It’s the season for apple tarts, Fall, when the largest bounty of apples reveals up on the market. I’ve needed to find out about all types of different types of apples for the reason that ones out there in France differ from those in the US that I used to be used to. Nevertheless it’s been an exquisite journey of discovery and I’ve discovered uncommon varieties that have been in the future, plentiful on the market, and the following week, all gone.
After I lived in California, we had some terrific apples, coming from locations like The Apple Farm, which resurrected many types of “misplaced” apples, or what can be referred to as in French – pommes oubliées. Fortunately most are as shut as my native market.
Just a few months in the past, I posted about an apple tart that had gained accolades as the best apple tart in Paris. Judging what number of requests I get to call “the perfect” macaron, croissant, baguette, or bistro in Paris, it’s quite a lot of stress to call “the perfect” of something. Luckily, the perfect apple tart (and best baguettes in Paris) are determined by committees, slightly than one particular person, which takes the stress to carry out off for one single particular person to need to do the deed.
Residence cooks additionally get a go in France. Despite magazines that promise to ship the “crispest crust conceivable!” the seek for superlatives, and “the final word” ends right here. French dwelling cooks and bakers cook dinner with out worry of reprisal for not reaching the identical heights the native pâtissier does, and aren’t as obsessive about perfection. Visitors are appreciative when their hosts bake one thing selfmade, overlooking particulars like an uneven crust or just a few overly burnished spots.
Many classics, just like the tarte Normande, match that invoice. It’s meant to be a easy, unfussy dessert; apple slices baked beneath a buttery crust beneath a blanket of Calvados-spiked cream.
The crust on this tart is supposed to meld with the fruit and custard filling, not be a very separate entity. So it’s not pre-baked. (If you wish to do it, you’re welcome to pre-bake the crust, lined with foil and pie weights, however I haven’t seen any dwelling bakers try this in France.) So I observe their instance and simply go for it, with out including the additional step.
Apples in France are bought by selection, however they modify primarily based on area and season. On the markets, distributors checklist what qualities every apple has: Croquant (crunchy), à cuire (meant for baking), acidulée (tart), so you may determine. In the event you don’t have a neighborhood market, within the U.S., Braeburn, Granny Smith, Jonagold, and Winesap are flavorful apples which are good for baking.
The tart known as “Normande” as a result of it makes use of heavy cream and Calvados, two staples of the hearty delicacies of Normandy. Discover there’s no cinnamon; the French don’t robotically put cinnamon on apple desserts, however when you really feel compelled so as to add a pinch, I gained’t inform.
French Apple Tart (Tarte normande)
To dial down the richness, you may swap out half-and-half for the cream within the recipe. Calvados is apple brandy from Normandy. You possibly can substitute one other apple brandy. If they are not out there, you should use brandy, Cognac, or darkish rum. If avoiding alcohol, omit the brandy and double the vanilla extract, though the tart will get its title, and taste, from the brandy, so the style will likely be totally different.
Servings 8 servings
For the tart dough
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces, 85g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1 giant egg yolk
- 1 cup (140g) flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 4 medium apples, (see headnote), about 1 1/2 kilos, 700g
- 2 giant eggs
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons granulated or uncooked cane sugar, for ending the tart
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream, (or half-and-half)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons calvados
Make the tart dough by mixing the butter and sugar collectively in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low-to-medium pace, till mixed, about 1 minute. (However don’t whip.) Add the egg yolk and blend on low pace for 30 seconds. Combine within the flour and salt on low pace, till the dough comes collectively. If needed, add a sprinkle of water if the dough feels too dry. Do not overmix it. (I typically cease the mixer earlier than the dough is finished and blend it by hand, to keep away from overmixing.)
Form the dough right into a disk and place within the middle of a 9-inch (23cm) detachable backside tart pan. Use the heel of your hand, and fingers, to press the dough throughout the underside and up the edges of the pan, getting it as at the same time as doable. Refrigerate or freeze the dough till prepared to make use of.
To bake the tart, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Peel and core the apples, and minimize them in eighths. Place the slices in concentric circles within the unbaked tart shell.
In a bowl, whisk collectively the eggs and 1/2 cup sugar, together with the vanilla extract and salt. Whisk within the heavy cream and calvados, till the combination is easy.
Pour the filling over the apples within the tart dough. Sprinkle the highest with 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake the tart till deep golden brown on high, about 45 to 50 minutes. (The tart shouldn’t leak however in case you are involved it would, bake it on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.) Take away from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Storage: The tart is finest loved the day it is made. It may be stored as much as 3 days however doesn’t enhance.