Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Recipe: Tarte aux pommes à la Normande

K and I were paid for helping with the harvest on Saturday as you might expect - with a huge bag of home-grown organic apples and half a dozen freshly-laid eggs. 'Eat them soon', we were warned, 'they don't keep well'. It occurs to me that a glut of eggs and apples might be increasingly common at this time of year, so I thought I would share my solution to this dreadful burden. It uses three eggs, around five apples and tastes absolutely delicious.

*In an ideal world, I would include here a proud photo of the finished product. Unfortunately I managed to drop the finished product on the floor during a distracted moment in the kitchen. Taste survived intact, appearance alas did not*

So without further ado:

Tarte aux pommes à la Normande
(recipe based on that on allrecipes.com, subject to adaptation and British 'translation')

You need:
180g of plain white flour
225g butter
3 eggs (2 yolks and 1 beaten egg)
115g ground almonds
80g apricot jam
Just over 100g castor sugar
15ml brandy
Somewhere in the region of five average-sized apples. I used eating apples, but I imagine three or four cooking apples would also do well.

First, make the pastry by stirring together 165g of flour and a pinch of salt, then adding 115g of butter and one egg yolk. Add cold water one teaspoon at a time until the mixture forms large crumbs. This will probably not require much water and indeed it may be necessary to add a bit more flour in order to avoid an overly sloppy texture (can you spot where I disagreed with my recipe?). The desired consistency is that of typical pastry, i.e. such that it can be rolled together into a ball without being either too sticky or too crumbly. When this has been achieved, wrap in cling film and put in fridge.

Next, make the frangipane filling by creaming together 115g of butter and 100g castor sugar until white and fluffy. A wooden spoon will do for this. So will an electric mixture, but the whisks are harder to wash up. Gradually mix in the beaten egg and the second egg yolk one at a time. Remember that raw eggs may not be terribly healthy, so resist the temptation to lick the spoon, however appetising it looks. Stir in the brandy (it's OK to lick this spoon). Stir two tablespoons of flour into the ground almonds and mix into the tasty buttery, sugary, eggy goodness. Set to one side.

Retrieve pastry from fridge and roll out of a lightly floured surface. Use to line a ten-inch flan dish and trim edges. Place back in fridge for about half an hour, or until firm.

While you are waiting, peel and core the apples, then cut into very thin slices. Preheat the over to about 200 degrees celcius.

Spoon the filling into the chilled pastry and spread with the back of a knife until even. Arrange the apples in a spiral on top of the mixture. It's easiest to start at the outside and work inwards.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 175 degrees. Bake for another ten minutes, then sprinkle castor sugar on the apples. Return to the oven until the filling is firm. According to my recipe, this should take ten minutes. According to my experience, about half an hour is more realistic (in other words, I would advise checking every ten minutes or so with a knife). When done, cool on a wire tray.

Before serving, warm the apricot jam and brush on to the tart.

Try not to drop it on the kitchen floor.


Clare said...

Hi! Found your blog via a comment you left on the Smallest Smallholding. Will be back when I have a bit more time (I am a PhD student too) to browse your archives but I'm enjoying your site so far. I hope your sloe gin turns out nice - I made some last year that is delicious but scarily potent (sloes were frozen and sugar added at the same time as the gin, for info!).

The Organic Viking said...

Nice to hear from you! Enjoy the site (and the gin).

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Greetings OV! Thanks for stopping by our blog and leaving us a comment. Glad our blog name was cheer inducing. The tarte aux pommes recipe sounds deliscious!

coelacanth said...

Hey dear!

You might be interested in this - I found it fascinating. 20 minutes well spent. http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/mark_bittman_on_what_s_wrong_with_what_we_eat.html

silverpebble said...

I'm drooling! A result of an appley swap too - free/swapped/homegrown nosh always tastes better I reckon. I'll bookmark this post for the footer when I have a little more time.

Gracchi said...

Sounds scrumptuous- and I'm going to make it- my problem is that I'm going to struggle with the last instruction! Hope K and you are both well- send my regards to all in windy Cambridge.

cronsterponster said...

I just made this following your instructions - it turned out really well, so thank you for the recipe!
instead of apricot jam I brushed the apples with leftover rosewater syrup that I made a few days ago for something else and it's very tasty. probably not at all authentic, but good all the same :o)