Tag Archives: Tart

Frenchie and the Wait for Fall

24 Oct

A new region and new weather patterns.

Et l’automne ?

As I dream of red and orange twirling leaves, the trees haven’t changed here – still proudly displaying their bright summer green.

It does not look like fall but it tastes like it.

Apples, pumpkins and squash on the markets.

Vivid fall colors mixed with a summer background.

Les belles pommes !

And with apples come the pleasures of spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking.

During rainy and dark afternoons when it’s better to stay inside.

Cutting, peeling and coring apples.

Dipping a finger in the vanilla sugar container.

Stewing pears and apples in a pan to create wonders and treats.

Or during bright and shiny mornings.

Putting the final touches to a belle tarte aux pommes for a friend’s party.

And this is what I wanted to share with you.

A tart that I like to eat during the week as I browse and sort all of the Tahiti pictures.

A quinoa and hazelnut crust.

A slice of fall in my mouth as I reminisce about the trip.

Apple Tart with Grand Marnier and Rose Water

makes a 9-inch tart

for the gluten-free crust

3/4 cup (90 g) of quinoa flour

1/2 cup (60 g) of hazelnut flour

1/3 cup (60 g) + 3 Tbsp of brown rice flour

1/3 cup (40 g) of tapioca flour

2/3 cup (80 g) of powdered sugar

1.5 teaspoon of guar gum

a pinch of sea salt

optional: 1 Tbsp of vanilla sugar

8 Tbsp (115 g) of cold butter – cut in small cubes

1 egg + 1 Tbsp of water

Sift the 4 flours and the sugar together over a big bowl and combine them with the guar gum and sea salt.

Drop the butter cubes in the bowl and working slowly with your fingers, rub the butter with the flour mix until sandy, soft and well absorbed. It should be lumpy and should look like breadcrumbs.

Crack the egg in a small bowl and add the cold water to it. Whisk for a few seconds with a fork to combine the water and egg.

Dig a well in the center of the big bowl and pour the egg/water in the center.

Mix delicately with your hands in a circular motion until the dough forms a ball. Do not knead it too much.

Flatten the ball, cover and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 1 hour. If chilled overnight, remember to remove it from the fridge and wait at least 45 minutes before rolling it.

for the filling

3 apples – choose between sweet baking apples or tart apples depending what you prefer. I tend to mix both because I enjoy the taste very much.

2 Tbsp of Grand Marnier

2 Tbsp of rose water (if you are sensitive to the taste of rose water use only 1 to 1.5 Tbsp)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon + an extra dash for sprinkling

a dash of grated nutmeg

2 Tbsp of brown sugar

the juice of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp of apple sauce – use your favorite recipe for apple sauce. Apple butter works well here too.

blonde cane sugar for sprinkling

While the dough is resting in the fridge and before you blind bake it, whisk in a big bowl the Grand Marnier, rose water, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and lemon juice.

Slice the apple thinly. If using a mandoline, use 3 mm/1/8″. Mix the apple slices in the bowl with the juice and make sure they are well coated.

Let the apples marinate in the bowl for 30 minutes. Use a spoon to coat them again with the juices at the bottom of the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

Roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan (22-23 cm). I use some of the tapioca flour to roll the dough. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

With a fork, make small holes at the bottom over the entire surface. Cover the dough with parchment paper, drop weights on it (another smaller oven-proof dish, or dry garbanzo beans) and blind bake the crust for 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, remove the parchment paper and the weights, and bake for another 8 minutes.

When done, lower the oven temperature to 350 °F (180 °C).

Coat the bottom of the crust with the apple sauce or apple butter. Arrange the apple slices tightly on the crust. Keep their juices in the bowl and pour it all over the apples in the tart.

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Let the tart cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Frenchie and a Summer Tart

23 Aug

Sometimes a post does not have to be about an enrapturing story.

Nor does it have to be about the magical account of a scenic trip spent in a peacefully serene location with an incomparable panorama.

Sometimes it’s just about the food and nothing but the food.

The food…

Hovering over a plate. Over a dish.

Embracing the fact that a particular recipe has to be shared with all of you as soon as possible because it’s just that good.

After receiving several e-mails about the recent pictures of a strawberry tart featured in an earlier post and inquiries about its recipe, I decided to post it.

