Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA

Today is our country's birthday.  A day for Americans to celebrate our freedom.  A couple of photos of Washington, DC seem appropriate.  We take our 7th graders there every February for their class trip.
It is a beautiful city.  I never get tired of going there.
Flags flying at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France.
Downtown Durham proudly flies the flag, also.
I also found a few photos of typical American things.
It is hard to get more American than Little League baseball.
Or buffalo roaming the prairie out in Nebraska.
How about hamburgers?  (Even if this one is a cake decorated with fondant icing!)?
Benjamin Franklin at the Durham Farmers' Market is very American, passing out flags.
Teddy Roosevelt, Jr.'s grave at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France.
 A beautiful sunrise at Sunset Beach on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina.
Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina.  (Can you see his profile?)

Fireworks at the Durham Bulls stadium last season.  (I can't wait for tonight's display!)
My earliest childhood memories of July 4 did not revolve around patriotic displays, however.  My grandfather, affectionately known as Papa, was born on July 4.  He brought birthday cake and ice cream to our house every year when I was a little girl.  He promised my mom and dad $100 if they had a baby on his birthday.  They evidently tried... my brother was born on June 27 one week before the 4th and one of my sisters was born July 11, yes, one week after the 4th.  I was born later in July and my other sister has an August birthday.
Happy Birthday, Papa!
Yesterday I experimented with a new apple pie recipe.  I found some apples and caramel sauce I had made a few days ago in the refrigerator and came up with the idea.  It must have been good because there was none left last night. 

Caramel Apple Tart
(from Bon Appétit by way of

Caramel sauce:
1-1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Bring sugar, cream and butter to boil in a heavy saucepan, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves.  Boil until caramel thickens enough to coat spoon thickly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.  This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.  Warm in microwave when ready to use.

1-1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 large egg yolks

Blend flour, powdered sugar and salt in processor.  Add butter and blend until coarse meal forms.  Add egg yolks.  Pulse until moist clumps form.  Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk.  Wrap and chill at least an hour.  Dough can be made up to one day ahead and chilled in refrigerator until ready to use.

2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
6 large McIntosh or Golden Delicious apples (about 2-3/4 lbs.), peeled, cored and quartered

Whisk sugar, flour, cinnamon and cardamom together in a large bowl to blend.  Add apples and toss until evenly coated.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-in. round.  Transfer to 9-in. tart pan with removable bottom.  Cut overhang even with top of pan sides.  Press sides of dough to bring 1/4 in. above sides of pan.  Arrange apple slices, cut side down, in circle around outer edge of pan, fitting snugly.  Fill in the inside with slices, fitting snugly together.
Bake tart until apples are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.  Remove tart from oven and brush with some of the caramel sauce.  Cool to room temperature before cutting.  Serve with more sauce and vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Bon appétit, U.S.A. et bon anniversaire!

No comments: