Well winter has hit Toronto. I knew it was too good to be true, almost half way through the month and not a trace of snow, well until this morning. Once we get the first snowfall the summer days of just a couple of months ago are nothing but a faint and distant memory. I would post a picture of the first snowfall, but it actually looks pretty nasty outside. You see first it snowed, then it rained, and now it’s nothing but a slushy filthy mess. Yep, that’s pretty typical of the first snowfall….nothing pretty about it my friends.
I really don’t mind the snow, when it’s the nice fluffy kind reminiscent of a country road painting. It’s the darn cold that I have an issue with. Aside from what it does to my hair, it’s just unbearable. And it doesn’t even get that cold here compared to other parts of the country. It days like this that I find the most comfort in baking, especially on days when venturing outside seems like mission impossible. Enter the Tarte Tatin in all its buttery goodness. Have you ever had a slice of warm tarte tatin? No, well you absolutely must. It’s pretty much the French version of apple pie, just with a heck of a lot more butter.
I know you’re thinking that it’s probably more butter than your arteries can handle, but looking at the positive it also has fruit and we all know fruit is good for you even if they are swimming in a sea of butter and caramelized sugar. Now if that doesn’t peak your interest I would really be at a loss for words.
The tarte tatin was another first attempt for me. As you can see it’s not going to win any prizes for being the prettiest tarte tatin, but the taste was all there. The recipe I used was Dorie Greenspan’s from her book Baking: From my Home to Yours. For the crust I went with her recipe for sweet tart dough which came together rather quickly. I didn’t change anything else and tried to follow the recipe as best I could. I should have been more generous with the amount of apples I put in the pan; I underestimated how much shrinkage there would be.
You know that feeling you get when something triggers a memory and you’re suddenly transported back to your childhood?
It can be something as simple as the smell of bubblegum, for me it was a little Italian recipe book from Bertolini that my mom has had for years. I was over my moms the other night and I asked her for her apple cake recipe or torta di mele. She then came back with this little recipe booklet that I haven’t seen in years.
Aside from the great recipes it holds, the one thing I remember most is the story at the end of the booklet, the story of Maria Rosa. As a child I used to beg my mother to read it to me over and over again, I loved the characters, the pictures and of course the story. Flipping through the pages I felt like a little girl again in my mother’s kitchen, I almost asked her to read it to me …almost. The booklet itself according to my mother is 40 years old and she has kept it in pretty good condition. I asked her to borrow it so that I can scan it to have a copy for myself (not sure if I am breaking any copyright laws here, no copyright notice on the booklet itself).
The first recipe I made was the Torta Di Mele or Apple Cake. My mom has been making this for years and everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe. Continue reading
I love all things pie, but I never really ventured into the land of pie making until this year…especially Apple Pie. I have only ever made two types of Pie in the past, either Lemon Meringue or Cherry Pie. We have a cherry tree in our front yard that boasts the most perfect and sweet cherries imaginable. So it’s only natural that I make Cherry Pie, which has become one of my favourites.
But for some reason I had never before attempted to make Apple Pie until this year when my husband (Anthony) requested it. I was always worried about making a double crust pie, and I am partial to butter crusts so I wasn’t too sure how an Apple Pie would turn out. I used my basic pie recipe (recipe to follow) and really don’t follow a recipe for the filling. I do always use Granny Smith apples; I prefer their firm texture and keep its shape nicely when baking. Granny Smith do tend to me more tart, so I do add a little extra sugar. Another trick that I picked up is to scatter some bread crumbs on the bottom crust before putting in the filling; this will prevent a soggy crust.
I made this particular pie posted here for a dinner party, and it was a huge success!
Recipe to follow after the jump 🙂