Monday, September 24, 2018

Beet and Apple Upside-Down Tart

It all began at the eye doctor's office. I was waiting for her and picked up a copy of Better Homes & Gardens. I flipped through and a photo of an intriguing dish caught my eye. Blood Orange and Beet Upside-Down Tart was amazingly colorful. But it was the upside-down part that intrigued me the most. When I left, I bought beets, went home and looked it up on the net. Here's the LINK to the original recipe for anyone who wants to see it.

While I might be able to find yellow beets at a farmer's market, the odds of finding blood oranges anywhere in a 1000 mile radius at this time of year is less likely than finding a living dinosaur. So I substituted red beets and apples. My version isn't quite as colorful or autumnal as the original recipe but to my complete surprise, it was delicious.

I'll admit that I was a little bit nervous, but I swapped out the orange juice for water with a hint of lemon, and I omitted the garnish of walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and watercress leaves. If you make this for a party, it might be worth dressing it up with those, but I think it's beautiful just the way it is.

The strange combination of beets with fruit works very well. They suggest eating it as a side dish or a light entree. I ate it for dinner. Sliced in one-inch by four-inch strips, I thought it would make a nice appetizer. It would be a clever surprise for vegetarian friends.

And baking the puff pastry on top of the beets and apples was sheer brilliance. It worked beautifully! I'll be trying that more often.

I had large beets and was left with extra to use in another dish. But it used the entire small apple.

Beet and Apple Upside-Down Tart
based on a recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

8x8 baking dish

1 red beet
1 firm apple
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt (to taste)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry

Thaw the puff pastry according to directions. While it's thawing, peel the red beet and slice into 5 thin (1/8th inch) slices. Peel and core the apple and slice each quarter into four or five slices.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Pour the lemon juice into a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1/2 cup of liquid. Lay the beet slices in a pan and cover with the lemon liquid. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the apple slices, spreading them around the pan. Bring to a boil again, lower heat and simmer for four more minutes. The beets should be cooked through and soft when pierced.

Lay the beet slices in the baking dish in a decorative pattern. Arrange the apple slices between them, leaning them against each other in rows.

Add the honey, olive oil, and butter to the liquid in the pan. I used a sprinkle of salt, but I'm not sure it's necessary. Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes until it becomes syrupy. Pour over the beets and the apples. Lay the puff pastry on top and tuck the edges down all the way around. Bake for 30 minutes.

Place on a baking rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Flip onto a serving dish and serve warm.

Simmer the beets.
Add the apple slices and simmer.
Cook the liquid with honey, olive oil, and butter.
Place the beets and apples in the pan and pour the liquid over them.

Coming November 27th!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Perfect Pumpkin Bread and HAUNTED BOOKSHOP #GIVEAWAY from Cleo Coyle

We usually have a guest on Sunday, but this week is a very special one for us because, after nearly ten years, we're finally making our ghost reappear!

That's right, JACK IS BACK, which makes him our special guest today as we count down the hours to the official release of our brand new Haunted Bookshop Mystery: The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

For those of you who've never read our Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, we hope you'll give this new one a try. Though it's the sixth book, you won't have any trouble jumping in. We always introduce our characters with enough backstory so that new readers can join in the fun without feeling lost...

GIVEAWAY #1 -- Leave a comment on this post
for a chance to win a signed copy of Cleo Coyle's
brand new Haunted Bookshop Mystery:
and the "Jack is Back!" tote bag.

To pre-order Cleo's book
or learn more click here.

"Jack and Pen are a terrific duo who prove
that love can transcend anything." 

—The Mystery Reader 


Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn't believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful... 

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it--literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

GIVEAWAY #2 -- For a chance to win this signed
set of all 6 Haunted Bookshop Mysteries,
visit our "Cozy Wednesday" guest blog post
by clicking here or on the image above.

Click for free checklist of Cleo Coyle's
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries in order!

Now for today's recipe!

Since Jack (our PI ghost) is our Sunday guest of honor, and Jack-O'-Lantern season is just around the corner, we're sharing one of our favorite fall recipes...


Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

A Note from Cleo

Cinnamon and nutmeg are traditional in pumpkin bread, but our recipe also layers in earthy-sweet maple syrup and brown sugar. Both combine with the vanilla to create a delightful note of caramel. 

To quote our coffeehouse manager and amateur sleuth Clare Cosi, "The trick to baking up an excellent quick bread is not unlike the secret to a good relationship: keep the structure strong enough to prevent it all from falling apart—without sacrificing tenderness." Marc and I work on that delicate balance every day, just as our character Clare does with her new fiance, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn. 

Click here to see more recipes
As for this pumpkin bread, our readers may recognize it from our recent bestselling Coffeehouse Mystery DEAD COLD BREW. To see more recipes from the book, click here.

The bread bakes up wonderfully with great structure as well as layers of delicious flavor. It's perfect for gifting, too. May you eat with joy!

~ Cleo


To download a free PDF
of this recipe that you
can print, save, or
share, click here

Click for free Recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's
Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf 


2 extra-large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed and free of lumps!
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
1½ cups pumpkin puree* (most of a 15-ounce can)
2 cups all-purpose flour
(optional) ½ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

*Pumpkin puree can be homemade or canned. If using canned, be sure to use 100% pureed pumpkin and not “pumpkin pie filling.”


Step 1—Make Batter: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Coat bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease the pan with oil or butter. With a fork or whisk, beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Whisk in oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Whisk in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Finally, whisk in the pumpkin puree and blend well. Switching to a rubber spatula (or spoon), stir in flour until a lumpy batter forms. Be sure all the raw flour is well incorporated into the batter, but do not overmix. If adding nuts, fold in now. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Even off the top and bang the pan a few times on the counter (to remove air bubbles). Allow the pan to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes before baking.

Step 2—Bake: After about 50 minutes baking in your well-preheated 350° F oven, test for doneness by inserting a toothpick deep into the center of the bread. If it comes out with wet batter clinging to it, place aluminum foil over the top of the pan to prevent overbrowning and continue baking 5 minutes at a time, testing until toothpick comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Step 3—Cool and slice: Bread should cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. If your pan is nonstick, it should come out easily. Otherwise, run a knife around the pan edges. Before slicing, cool bread for another 15 minutes or you may risk crumbling the slices. Slice gently using a serrated knife. Delicious plain or with a spread of butter or whipped cream cheese.

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
Friend us on facebook here.
Follow us on twitter here.
Visit our online coffeehouse here.

Our NEW Coffeehouse Mystery!

Mystery Pick of the Month! --Library Journal

Amazon * B&N

IndieBound * BAM


"A gripping and entertaining mystery"
--Library Journal (Starred Review) 
"Penetrating insights" --Kirkus Reviews 
"Sure to delight" --Publishers Weekly


This culinary mystery includes
25 delicious recipes! To get the
Free Recipe Guide,
 click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
17 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


The prim bookseller and
hardboiled ghost team up again
to catch a cunning killer in...

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

On Sale September 25

"He is hardboiled in the tradition
of Philip Marlowe, and she is a genteel
Miss Marple; yet the two opposites
make an explosive combination..."

—Midwest Book Review