A recipe I have now made countless times this summer.

Always a hit. Never a crumb left on the serving plate.

A soft, crusty, crumbly, buttery tart pastry.

The type of pâte brisée that was born from a mistake – pure luck. Aren’t these the best mistakes?

Paired with a fruity bite hinting on mint, lemon and orange.

And trying to resist eating a second piece is to no avail.

I made this tart with several other fruit throughout the season – other berries and stone fruits.

My favorite one in the end was the strawberry tart.

Une tarte vraiment délicieuse.

Enjoy!

And thank you to BostInno, NoshOn.It and FriendsEAT for featuring Frenchie and the Yankee this month in various pieces. Check them out below:

Boston’s must-read food blogs.

The roasted tomato and garlic quiche featured for a Gluten-Free Sunday post.

And a Favorite Blogger of the Week highlight interview.

Grand Marnier-Flavored Strawberry Tart with Mint and Lemon Verbena

makes a 9-inch tart

for the gluten-free crust

3/4 cup (60 g) of sweet white rice flour

2/3 cup (80 g) of almond meal

1/3 cup (40 g) + 2 Tbsp of millet flour

1/3 cup (40 g) of tapioca flour

3/4 cup (90 g) of powdered sugar

1.5 teaspoon of guar gum

a pinch of salt

1 Tbsp of finely chopped lemon verbena

8 Tbsp (115 g) of cold butter – cut in small cubes

1 egg + 1 Tbsp of water

Sift the 4 flours and the sugar together over a big bowl and combine them with the guar gum, sea salt and lemon verbena.

Drop the butter cubes in the bowl and working slowly with your fingers, rub the butter with the flour mix until sandy, soft and well absorbed. It should be lumpy and should look like breadcrumbs.

Crack the egg in a small bowl and add the cold water to it. Whisk for a few seconds with a fork to combine the water and egg.

Dig a well in the center of the big bowl and pour the egg/water in the center.

Mix delicately with your hands in a circular motion until the dough forms a ball. Do not knead it too much.

Flatten the ball, cover and wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 1 hour. If chilled overnight, remember to remove it from the fridge and wait at least 45 minutes before rolling it.

for the filling

about 15 oz (400 g) of strawberries – hulled and halved

1 Tbsp of Grand Marnier

1 Tbsp of finely chopped mint

1 Tbsp of finely chopped lemon verbena

2 Tbsp of blonde cane sugar

1 finely zested organic orange

2 Tbsp of red currant jelly – or black currant jelly for a different colored tart

While the dough is resting in the fridge and before you blind bake it, place the strawberries in a big bowl with the Grand Marnier, mint, lemon verbena, sugar and orange zest. Mix and make sure the strawberries are well coated.

Let the strawberries marinate in the bowl for 30-40 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, use a spoon to coat them again with the juices at the bottom of the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

Roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan (22-23 cm). I use some of the tapioca flour to roll the dough. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

With a fork, make small holes at the bottom over the entire surface. Cover the dough with parchment paper, drop weights on it (another smaller oven-proof dish, or dry garbanzo beans) and blind bake the crust for 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, remove the parchment paper and the weights, and bake for another 8 minutes.

When done, lower the oven temperature to 350 °F (180 °C).

Arrange the strawberry halves on the crust. Keep their juices in the bowl.

Whisk the red currant (or black currant) jelly in the bowl with the sweet juices and pour all over the strawberries in the tart.

(You might need an additional 1 Tbsp of Grand Marnier depending how thick the jelly is)

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Let the tart cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Frenchie and the Beginning of Spring

23 Mar

Voilà le printemps ! I said at the beginning of the week while opening three bedroom windows to let the cool and crisp morning breeze air out a sleepy room and unmade bed.

Soon it will be green everywhere. Different shades of green.

That’s how I know spring has arrived. Green.

But for now, I will just have to content myself with the unusual warm “summer” temperature drastically contrasting with trees still wrapped in their winter gloom.

Green, green, green.

Lawn green – when the bright grass shines in your eyes and make you squint.

Forest green – the first trees showing leaves while taking a walk on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Mint green – and the first buds with leaves sprouting in the garden.

