3/14 is Pie it Forward Day!
What is Pie it Forward Day, you ask?
- It’s March 14th. 3.14 = pi
- It is a day that encourages people to bake a pie for someone who needs a smile and in turn, they would also Pie it Forward.
- It is also an introduction to a new and gorgeous cookbook that’s just been released by Gesine Bullock-Prado, Pie It Forward: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes, and Other Pastries Reinvented.
Although it’s Pie day, I thought I’d do something a little different and instead try this French inspired pastry AND reiterate and emphasize that this book includes pies, tarts, tortes, galettes and other pastries that have been reinvented. So in honor of Pie it Forward, I’m dedicating this post and the Apple Tarte Tatins I made from Gesine’s new book to three very special women in my life:
- Jaz – Who retired 3 months ago and instead of being able to enjoy retirement has been battling a serious eye infection all these months.
- IZ – Who is sometimes left paralyzed by recurring nerve damages to both her back and wrist.
- Nessa – Because she’s always stressing about something and just needs to taste this awesome Apple Tarte Tatin!
Pie it Forward
The author includes plenty of tips and insight to make pie life easier and an invaluable section on crusts. Because let’s face it, the crust can make or break the goodness that is a homemade pie, right? From an All-Butter Pie Dough to Puff Pastry and even Pizza Dough, this is a section not to skim over lightly.
It’s a colorful, hard-cover book that’s laid out well and easy to follow as you embark into the world of pie making with the basics, sweet pies, and savory pies. The book includes the gorgeous photography of one of my favorite food photographers, Tina Rupp. There are Sweetie Pie Notes throughout the book and color-coded sections and text for friendly reading. There is a section on Master Recipes that I’m looking forward to experiment with as Gesine has shared tasty options for pastry creams (flavors like Green Tea Pastry Cream and Salted Caramel!).
One thing I would’ve liked, that I appreciate in my cookbooks, is a Contents page so that at a glance at the beginning of the book OR at the start of each section I can run down the list of which recipes are included.
I loved this open-faced pie! It’s called a tarte tatin and the apples have been cooked in butter, vanilla and sugar. The apple juices form a lovely caramel/sugary syrup and you bake this with a blanket of puff pastry over the top. Not only does it smell heavenly when baking, it’s a beautiful spectacle as you pull it from the oven and behold the transformation of puff pastry. After allowing it to slightly cool then inverting the tarte tatin to expose the cooked underside of apples, you’ll be anxious to quickly cut a slice or two to sample it’s perfectly textured, buttery crust and sweetness that are the cooked apples. C’est magnifique!
- Didn’t have a 10-inch ovenproof skillet so used an 8-inch ovenproof skillet + 2 5-inch skillets to make a couple of smaller tarte tatins. Started cooking the apples and caramel in the larger skillet and transferred some of the syrup to each of the smaller skillets and lined with smaller cut apples. Bake time was 20 minutes at 375 degrees.
- While you’re preparing the apples (peeling, coring and cutting), fill a large pot with cold water and squeeze lemon into the water. As you’ve prepared each apple, place the slices in the water to delay browning of the cut fruit. Be sure to drain the water and lightly pat the fruit dry before adding to brown sugar/syrup.
- Place the ovenproof skillet on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet when transferring to the oven. This will make it easier to rotate and remove from the oven, PLUS it will avoid the juices that can overflow from the tarte tatin from bubbling and dripping in your oven.
- Rotate the tart/tarts halfway-through baking time for even browning.
- For presentation and texture purposes: After you’ve inverted the baked pastry, you can return the tarte tatin back to the oven and set to broil to slightly brown the top of the apples. Do not leave unattended – take care to watch it as it’s on broil and remove immediately when it starts to bubble and caramelize in color.
- Added a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract to the whipped cream before whipping into submission!
Makes a 10-inch tart
Kitchen Tools: A 10-inch ovenproof skillet
8 ounces Puff Pastry
10 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, cored, peeled and cut into quarters
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream, whipped for serving
- Roll puff pastry into a rough 11-inch round, dock it and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- Place prepared apples in a large pot or bowl that’s filled with water. Squeeze lemon juice in the water and set aside.
- In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (I used my cast-iron skillet for this), melt the butter with the vanilla over low heat. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and continue stirring until the sugar has melted.
- Arrange the apples symmetrically in the skillet, spacing them as closely as possible so there are few gaps. You won’t be able to fit all the apples in, but as the apples cook they will shrink as they release their juices. Whenever you see a gap between the apples, add more slices of apple so that you are left with a packed layer of apples with little or no space between the pieces.
- Cook until the sugar turns golden brown OR the apples are turning tender. This should take about 30-45 minutes. Set the skillet aside to cool for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the round of puff pastry over the apples. Tuck the excess dough around the edges, between the skillet and the apples.
- Place the skillet on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake tart for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way during baking time), or until the pastry has browned and is fully cooked through.
- While the tart is baking, place the whipped cream in a stand mixer and beat on high until the whipped cream thicken into desired consistency. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve with the Apple Tarte Tatin.
- Let the tart cool for about 15 minutes. The caramel syrup on the bottom of the pan needs time to thicken and set…but you don’t want it to cool so much that the apples stick (if this happens, gently warm the pan over low heat on your stove top to loosen them).
- CAREFULLY, invert onto a large serving plate (take care here and caution as the juices are hot and may splatter when flipping over).
Serve tart with a dollop or two of your homemade whipped cream!
Store leftovers in the refrigerator to help prevent the crust from becoming soggy from the juices.