A grassy nose with light citrus in the bite, sweet fruit kissing the burnished fall leaf…
This is not a description of wine.
It’s lovely to realize that a fruit can can be so deeply dimensioned as to evoke gentleness in the nose and nuanced levels of flavors in the bite. The discovery of this particular apple and the conversation with the grower surrounding the discovery was another reminder to relish the entire experience of the food. The quality of the Cox Orange Pippin apple I mentioned in a recent post proved to be well founded. It’s a wonderful little apple.
I chose to modify a tart recipe I thought would best showcase and complement the distinct flavor of the apples. A delicate brown butter custard steeped with vanilla bean, originally published in Bon Appetit. Instead of the recipe pastry which required an overnight chill, I used a pate brisee recipe with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, so the pastry recipe is not included in this post. Also, the Pippin apple is small in size. I’d have increased the quantity of apples in the recipe, had I it to do over again.
Overall, the recipe is worth editing for, perhaps, a more tart apple; however, this Pippin apple needs a sublimely simple recipe where nothing but the apple shines.
The tart must be served at room temperature or, preferably, warm from the oven, and softly whipped cream is a definite asset.
Brown Butter Apple Tart (from Bon Appetit)
4 large eggs
1 C sugar
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 firm, tart apples (such as Pink Lad or Braeburn) peeled, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4″ ring
Pre-bake the pate brisee in an 11 tart pan with removable bottom. Set aside.
Whisk eggs and sugar in a medium bowl just to blend. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 5 min. Do not allow butter solids to burn. Let cool for 10 minutes; remove bean. Slowly whisk brown butter into mixture; whisk in flour and salt.
Line tart shell with apples. Pour filling over. Bake until apples are deep golden brown and filling is puffed, cracked and set in center, 70-80 min.
Let tart cool in pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.