Lime green – when it feels refreshing to squeeze a slice in a big tall glass of cool water and letting it drop at the bottom.

Spring green – coloring up the city all over in patches for a more springlike urban outfit.

And since I’m impatient, I won’t wait for green to come into my life.

Green pears and pistachios will do the trick in the kitchen. A new tart maybe?

And green towels too for additional shades.

On pourrait presque manger dehors !We could almost eat outside!

And what better adventure than to celebrate spring on the Massachusetts coast in Marblehead, climbing rocks to find a cozy spot for a late afternoon goûter with green tinted tartlets?

It’s the kind of afternoon when clothes transition between winter and spring, between light jacket and scarf, between shade and hot sun and when the breeze might make you shiver but the strong light will kindly warm up your muscles.

It’s the kind of afternoon when your body remains calm listening to the last sounds of winter disappearing away behind the cloudless blue sky.

Marblehead provided everything needed to enjoy the beginning of a new season and celebrate in style.

Vibrant craggy coast.

Historic old town.

Fascinating quaint streets.

And colorful friendly mood.

An escape from the city to daydream and bask in a lovelier light.

And how were the tartlets you probably wonder?

The first batch was good. Especially in front of the ocean, sitting on warm rocks next to bright purple flowers.

The second batch was even better. Improved and gone in seconds.

The third is a definite winner. A new recipe to keep – and share – for other spring escapades to continue to admire and gaze at the new shades of greens.

And because it is so fitting here, I will finish this post with a small text by French author Philippe Delerm from his book We Could Almost Eat Outside – An Appreciation of Life’s Small Pleasures, translated from French (La première gorgée de bière).

Happy spring everyone!

We Could Almost Eat Outside

It’s the almost that counts, and the use of the conditional. The suggestion seems absurd at first. It’s only the beginning of March and there’s been nothing but rain, wind and showers all week. And now this. Since this morning, the sun’s been shining with a sort of dull intensity, a calm persistence. Lunch is ready, and the table’s been laid. But everything seems different somehow, even inside. The window’s slightly ajar, there’s an audible hum from outside and the air feels fresh.

“We could almost eat outside.” The phrase always comes at precisely the same point in time. When it’s too late to change things because everyone’s just about to sit down, and the tablecloth’s already been spread and the first course set out. Too late? The future’s what you make of it. Perhaps you’ll all feel the mad urge to grab a sweater, rush outside, wipe down the garden table like people possessed, and direct the stunned offers of help towards shaping the general mayhem. Or perhaps you’ll collectively resign yourselves to eating inside in the warmth – after all, the chairs are too damp and the grass is so overgrown…

It doesn’t matter. What does matter is the moment in which you articulate that little phrase. We could almost… A perfect existence, the one lived in the conditional tense, like those childhood games of “What if…?” A world of make-believe pitted against life’s certainties. The freshness of something only a hand’s span away, something you almost experienced. A simple fantasy, involving the relocation of a domestic ritual. A tiny breeze of delirious wisdom which changes everything and nothing…

Sometimes you catch yourself saying: “We could almost have…” The jaded phrase of adults who’ve opened Pandora’s box to discover only nostalgia inside. But then one of those days comes along when you catch a possibility as it passes, grasp the fragile instinct behind a hesitation, without tipping the balance. One of those days when you could almost…

Clove-scented Pear and Pistachio Tart

1 recipe for pâte sucrée or sablée – I add a lemon zest to mine for this particular pear tart recipe

1 cup (120 g) of powdered sugar

1 cup (100 g) of ground pistachios

7 Tbsp (100 g) of butter – melted and at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon of ground clove + a dash for sprinkling

1 egg

1 heaping Tbsp of flour

2 lemons – juiced

3-4 organic pears (I choose Bartlett) – thinly sliced 1/8″ (3 mm)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).

Make sure to remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you plan on rolling it.

Roll out the dough to fill a 9-inch tart pan. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

With a fork, make small holes at the bottom and place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the pistachio paste in a medium bowl by mixing the sugar, ground pistachios, ground clove and melted butter.

The pistachio paste should be smooth.

Add the egg and continue mixing. Lastly, add the heaping tablespoon of flour and fold it delicately until you end up with a sticky smooth paste. Set aside.

