Happy release day to Maya Corrigan on her new book, THE TELL-TALE TARTE! This newest book in her Five-Ingredient Mystery series has an imaginative, twisty-turvey plot that revolves around Edgar Allen Poe. From the title and raven on the adorable cover; to the character’s name, Rick Usher; to the creative Poe puns; the author pays homage to the master of mystery. While I don’t specifically remember if I’ve ever read any Poe (probably in high school) I did love the old movies based on his stories with Vincent Price and Bela Lugosi. Suitably suspenseful without the horror of being graphic. However, rest assured, Maya has written a clever cozy that will keep a reader entertained and guessing “whodunit” without stepping foot into the horror genre that Poe was known for.
The protagonist, Val Deniston, has a wonderful relationship with her roommate/granddad, Don Myer, aka the “Codger Cook.” I’ll have to admit, the Codger Cook kind of stole the show this time. The way he has roped Val into writing a cookbook for him to how he’s taken such huge pride in taking an online P.I. course then proceeds to get in trouble by sleuthing, Don is the kind of senior citizen I enjoy being entertained by. There is humorous dialog and entertaining quotes between the characters which provides light moments in between the murder mystery. The author also touches upon the horrors vets must cope with after experiencing both the psychological and physical traumas of being in war. The subject is a sober reminder of how much we should be grateful for.
Maya Corrigan also provides six five-ingredient recipes at the back of the book, all of which sound delicious! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try her signature Tarte Tatin recipe and she has graciously allowed me to share it with you. I have heard how fussy Tarte Tatin can be but the author breaks each step into easy to follow directions and I didn’t have any issues. I think the biggest thing is to have patience and allow yourself to take the time to create this dessert as written. And trust me, your patience will be rewarded when you turn the deep golden caramelized apples out of the skillet sitting atop a flaky, puff pastry crust. You just may forgo plating and serving with ice cream or whipped cream and instead, dig into this wonderful delicacy as soon as it hits the platter!
It’s a cold January in the Chesapeake Bay area, but Cool Down Café manager Val Deniston has plenty to sweat over—like catering a book club event, testing recipes for her Granddad’s cookbook, and catching the author of a deadly tale of murder. . .
The last thing Val needs in her life is an unsolved murder, especially when the victim, an actor famed for impersonating Edgar Allan Poe, happens to be dressed exactly like her Granddad. To keep an eye on Granddad, whose latest job takes him to the home of Rick Usher, a local author inspired by Poe, Val gets herself hired as a cook in Rick’s House of Usher. When she discovers the actor wasn’t the only one doing an impersonation, separating the innocent from the murderous becomes a real-life horror story. But Val must decipher a killer’s M.O. sooner rather than later . . . or she can forget about finding poetic justice.
A huge thank you to Maya Corrigan for providing a signed copy of THE TELL-TALE TARTE for one lucky winner! Contest ends Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST. Swag is limited to U.S. and Canadian residents. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
Just because a recipe has five ingredients doesn't mean it's easy or quick to make. This tarte takes practice and a lot of courage at the last step when you turn a hot skillet upside-down and hope the tarte ends up on a plate.
It's best to cut the apples 1 - 3 days before making the tarte to dry them out. Otherwise, you may end up with too much juice in the tarte. Put the cut apples in a lightly covered bowl in the refrigerator. If you don't have time to let the apples dry out, put a piece of foil under the skillet when it goes in the oven to catch any drips.
- 6 - 8 large apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (A mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples works well.)
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) softened unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 frozen puff pastry sheet (defrosted according to package instructions)
- Equipment: a seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet
Slice the bottom off each apple to give it a flat base. Peel and quarter the apples lengthwise and remove the cores. See the note above the ingredients about storing the apples in the refrigerator for at least one day before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees when ready to cook.
Spread the butter on the bottom and sides of the seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet and sprinkle the sugar evenly on the bottom.
Arrange the apples vertically in the skillet, standing them on the flat end, in concentric circles. Pack the pieces close together so they support one another. Apples that stick up higher than the pan rim will shrink down as they're cooked.
Prepare the pastry while apples are cooking: roll out defrosted puff pastry on a floured surface until it is 1/8-inch thick.
Put a 10-inch plate upside-down on the pastry and use a sharp knife to cut out a circle the size of the skillet's top.
One: Cook the apples over medium high heat, 15 - 25 minutes until the juice is bubbling and a deep golden or light brown color.
Two: Put the skillet in the oven and bake the apples for 20 minutes at 400 degrees (F).
Three: Remove the pan from the oven, lay the pastry circle over the apples, and tuck it around the apples. Bake the tarte at 400 degrees until the pastry is browned, approximately 20 minutes. Check it after 15 minutes to make sure it doesn't get too dark. You want the crust to be a nice golden brown. If it still looks pale after 20 minutes in the oven, bake it a few more minutes.
Move the skillet to a rack and cool at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
Put a cutting board or platter over the skillet. Use potholders to hold the skillet tightly against the board or platter.
Turn the skillet upside-down. If apples stick to the skillet, add them to the top of the tarte.
If the tarte stands longer than 30 minutes after being baked, heat it over low heat for 1 - 2 minutes before turning the skillet over.
Cut the tarte in wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or just eat it plain.
If you decide to use foil beneath the skillet in the oven, DO NOT place the foil directly on the floor of the oven. Certain models can overheat and the foil can melt into the ceramic, creating a fire hazard. Instead, place the foil on the wire rack directly below the skillet.
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I was provided a copy of this book with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.