If you're anything like us, you've been counting down the days until Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 since the credits rolled on Catching Fire!
To celebrate the upcoming premiere, we tried our hand at baking something from the dystopian world of Panem. Emily Ansara Baines' book, The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, ($8, amazon.com) outlines over 150 recipes that bring the triology's fictional food to life (including everything from the rich desserts of the Capitol to Katniss' favorite lamb's stew with dried plums).
We baked up a version of an apple tart from the Mellark Family Bakery, as mentioned in chapter 23 of the first Hunger Games book.
"As Peeta and Katniss prepare to fight the other last surviving tributes, Cato and Foxface, the pair of heroes consume the last of the feast Haymitch and the sponsors sent them," Baines writes. "While eating, Peeta mentions that his family makes a fancy tart of goat cheese and apples back at the bakery, and Katniss is astonished to learn that Peeta’s family never gets to eat the fancy food they put on display, only the dry leftovers. This news helps Katniss realize she and Peeta have more in common than she previously believed."
Honey, Goat Cheese, and Apple Tart from the Mellark Family Bakery
Makes: 16 tarts
16 frozen puff pastry shells, thawed
1 egg, beaten
5 ounces soft goat cheese
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 medium Pink Lady or Cortland apples, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons salted butter
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil two baking sheets.
2. Place 8 of the thawed puff pastry shells on each of the oiled baking sheets. Brush each shell with beaten egg.
3. Bake shells for 10 minutes.
4. While shells are baking, mix cheese, lemon juice, sugar, 1 tablespoon of the honey, and salt in bowl. Pour cheese mixture into a Ziploc bag. Cut the bottom edge of the bag, creating a makeshift piping bag, and squeeze mixture atop each prebaked pastry shell.
5. Artfully place apple slices atop cheese. Mix butter and ½ cup of the honey in a small bowl; brush over apples and tart. Sprinkle with allspice.
6. Bake tarts until apples are tender and pastry is lightly golden, about 15–20 minutes. While still warm, place tarts on plates. Drizzle some of remaining honey over each and serve warm.
Tips from Your Sponsor
As you have likely realized, different apples have different tastes that can be utilized in your kitchen. The crispness of Pink Lady and Cortland apples works well with a tart, while the sweetness of a Fuji, McIntosh, or Jonagold apple would likely work better in a sauce.
Recipe excerpted from The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to "Groosling" - More than 150 Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games Trilogy (Adams Media) by Emily Ansara Baines ($8, amazon.com). Copyright 2011 F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.