Fall Colours

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving and my first birthday on the same day – November 22, 1962.   Since then, the fourth Thursday of November and my birthday have coincided six more times.  Growing up I didn’t think this was a particularly good thing.  We had a family tradition that the birthday kid got to choose the menu on their big day but, unfortunately for me, Thanksgiving  always trumped birthdays.  I wanted pizza and ice cream and cake and candles;  not turkey and brussels sprouts.  The issue resolved itself in 1974 when we moved to Canada and started celebrating Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.

This year I missed out on Thanksgiving with my family in Canada.  Instead, I was on my own enjoying the culinary wonders of Paris.  I marked the holiday by feasting on the best hot dog on the planet.

window display of hot dogs in Paris

But I’m not going completely cold turkey on turkey.  Instead, I’m joining up with The Food Network to celebrate a virtual Thanksgiving.  Like all good dinner guests, we are all bringing something to the Communal Table – recipes, photos, tips, memories and holiday stories.

Golden Delicious Apples in a Bowl

My contribution to the virtual feast is a wonderful Puff Pastry Apple Tart (since you can never have too many desserts at the table). It’s loosely based on a recipe that I learned to make at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.   Le Cordon Bleu recipes aren’t exactly recipes.  They are just a list of  ingredients.  It’s up to the student to make their own notes on technique, cooking times, temperature, etc.  The original tart recipe involved making puff pastry from scratch but since most of us live in the real world, my version starts with frozen puff pastry.  (Just be sure you buy one that says all butter or real butter since there are plenty of brands out there that don’t include any butter at all.  When in doubt, check the ingredients listed on the box.)

slice of puff pastry apple tart with a spoonful of sea salt caramel ice cream

Puff Pastry Apple Tart

serves 4


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 3 medium Golden Delicious apples
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • sprinkle of vanilla powder*
  • icing sugar (powdered sugar)


  • Preheat oven to 375° F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • On a lightly floured surface, unroll pastry and roll out to a 12″ x 12″ square
  • Place the puff pastry on the baking sheet and pierce it all over with a fork
  • Peel and core apples, cut them in half, then slice them very thin
  • Arrange slices on the pastry
  • Drizzle with honey
  • Sprinkle with vanilla powder (if you prefer, you can substitute cinnamon for the vanilla powder)
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown
  • Let cool slightly, then garnish with powdered sugar and serve with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

*Vanilla powder is popular in France where it’s  made from 100% crushed vanilla beans.  If you can’t find it in your area, you can order it online at the Vanilla Food Company.  You can also make your own by drying vanilla pods in a slow oven (about 250° F)  until they are dry enough to snap; about 45 minutes.  Once they’ve dried, use a spice grinder or food processor to grind them into a powder.

The Food Network Communal Table Feast

Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Eat Be Mary: She’s Mulling It Over Wine
Cookistry: Bread With Ancient Grains
Celebrity Chefs and Their Gardens: The American Hotel Peconic Clam Chowder
Picky Eater Blog: Butternut Squash Soup With Thyme and Parmesan
Good Food Good Friends: Mushroom Soup

Examiner.com: Grilled Quail with a Warm Beet, Frisée, and Pistachio Salad
She Wears Many Hats: Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey

Living Mostly Meatless: Vegan-Friendly Corn Casserole
Healthy Green Kitchen: Red Kuri Squash Pie
The Naptime Chef: Crispy Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes
Gluten-Free Blondie: Apple and Cranberry Studded Stuffing
Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat: Blue Cheese and Rosemary Celebration Potatoes
Burnt Lumpia: Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cranberry Empanadas
Panfusine: Pan Fried Polenta Seasoned With Cumin, Ginger & Black Pepper
Homemade Cravings: Warm Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Slaw
Bakeaholic Mama: Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Prosciutto
Show Food Chef: Beer-Braised Brussels Sprouts
T’s Tasty Bits: Sweet Empanadas with Pumpkin and Lupini Beans Filling
The Amused Bouche Blog: Braised Kale
The Little Kitchen: How to Make the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The Macaron Queen: Macaron Tower
Poet In The Pantry: Amaretto Apple Crisp
Farm Girl Gourmet: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
That’s Forking Good: Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Blondies
Out of the Box Food: Out of the Box Food Maple Pumpkin Pie
Cake Baker 35: Orange Spiced Pumpkin Pie
Lisa Michele: Pumpkin, Pecan, Cheesecake Pie
Food For My Family: Buttermilk Custard Pear Pie
Simple Bites: Black-Bottom Maple Pumpkin Pie
A Cooks Nook: Swedish Apple Pie
Yakima Herald: Pretzel Jell-O Salad
How Does She: Three of Our Favorite Desserts
Dollhouse Bake Shoppe: Thanksgiving Candy Bar Name Plates
Sweet Fry: Pumpkin Latte
Tasty Trials: Spiced Apple Panna Cotta With Caramelized Apples and Caramel Sauce
An Uneducated Palate: Puff Pastry Apple Tart
Frugal Front Porch: Mini Cheaty Cheesecakes

Even more:
Kitchen Courses: Thanksgiving for Six People Under $60
A Curious Palate: The Communal Table

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Puff Pastry Apple Tart at The Communal Table

by The Culinary Travel Guide time to read: 3 min