Juice the 2 lemons and pour the juice in a medium bowl.

Slice the cored pears thinly. I prefer not to peel them so the green skin slightly tints the tart and matches the green pistachio paste underneath. This is better done with organic fruits. Feel free to peel the pears if you prefer.

Drop the pear slices in the lemon juice and make sure they are well coated so as not to turn brown immediately.

When you are ready to assemble the tart, remove the pan and dough from the freezer.

Pour the sticky pistachio paste in the pan. Working delicately all around the frozen tart shell, spread the paste slowly. I find that using the back of a big spoon helps. Make sure to spread the paste all over and up to the tart edges.

Remove the pear slices from the lemon juice. I prefer not to strain them so they keep a bit of the lemon juice on them, which adds a great second flavor to the tart and match the lemon zest bite in the crust. Arrange them delicately on the tart.

Sprinkle the tart with a dash of ground clove and place at the bottom of the oven – on the last row.

Bake for 40 minutes. When done, let it stand for 15 minutes before serving warm. This tart is also excellent made the day before and served at room temperature.

Frenchie and the Anticipation for Apple Desserts

17 Oct

Saying goodbye to summer seems to be very difficult for some but so easy for me.

I hope I won’t anger readers by claiming loud and clear that I never look forward to summer and that fall is my summer!

The perfect Indian summer we’ve been experiencing lately seems to operate as a soothing transition between the two seasons when fall-fanatics like me can finally get out of the house and enjoy some nice deserved smoother sun rays with a certain crispness in the air while summer-mourners can ease themselves into the idea of cooler temperatures.

As I am looking at the troubled ocean – summer to my left, fall to my right – the clouds announce that even though we can still go to the beach, fall is coming and there is no way around it.

As a kid, fall wasn’t particularly a favorite because fall meant new school year. However, running in the colorful dead leaves and jumping in splashing rain puddles with patterned plastic boots was always a treat.

What else is fun about fall?

Walking in the forest and making as much noise as possible in the leaves.

First scarfs and wool sweaters – black or brown V-necks of course, si français.

Autumn colors and comfort food – coming home to grandma’s old-fashioned compote de pommes. Not too sweet, with hints of cinnamon and a mix of puréed apples with bigger chunks.

Memories of the kitchen suddenly turned into a delicious place to sit in and observe while surrounded by warm apple scents.

Rainy walks and layering clothes. The more the better.

Reading by the fireplace in Normandy with a warm tea.

Snuggly beds when it’s cold outside.

Grandpa’s apple tart with a firm thin crust.

And since I live in the U.S., apple picking of course!

Fall has this warm soft white light producing endless opportunities for photos.

It almost feels like we’re rediscovering our surroundings and neighborhood seeing them for the first time and experiencing joy at each street corner. Everything seems different yet familiar as we bask in the prolonged summertime and the tranquil beauty of a new season about to settle.

And then there’s la cueillette des pommes - one of my favorite thing to do earlier in the fall.

And you know why? To me, apple picking only lights up deep inside my inner anticipation for apple desserts.

It’s automatic and quite simple: apple + fall = desserts.

Picking the apples is like a soft promise whispering in your ear that there will be lots of opportunities for making apple crisps, apple pies, apple tarts, apple butter and compote.

It’s more than an anticipation actually. It’s a surge of excitement. Un vrai plaisir.

Yes, I have AAD – Anticipation for Apple Desserts.

The farm is the same as where I picked my berries this summer – at Russel Orchards’.

It’s a quiet place where the apples seem more colorful than any other place.

The bright orange pumpkins already laid out and in display.

Happy chickens running around.

The bright inviting orchards just waiting for hungry visitors.

And smells of baked goods coming out from the cosy barn.

Come prepared to pick. Bags or bushels.

There are so many varieties.

I don’t know about you but I like to pick lots of different types of apples. Mixing them when baking creates wonderful flavors that can surprise you at every bite.

Qu’est-ce qu’on va faire avec toutes ces pommes ?

Good question! What are we going to do now that we picked all these apples?

A pie, of course.

A tart, oui.

Et attention!!! A pie is very different from a tart. The crust is different, the preparation is too and it just does not taste the same.

So let’s make both. But with a twist!

