So, The Hunger Games movie premiered this week. Most. Exciting. News. Ever. I only discovered the books a few months ago but like most people I was hooked right away. I tore through the series in about a week, and I’ve re-read all the books like 4 or 5 times in the last month alone. If you’ve been on the Metro lately and seen a short Asian girl on the Orange line train to Vienna choking back tears while staring intently at her iPhone, that was probably me, re-reading the part where Rue dies and District 11 scrapes together enough money to send Katniss a loaf of bread. *Sniff*
When I heard a Hunger Games movie was coming out I almost peed my pants in excitement. So, needless to say I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while. Not enough to brave the swarms of die hard fans at the midnight showing on Thursday, but enough to give up precious hours of sleep on a Saturday morning and drag Dan to a matinee. And guys? It was awesome. Go see it.
Obviously the story is great and the book was well-written, but I think one of the reasons I liked The Hunger Games was all the references to food. When Katniss goes from having to hunt and forage to survive in District 12 to being surrounded by more food than she’s ever seen in the Capitol, she goes a little nuts. Every time you see her, she’s gorging herself on rich meats and sauces, decadent desserts, and fine breads. Can you blame her? Food is great. And, she needed to pack away some extra calories for the Games.
Since we were watching the Hunger Games movie this weekend, I wanted to make something fun to celebrate. The first thing that came to mind was the lamb dish that Katniss said was the best thing the Capitol had to offer, but I’m not wild about lamb and stewed prunes don’t appeal to me. I eventually settled on apple and goat cheese tarts, because when Peeta and Katniss are hiding in that cave eating food sent by their sponsors, one of the last things they have is bread smeared with soft goat cheese and layered with apple slices. As they’re eating that, Peeta mentions that he and his dad used to sell a great apple and goat cheese tart in their bakery.
I’m usually not a huge fan of foods that are both savory and sweet, but these tarts were actually really tasty. All the flavors and textures worked really well together! The puff pastry base was delightfully buttery and flaky, and the savory-sweet goat cheese filling was perfectly balanced by the tart sweetness of the sliced apples. Even Dan, who usually refuses to eat anything with goat cheese in it, had to admit that these tarts are delightful. That Peeta…he really knows a thing or two about pastries!
- ½ package of frozen puff pastry (1 sheet), thawed
- 2 tsp honey
- ½ cup (4 ounces) goat's cheese, room temperature
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1-1/2 small Gala apples
- Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Roll out your sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Use a cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out rounds of dough. Cut as many rounds as you can, then knead together the excess bits and re-roll the dough into a flat sheet about ¼ inch thick. Repeat until all your dough is gone. Place rounds on the prepared baking sheet. (The original recipe used 4-inch cookie cutters. I used plastic drinking glasses that were around 3-inches in diameter.)
- Using the blunt end of a 3-inch cutter or smaller drinking glass, firmly press into the center of each round of dough, going just deep enough to form a border. Stick baking sheet into the freezer to firm up while you make your cheese filling and slice your apples.
- In a small bowl, stir together the goat's cheese, vinegar, and honey. Mix well.
- Peel, halve and core the apples, then cut into ⅛-inch slices.
- Remove the chilled pastry rounds from the freezer. Divide cheese filling equally between the 8 rounds and use a spatula or butter knife to spread the mixture evenly within the demarcated border.
- Top the cheese filling with a stack of apple slices.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden and puffed. (To give the apples a sweet and glossy finish, microwave 1 tbsp apricot jam with 1 tbsp water, mix well, and brush gently on top of each tart.)
- Serve either warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
(Adapted from Seven Spoons’ recipe)