Normandy Apple Tart

Every now and then I have to come up with a pudding on short notice. I might have some friends coming over, and we just want something to snack on in the afternoon. I might be going to a relative’s, and want to bring a “thank you for having us” pudding. Or I might be helping cater for an event, where my pudding is just part of a spread of food. Given these situations, the pudding can’t be some fussy little creamy thing, as it has to be able to travel well, keep well, and be good served hot or cold. It can’t take too long to make, but at the same time, has to look and taste good. You can’t make a dish with some potentially complex flavours either, as some people might not like them. Sounds like a tall order for a pudding.

Enter Normandy apple tart. Not much more than cooked apples on pastry, the French have always understood the value of simple cuisine. If you have flavoursome apples from a local orchard, and rich, creamy butter, why not just let these sing for themselves? Normandy tart does exactly that. Consequently, if you are going to make this, make sure you have good quality ingredients- try and get some locally grown apples (ideally Cox for UK readers), and use the best quality butter you can afford. Normandy is apple country- take their cider or Calvados, for example- so if you are making a Normandy apple dish, you know it’s going to come out well.

You can see that this pudding hits all the spots. Once cold, you can almost hold the tart upside down and it will keep its integrity (don’t try though, just in case!). I prefer it served cold, but when I served it for friends, served hot was the consensus winner. As for effort, peeling and coring the apples took me the most time- the pastry is quick and simpler than most pastries- so really not a lot of time spent in the kitchen. It went well with cream or crème fraiche, so if you are transporting this tart, you can just take along a tub of whipped cream and a spoon. And as for looks and taste? We were very pleased with the result- nothing complicated, but it didn’t need to be. So if you need to make a pudding for something, why not give this tart a go?

Normandy Apple Tart (La Tarte aux Pommes Normande)

This recipe is taken from Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking, a great recipe book (although sometimes hard to navigate) looking at traditional French cuisine. You’ll need a flan tin of some sort to cook the tart in.

8 good quality sweeter apples, like Cox
250g Normandy butter
12tsp white sugar
250g plain flour
1tsp salt
some milk, for brushing the pastry
crème fraiche, to serve

1. Make the pastry. Rub 125g of the butter into the flour until you have fine breadcrumbs. Add the salt and 5tsp of the white sugar, and mix well. Pour in 4tbsp ice-cold water, then shape into a ball immediately. Without leaving to rest, shape out the pastry into your flan tin. Brush the edges with milk.
2. Cook the apples. Peel and core all the apples. Cut them into slices (as seen in photo). Put half of the butter in a large frying pan, with 3tsp of the remaining sugar. Fry half of these apples in the butter for around 5 minutes. Remove the apples and begin to arrange in overlapping style in the pastry. Repeat with the second half of the apples. Pour the butter juices left over the apples.
3. Cook the tart. Heat the oven to 180ºC. Place the tart in the oven for 30-35 minutes. About a minute before it is done, sprinkle over the last tsp of sugar. Serve hot or cold according to taste.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Food and Wine Pairings IV: Regionality « oxfood

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