Tag Archives: apple tart

Relish the Entire Experience

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.

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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

Whipped cream

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.

 

 

 

 

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A Most Proper English Guest

Orange flush of fruit, aromatic of pear or melon, alive in maritime, ye apple of my eye…

The fleeting ripeness of fruit at this time of the year feels like an undertow… subtly, yet unmistakably, at work in my subconscious. What brought it to the surface this weekend was one of the Hillsdale market vendors from Stephens Farm in Grand Island holding forth on his seemingly countless and somewhat odd-looking varieties of pears, strawberries, peaches and blueberries whose availability, I was told, could now be counted in days, not weeks.

These fruits have a subtle intoxication in appearance, a curious lure that casts a line into my insecurity.  I notice in myself a tendency to be attracted to that which I know and would like to know more about instead of automatically seeking the unknown. Not fond of writing that, but there it is.

When you’re selling things, salesmanship is in order. The farmer’s subtlety ended but his point was reinforced as he continuously handed me slices of pears, plums and apples, and one was more intriguing and delicious than another. Amazing layers of sweetness. The table grapes, some with tiny seeds, some seedless, were nectar.

One of the great things about the markets is that you never know where the experience will take you. And being pushed gently but steadily away from my storied comfort zone was another benefit.

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I’m told the apples I bought, Cox’s Orange Pippin, first grown in England in 1825, will elevate whatever I decide to make to an art form. So I’m now on the hunt for a venue that will perfectly showcase what, in a good year, could be the benchmark for flavor in apples. Brown Butter Apple Tart? Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce? Apple Frangipane Tart? The results in an upcoming post.

Here’s to pastry as art.