I’m off to a jolly dinner party at my friend Rich’s this evening, for which I offered to contribute a dessert. Rich has chosen a wonderfully rich wintry menu including a duck main course (yum), so I suggested a fresh tarte aux pommes to finish. I made a couple of these a few years ago, which featured shortcrust pastry, an apple and cinnamon purée and lots of beautifully sliced apples over the top, glazed with apricot jam. Well, it turns out I can’t find that recipe – it took me almost an hour of sifting through a big heap of books to come to that conclusion, but there it is. I turned, instead, to the internet, and discovered a fabulous looking recipe whose author is clearly deeply passionate about food, and has carefully honed this recipe to recapture a memory of the first time she tasted tarte aux pommes in France. This one is similar, but uses crème pâtissière instead of apple purée and fewer apples.
As you can refer to the original for the recipe, I’ll just give a few photographs and thoughts.
The crème pâtissière doesn’t look very nice at all in this picture because of the blobs of butter over the top, but trust me when I say it tastes delicious and the consistency is beautifully thick and silky.
Irrelevant but mildly amusing, a photograph of the result of an apple corer-related mishap:
I am an absolute sucker for kitchen gadgets, so was easily seduced by a frivolous set of baking beans a little while ago, and this was my first opportunity to use them. I must admit, they’re flipping marvellous! Many’s the time I’ve chased roasting hot ceramic beans around my kitchen floor having buggered up the removal of the sheet of baking paper that contained them, so removing these in a second with a pair of kitchen tongs was a breeze. They also don’t rip up half the pastry, which I’ve done with paper once or twice…
When I do this recipe again – as I almost certainly will – I shall slightly change the way in which I’m slicing the apples. Once I’ve cored and peeled them, I’ll slice the top straight across (leaving the bottom nice and curved), then use the flat edge to slice vertically. This way, I’ll get a nice curve/point to create a more aesthetically pleasing finish. Not bad as it is, mind.
I will also make sure I cover the pastry edges next time I do this (for everything after the blind bake), as it’s a bit too browned for my liking.
Now for the nerve-wracking bit of offering it to my friends. Always terrifying, no matter how confident I am that I’ve chosen a brilliant recipe and followed it to the letter. We shall see…