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 think rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. It grows just about everywhere in abundance. It is a hardy, drought resistant plant that also has pest resistant properties and is widely used in landscaping as a result of this. I never buy rosemary. At my first apartment it was all over the place and I just picked some when I needed it. It is also at work, and covers most of the front yard of our current rental home. I love keeping a rosemary simple syrup on hand. I add it to lemonade for an earthy, herbal twist. It also pairs really well with several alcohols. Flavor combos I have been loving lately is: Gin, Grapefruit, rosemary simple syrup, St. Germaine, and Angostura bitters; bourbon, lemon, rosemary simple syrup and spiced cherry bitters; and mezcal, lemon, orange, rosemary simple syrup and Angostura bitters.
Today I am sharing the recipe for the Rosemary Whiskey Sour. It’s a pretty simple, classic cocktail that will impress and perfect for a summer night. Serve in a rocks glass with a large ice sphere or whiskey stones and garnish with a lemon slice or maraschino cherry if desired. I actually prefer no garnish on mine, or a simple lemon twist.
Make the simple syrup in advance so it can cool completely. You can store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month. Try experimenting with it on other cocktails too. If you come up with any winning recipes please share them, I would love to get some new ideas.
Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake vigorously for 10 seconds and stain into a rocks glass.
Rosemary Simple Syrup
To make the Rosemary Simple Syrup bring 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 3-5 washed rosemary sprigs to a boil. Boil for 1 minute until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes, then strain out or remove the rosemary sprigs. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
**Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters can be purchased at BevMo, or on Amazon (affiliate link)
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.
Two months ago I got this thing in my Hatchery Box called drinking vinegar. Uh, huh? It says to mix with alcohol of my choice and top with soda water. The flavor is supposed to be Michigan Apple Pie. Since when does vinegar taste like pie or belong in my cocktails? Well, you learn something new every day and I am truly grateful to Hatchery box to practically forcing me to learn this new cocktail. I took a little swig and let the flavor sink in while I went for a run. On my way back home I saw the rosemary bush outside the apartment and the lightbulb went on.The label on this “drinking vinegar” says that it is also called a “shrub.” So….why not “shrub” it up a little more by adding some rosemary simple syrup. Wow, it’s good. Eric said it tastes like something really high- end that you would drink in a fancy cocktail bar, which reminded him that we have none in our area and that he bought me a (text)book on mixology which I have been neglecting and we could have a successful bar by now….
But seriously, this cocktail couldn’t be easier to make. The simple syrup is super simple, as the name implies: 1/4 c water, 1/4 c sugar, 1 6″ sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil, simmer a few minutes then let cool. Viola. Then simply put the whiskey, rosemary simple syrup, and drinking vinegar in a lowball glass and top with soda water and garnish a little rosemary. Ultra shrubby, kinda hipster, but super delicous. You can order the brand I used here or on the McClary Bros website where they have a bunch of flavors and I just went a little too crazy after getting the green light from Eric (Pineapple and Fennel Seed and Lemon and Ginger!!). I would suggest another place to get it or another brand, but this whole drinking vinegar thing is new to me so I am still investigating that…..
Ingredients (for 1 cocktail)
2 oz of whiskey or bourbon
1 oz of drinking vinegar
1 oz of rosemary simple syrup
2 oz of soda water
for the Rosemary Simple Syrup
Place 1/4 c of water and 1/4 c sugar in a pot and dissolve sugar. Add 1 6″ sprig of rosemary and simmer for 2 minutes. let cool before using.
Yeah, so my first post is actually about bourbon. I had every intention of posting my recipe for overnight oats but then Saturday night got in the way and Eric asked me to mix up a cocktail and it turned out so pretty and delicious I had to make us another one, this time photographing every step.
I really like bourbon, my drink of choice lately has been an old fashioned and my absolute favorite one is served in a cedar smoked glass at 1909 in Temecula. One day I will figure out how to recreate that at home without setting off the smoke detector. As much as I love an old fashioned though, spring has me wanting to incorporate more fresh fruits into my cocktails and these blackberries practically jumped into my cart at the grocery store today. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but my mom mentioned a similar recipe today and I have not been able to get it out of my head since. Making this cocktail was basically a non-optional event.
These things are super easy to whip up and really impressive to serve making them a great idea for parties or when having guests over. Start with muddling fresh blackberries and agave nectar in your shaker. I don’t actually have a muddler so I used the back of a large spoon to smash them up. Add the lemon juice and lime juice and muddle a little more.
Make sure you use a good quality bourbon- I used Evan Williams Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Add it to the shaker along with a dash of bitters and shake well. I served them in these adorable vintage coupe glasses we got for our wedding. I am obsessed with them. I am obsessed with all glassware- especially vintage or gold embellished kinds…. (Please don’t buy me any more or Eric might have a meltdown over where to put it.) Garnish with a lime slice or lemon twist.
Boom. Gorgeous magenta colored cocktails waiting to be savored. You’re welcome.
Check back next week for my originally planned post on Overnight Oats. Cheers!
juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 ounces of bourbon whiskey
1.5 oz raw agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Mix blackberries and agave nectar in a shaker and muddle. Add lemon juice, lime juice, bitters, bourbon and ice. Shake well, strain, and serve cold with a lemon twist or lime wedge garnish.