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The Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle

The Sunny Bank I was very excited to get the opportunity to visit this garden because I've heard so much about it. It did not disappoint. The garden was created by Elisabeth Carey Miller and her husband Pendleton who purchased the house in 1948. Mrs. Miller was a self-taught gardener who used her artistic skills (she majored in Art History) to create the stunning garden which features a dense canopy of native conifers. She became a plant collector and tracked down unusual specimens and was known as a well-respected plantswoman in the horticultural community. The front entrance Visiting this garden is not exactly easy. It is situated in a restricted community and there is a limit to the number of visitors per year. You must make an appointment on the website at designated times or you can find a tour group like I did. The address isn't listed either although even if you had it, you would have to get past the security guard at the gate to the neighborhood. I think if I lived in

French Apple Tart - If you can't stand the heat, get in the kitchen!

I love to bake so if it is too hot (or too cold) to be gardening, I'm often in the kitchen. Here is another recipe from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and it is one of our favorites. It doesn't really look like a tart because I used refrigerated pie crust and decided to use the extra piece as a topping so it is more like an apple pie I suppose. The first time I made this, I did it exactly the way it reads, and even did the crust from scratch as well. It turned out beautifully - with the apple slices fanned out on a flat crust. This time I was a little lazy so used the refrigerated pie crust.

French Apple Tart

For the pastry:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
* 1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:

* 4 Granny Smith apples
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
* 1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
* 2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water


For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart's done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Yummy! It is so beautiful though seems a shame to eat it at all! Just kidding! What a work of art!

  2. I printed out the recipe and will pick up the ingredients tonite. It sounds good and for some reason I'm in the mood to bake (that mood doesn't come over me very often).

    I don't know how I missed your Wed post. The photo is beautiful, love the lamp. just perfect to set off the rudbeckia. I'd call that a wonderful vignette.

  3. Yum.... do you have to tempt us like this? That's a beautiful work of art and I'm sure it was delicious.


  4. That is one delicious looking pie! I think when our apples are ripe we'll try that recipe.

  5. Hello Phillip, So nice to see your blog and what a umm-umm introduction. Beautiful work! Will ice cream accompany it?

  6. That's a beautiful tart. I'm a fan of Ina Garten's, so I will have to try that recipe.

  7. Seductiv!
    I can almost sense the wonderful smell from your truely beautiful masterpiece.

    Greetings from Vaxholm/ TYRA

  8. I just want a tiny little piece.....please.....

  9. Phillip you just had to post this didn't you ! .. I love watching Ina's show too : ) This is looking VERY yummy !!

  10. Thank you for the recipe Phillip! Looks so tempting...

  11. Since I'm not known for my cooking...Do you mail order?

  12. I've been in the kitchen because of the weather also. It is a nice break from gardening.

  13. Sometimes the easier way is the path to follow. I really miss good refrigerated pie crusts and wish they made them in gluten free form. Alas, but your tart looks like heaven, and I bet it tasted like it too.~~Dee

  14. Yummy! I used to make apple crisp, but can't be bothered lately.... too much cutting! :)

  15. I looks yummy! I love to watch the Barefoot Contessa. Her meals are so simple, yet very elegant and delicious looking. Enjoy!

  16. It looks beautiful and the recipe sounded good, Phillip, but I needed google to find out what Calvados meant. Now the apricot/Calvados glaze sounds even better!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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