week. It was a great way to me to relax and de-stress after school before starting homework and allowed me to hone my cooking skills and cultivate my creativity while making a little money on the side.
One of the things I was doing at this time was cooking my way through the Cooks Illustrated magazines. Cooks Illustrated is by far the best cooking magazine out there for people who want to learn how to cook, not just how to read recipes. Each one has a full article on the technique, ingredients, or methods used and why it is important so that that knowledge can be translated to other recipes. For example, in their recipe for Ground Beef Chili they explain that baking powder helps beef retain it’s moisture and brown better. Now that I know this I frequently add baking powder to beef and let it set for about 20 minutes before browning, even if the recipe doesn’t include this step.
Anyways, I found the recipe for apple tarte tatin in cooks illustrated, and it was fall so I made it for a Thanksgiving dinner with my then boyfriend (now husband’s) family. It was a total hit. Now we have our own apple tree that is producing a ton of fruit right now so I pulled out the recipe. But to be honest, I was feeling pretty lazy so I made up a different, much easier recipe. I used puff pastry instead of making a dough. I wouldn’t dare call it authentic but it is definitely tasty.
Melt 4 TBS of butter on med-low in a 12″ cast iron skillet. Add 1/4 c brown sugar, 1/4 c granulated sugar and melt until dissolved completely. When it starts to bubble add the whiskey (or brandy would be good too), and cook stirring for about a minute. Add the chopped apples and vanilla. I like to leave them all different sizes so you get a variation in the texture of the apples. I also leave the skin on. Our apples have very tender skin, but if you prefer no skin then peel them, and if you prefer an even texture then make all your apple slices the same size. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, ginger, and lemon juice and bake for about 10 minutes. Once the apples are softened, gently press them down with a spatula to flatten slightly. Place your trimmed puff pastry on top, tucking it down into the sides with a spatula. Cut a few slits on top to release steam and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the top is golden. Cool it for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate. You could make some pastry flowers, or use cookie cutters to make some pretty shapes for decorating. Just bake them separately and set on top after you have inverted the tart. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, or as I did with Mascarpone Sorbet.
4-5applescored, halved or quartered (you can leave the peel on or remove it )
Pre-Heat oven to 400F
In a 12" cast iron skillet melt the butter over med low heat. Add the sugars and stir to dissolve.
Let the mixture bubble for about 1 minute then add the whiskey and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and stir.
Arrange the apples in the pan with the cut sides down, layering a bit.Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon and ginger.
Bake for 10 minutes until the apples begin to soften. While the apples bake, trim your puff pastry into a circle to fit your skillet. You can use the excess to make pretty shapes for decorations, but bake them separately.
Use a spatula to gently press down the apples to even the top. Carefully place the puff pastry over the apples and tuck the sides down into the pan with a spatula. Cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape.
Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve warm with Mascarpone Sorbet or with ice cream, whipped cream.
I know I have talked about 1909 before, and I keep bringing it up, but it’s just so darn delicious I can’t help myself. Last time I was there I had a drink called Lady Marmalade with orange marmalade and cinnamon infused whiskey which I then spent the entire drinking process trying to figure out how I could recreate it. I think I got pretty darn close, this thing is delicious.
I put a cinnamon stick in a mason jar, covered it in Bulleit whiskey and let it sit for three days before removing the stick. Then I made an orange simple syrup with orange zest, sugar and water. I decided not to use a marmalade so there would not be chunks of orange in the drink, Eric hates that. I rimmed the glasses with granulated honey from my Hatchery Box because I can’t get enough of it. You could also get this Granulated Honey on Amazon (affiliate link). Cardamom bitters round it out. On this cold and gloomy May day this cinnamon orange cocktail made me want to curl up under a blanket by the fire- it’s probably a better fall cocktail but this weather also doesn’t know what month it is so whatever.
Ingredients (for 1 cocktail)
2 oz of orange syrup
2 oz orange juice
2 oz cinnamon infused bourbon
top with soda water
In a sauce pan place the zest of 1 orange, 1/4 c of water and 1/4 c of sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool. If desired strain through a fine mesh seive.
Cinnamon Infused Bourbon
Cover 1 cinnamon stick with 8 oz of bourbon in an airtight container (like a mason jar). Let rest 3 days in a dark, cool place. Remove cinnamon stick. Store in an airtight container.
Cinnamon Orange Cocktail (Lady Marmalade)
Mix all ingredients in a glass, add ice, top with soda water. Easy peasy.
This is my husband’s absolute favorite smoothie. We go through about 2 bunches of bananas a week just because of this smoothie. I wish I could get him to drink more green smoothies but, at least we are starting our morning off better than with a Starbucks gutbomb sandwhich (easier on the wallet too). It’s really quick to make, and easy to eat on the go. This recipe fills a mason jar which I always put it in because it’s the perfect size, can go in the dishwasher, and travels well with a sealed lid.
This smoothie is sweetened with dates but honey is good too if you don’t have dates. I also like to throw in some other add-ins on occasion: cacao nibs, cocoa powder, shredded unsweetened coconut, sometimes I use walnuts or pecans instead of almonds. The recipe below is the basic one and actually my favorite.
Want to know a secret? Sometimes when I write banana I accidentally write bananda, like Amanda+banana. I also have been known to write my name as Amandanda or Amanda Rowlanda- mostly when I was in college and running on 3 hours of sleep per night. You’re not judging me right? Can we still be friends? Smeeeh….why am I so embarrassing sometimes?