Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ollie's Apple Tart... And Sheila's coming!

Before I get to Ollie's Apple Tart today, I want to share a bit of news. I *just* finished my copyedits for Buffalo West Wing (coming January 4th) and turned in my manuscript for Murder Most Civil (tentative title for the second book in the Manor House Mystery series). I'm ecstatic to have gotten these major things done and turned in on time.

As great as all that makes me feel, I can't relax yet. I have another very big deadline looming December 1st. I also have another possible project (shhh... can't say anything yet -- it's still very, very iffy) that I need to concentrate on. Because both of these projects are going to take up loads of time, I'm taking a short sabbatical from blogging. Starting tomorrow, September 1st, I'm going offline. For as long as I can.

But - here's the really exciting news: For the next six weeks, author Sheila Connolly (Orchard Mysteries, Museum Mysteries) will be taking my place here on Tuesdays. Please make her feel welcome. Sheila's doing me a huge favor by taking over here and I know she's got a lot of great recipes and stories to share.

In honor of Sheila and her Orchard books, this week I'm sharing an apple recipe from State of the Onion. It's a winner, for sure.


1 pie crust (Marcel makes it from scratch at the White House, but when I make this at home, I cheat and buy the rolled, refrigerated ones)

Roughly 2 pounds of tart, sweet apples; Granny Smith or McIntosh, generally about 5 or 6, depending on size (I used 6 apples and it was far too many. I think 5 would be plenty.)

1/2 C. sugar

2 T. fresh lemon rind, grated

Juice of 1 lemon

3 T. sweet butter, cut into small pieces

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 C. clear apple jelly,br>

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place pie crust in a 10 inch pie or tart shell with a removable bottom.

Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Cut away and discard the cores. Slice thinly.

Okay, now check out this photo to the left. Ages ago, I was a Pampered Chef home demonstrator and I got the "Apple Peeler Corer Slicer" in my starter kit. I thought it was a dumb and unnecessary piece of equipment. But I promised myself I'd keep an open mind the first time I used it. Fabulous. I love this thing. I only use it a couple of times a year but it's worth its weight in gold. I've had mine now for close to 20 years and I wouldn't part with it. Amazing how my opinion can be changed when I kept myself open. This is great. Fun too.

Place apple slices in a bowl, add lemon juice, toss until the apple slices are coated (this will keep them from browning).

Arrange the apple slices on the tart pan in a pattern like fish scales, in overlapping layers. Continue until all apples are used. ***Notice, I don't have a tart pan. I used a springform pan instead. More on this later***

Sprinkle the apple slices with the sugar and lemon rind. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Place on a baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F. Bake 25 minutes longer. Keep an eye on the tart for the last fifteen minutes of baking. If necessary, cover with foil to keep from browning too much.

*** This part about the baking sheet is very important! Especially when using a springform pan. I put the pan in the oven - center rack - all by itself. I bet some of you bakers out there are already giggling. All those apples... in a springform pan...with no baking sheet beneath it. You know what I'm about to admit -- my tart leaked all over the place, dripping hot sticky apple juice all over the bottom of my oven.

What a great way to test our smoke detectors!

I remedied the situation quickly, placed the pan in a *lot* of foil and returned it to the oven on a baking sheet. No problem. From that point on everything was great.

While tart is finishing baking, melt the apple jelly over low heat, stirring until liquid.

Gently brush the top of the hot tart with the melted jelly.

Serve hot or cold, as preferred. It's delicious either way.

I know you'll all have fun over the next few weeks. I'll try to pop in, but I'm determined to stay as far away from the Internet as possible. At least until I can get my head above water. Wish me luck. Happy reading! Happy baking!

And, next week -- same bat time, same bat station:

Sheila Connolly!


See you later, everyone!




  1. Julie,
    Enjoy your internet vacation!!!! I am close to finishing Grace Under Pressure and I am loving it as much as I did State of the Onion!!! Now off to the library to reserve the remaining books in the series!!

  2. An internet vacation... Good luck with that ;)

    Looking forward to the new blood, and I love the idea of this being made in a springform pan with a growing little mountain of apples.

    Going out with a bang, and keep us informed of those release dates


  3. Hi Booklover - thanks! And thanks for your kind words about Grace! I really enjoy writing those characters.

    Hey Dave - I need the good luck wishes for sure. I shoulda worked ahead more, but you know how that goes. See ya!


  4. Thank you for the intro--and another apple recipe! You can never have too many.

    I second the peeler. I love to look at them an antique fairs, because they come in so many forms. One warning: they work much better with small apples, which are fine for cooking. The whopping big apples the supermarkets think we want just gum up the works. Tells you something about old-fashioned apples, doesn't it?

    This is going to be so much fun!

  5. Congratulations on meeting your deadlines! And enjoy your internet vacation.

    Good to know your smoke detectors work, right? I love this recipe...my family loves apples, so we'll give this a go!

  6. Hey Sheila - you're right about the giant apples. That's a real no-go. I can sometimes push my luck with a hefty medium sized apple, but... well...the smaller ones are much easier to deal with. But what a cool gadget. If this one ever breaks (its simple design helps keep it working) I'll definitely replace it.

    Elizabeth - thanks! I hope to come back with a good report! Enjoy the tart!

  7. Julie congrats on meeting your deadlines and hope the "other" works out for you. Defiantly enjoy your internet vacation.

    This recipe sounds yummy I think my mom has one of those apple peelers will have to see should be fun.

  8. I covet one of those apple peelers, but just can justify it. Thanks for a great 'tart' recipe without the crust.

  9. Thanks, Babs! Have fun trying this one out.

    Patg - Those peelers are truly cool little gadgets. I may take Sheila's suggestion and pick up another if I ever find one at a flea market or garage sale. They collect dust most of the year, but come the fall and apple pie season, mine gets a real workout!

  10. Great apple recipe for welcoming Sheila! Have a good off-line vacation, Julie. We'll miss you, and we'll be right here for you when you return. :)

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. Enjoy your downtime, Julie! Fingers crossed for all of your projects!!! I love the tart -- yum!
    And welcome, Sheila!!!

  12. Thanks Cleo, thanks Jenn. I'll miss checking in here every day, but I know I'll have a lot of great recipes and stories to read when I have downtime.


  13. Enjoy your internet vacation!! And can't wait to hear about your next project. Love the tart! (The recipe...)


  14. Julie, we'll miss you while you're off-line, but thanks for conning Sheila into joining us!

    I shudder to imagine the sticky mess you must have in your oven! Ugh. But your apple tart with those overlapping slices looks wonderful!

    ~ Krista

  15. Thanks Avery, thanks, Krista.

    Yep and the sticky mess just keeps on giving. My daughter made banana bread again today and the first couple of minutes after we turned on the oven were a little iffy... At least no smoke alarms this time!

    Have fun!!