Talk about taking a bake I normally do as a full pie and improvising upon it…
(click for the apple pie recipe)
(click for the pie crust recipe)
They had laid on a feast more befitting a festival than a midday meeting. There was stewed mutton with onions and ginger, stuffed eels in spiced wine sauce, and green-apple tarts baked by Jean (with a liberal dose of Austershalin brandy poured over the fruit). “I’ll bet even the duke’s own cook would have his balls skinned if he did this,” he’d said. “Makes each tart worth two or three crowns, by my reckoning.”
The minute Jean Tannen started cooking with booze, I knew he was a keeper. But seriously, though, “liberal dose” of any brandy on apples already heightens the flavors. (I did not “dose” mine with such things! Although…I was not against having some alcohol to go with the tart/pie…).
Admittedly, I was kind of tempted to try to do some kind of mutton (although…what supermarket would I find that in?!) because it’s the second time I’ve encountered mutton dishes the past few weeks while I was reading. BUT, then I read this bit:
At one end of the banquet table were desserts (the Fifth Beautiful Art): cherry cream cakes encased in shells of gold leaf that were intended to be eaten; cinnamon tarts painstakingly assembled with honey-paste glue into the shape of sailing vessels, a whole fleet of little ships with white marzipan sails and raisins for crewmen.
And immediately my mind clicked and I went: “Oh…how about apple tartlets with my mini pie tins and we’ll shape a ship at the top?!”
I mean. Expectation vs. Reality, right?
But I persevered! I plowed forth! I pretty much halved the ingredients for everything, because let’s be honest, I don’t eat a lot of what I bake to begin with. And with the winter storm that hit, on top of the pesky pandemic, who knows when I’ll get to share my baked goods with people?
Anyway, the recipe has been pretty much unaltered, and it’s one I use all the time when I’m making actual pie. The only thing I probably would have changed was the recipe for the crust. It’s more of a pie crust than a tart crust. I mean, it still works, considering it balances the apple flavors, but if you’re looking for a more tart-y flavor, then this recipe is not it. (In fact, I could probably just call this a mini-apple-pie and be done with it…).
But hey, this is definitely one way to Bastardize an apple recipe. Jean Tannen would totally be proud of me.