Pie Party, Mezza and wet basements…

Pie, pie... me oh my...

Pie, pie... me oh my...

Yeah, it was a busy weekend….Saturday night, a friend and neighbor had a 50th birthday pie party for her husband John….she provided bratwurst and fabulous potato salads( there were two…one made with mustard, olive oil and olives from Cafe Germaine -they are  such talented chefs-that was just about the best thing I ever ate…), and the beer, 3 on tap, and the guests brought pies….wow. I was telling my daughter about the pie party…she herself was set to go to a fraternity party at school…she said, “I’m jealous. I want to go to a pie party. And who wouldn’t? I had several people there ask for the recipe for the Tarte Tatin I made……so here it is, from French Cooking en Famille by Jaques Burdick….Don’t bother looking for this book that I’ve had for years…I found one used copy on Amazon for $104…and that’s not a typo. Anyway…

You need about 5 or 6 apples…granny smith, gala…both fine, peeled, quartered and cored. A 1 & 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 & 1/4 stick of butter, and one Pillsbury pie crust. That’s all! Cut the butter into thin pats and create a mosaic of them all over a 9-10 inch iron skillet, most of sugar over it, and then wedge apples in as best you can, rounded side down, rest of sugar on top.  Over medium low heat let the apples caramelize…this will take quite while…go do some chores and just keep an eye on it. When the apples finally begin to caramelize and turn brown, (I’m warning you , don’t start this too late), drape your refrigerated pie dough over the pan, tuck the overhanging crust  into the sides of the skillet with a wooden spoon, and prick all over so the steam can escape. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Take out and let cool a few minutes, but while it is still warm, put a plate over the top, and holding the plate firmly to the skillet, flip it over. Wear oven mitts and be careful not to spill hot caramel on yourself…ouch. If a couple of apples stick to the pan, no matter. Just get them out with a spoon and put them where they belong. Voila….accept the compliments gracefully. It is luscious.

Pie-boy John...

Pie-boy John...

But the best pie I thought had the pie-boy’s name spelled out on top. How creative is that?

And there are other ways to make this…I found one using tomatoes!! More a savory tart I think, but this Tomate Tarte Tatin sounds like a terrific lunch dish, or maybe a starter?? 



After seeing Burn After Reading, which was pretty amusing…odd but amusing…strolled to Lebanese Taverna just down the street from the Harbor East Theatre for an early supper….what a lovely space it is, and I had no idea it was even there! Had Lebanese Mezza…small plates of Humus, fava beans with lemon juice and olive oil, fat little sausages, grilled eggplant salad, lamb schwarma…and a Lebanese sauvignon blanc that was super. Great supper…oh and the best part? The tab under 50 bucks. Nice.

I screened the movie Nanking this weekend from Netflix. Originally made for HBO, I  want you to see it, though be forewarned, it is not for children or the faint of heart. What a powerful film about the horrible things peope can do toone another, and the unbelieveably brave things we can do for one another.  And it is yet another reminder of the terrible, unspeakable things some people have had to endure, and what a great life we Americans have here, where there’s always food, and a supply of hot water at the turn of a tap. It’s a must watch.  

And what happened in my basement during the deluge Saturday? Let me just say this…there were shop vacs, mops, trash bags, and sweat equity involved. Yeah.

3 Responses

  1. won’t the crust be on the bottom when you flip it over ???

  2. Yes, Cheryl it will . And that is as it should be….crust on bottom, fruit on top….

  3. I made the tarte tatin yesterday. My, oh my. Can I just say it was fab-u-licious tastin’ and show-stopper lookin? Since I don’t have a cast iron skillet, I used a 10-inch non- stick fry pan with straight sides and it worked beautifully. Carmelization does take a good while – probably 25-30 minutes. Patience here is a virtue. I finally stopped hovering over the pan, and left the room. Apparently the apples prefer to carmelize in private! Thanks, Donna. This is a keeper and simple enough to commit to memory – or what’s left of it…

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