One of my all-time favorite thing to use when preparing apples is… and it’s a secret… orange blossom water and ground cloves. Especially for a traditional American apple pie.

The cloves bring out thoughts and memories of India.

And the orange blossom water makes me long for the Middle East daydreaming about far away lands.

Together, they make an apple pie that much more interesting and delicious.

And what about the traditional French apple tart – avec de la crème pâtissière?

Let’s have fun making it and use a traditional French summer concept to delight our palates.

In France, we eat a lot of carottes râpées in the summer: a simple grated carrot salad, which should be picked as the National Summer Dish due to its wide popularity.

The apple tart will be even better with grated apples. And for the gourmands, a sweet chocolate crust!

Happy fall!

Orange Blossom-Scented Apple Pie (adapted loosely from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook):

Crust and filling were changed from the original recipe. The baking process is the same.

For the crust:

3.5 cups (350 g) of flour

2 sticks (230 g) of butter

2 Tbsp (25 g) of vanilla sugar

1 Tbsp (15 g) of salt

For the filling:

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp of heavy cream

2.5 – 3 lb (1 – 1.5 kilo) of apples – I like to mix the varieties

1 Tbsp of lemon juice

the zest of half a lemon

1 Tbsp of orange blossom water

1/4 cup (50 g) of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

salt

1 Tbsp of raw Turbinado sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar

For the crust, sift the flour, vanilla sugar and a sprinkle of salt in a big bowl. Cut the butter in small cubes and drop in the bowl. With your hands, mix the butter in the flour mixture warming it until the butter resembles tiny pebbles. If you have a food processor, pulse until you get a coarse sandy mixture.

Dig a well in the center. Add 3/4 cup (180 ml) of cold water + 2 Tbsp. Using a fork or your index finger, stir until the dough is wet and clumpy. Add more water if too dry. Knead the dough with your hands until you can make a ball out of it.

Wrap the ball in plastic and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 °F (220 °C).

After an hour, remove the dough from the fridge. With a sharp knife, cut the ball in half. Place one half on a lightly floured surface and the other half back in the fridge wrapped in plastic.

Roll out the first disc of dough – about 13 inches (33 cm) in diameter. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and place in a 9 inch (23 cm) pie dish. Line the dough with the dish, press in the corners, and trim it so that it hangs a bit over the dish by 1/4 inch (0.5 cm).

Place the dish in the fridge for 30 min.

While waiting, peel, core and slice your apples – thick slices.

In a bowl, mix the apples with the lemon juice and zest, the orange blossom water, the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Make sure the apples are well coated.

Arrange the apples at the bottom of the chilled dish, on the dough.

Roll out the remaining dough just like the first disc.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and the cream. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with the egg mixture.

Place the second piece of dough over the apples and trim so that 1 inch (2.5) overhangs. Tuck the dough under. Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers and place the pie in the fridge for 15 min.

Remove the pie from the fridge. Brush with the egg mixture  all over the top.

Sprinkle with the 1 Tbsp of raw sugar and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar.

Cut 4 openings/vents in the top.

Bake the pie at 425 (220) for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 °F (180 °C) and bake for 25-30 min more until it is golden brown.

Let stand for 30 minutes  before serving.

French Grated Apple Tart (loosely adapted from the Recettes pratiques du marché Encyclopedia):

For the crust:

2 cups (200 g) of flour

1/2 cup (80 g) of powdered sugar

6 Tbsp (25 g) of powdered chocolate

1 stick (120 g) of butter

1 egg

2 Tbsp of lemon sugar

salt

For the filling:

5-7 big apples – I like to mix the varieties

3 Tbsp of apricot jam

3 Tbsp (20 g) of flour

2 Tbsp of ground hazelnuts

6 Tbsp (75 g) of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1.5 Tbsp (20 g) of butter

For the crust, sift the flour, powdered sugar, powdered chocolate, lemon sugar and salt in a big bowl. Cut the butter in small cubes and drop in the bowl. With your hands, mix the butter in the flour mixture warming it until the butter resembles tiny pebbles. If you have a food processor, pulse until you get a coarse sandy mixture.

Whisk the egg with 2 Tbsp of cold water in a small bowl. Dig a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg wash in the center. Using a fork or your index finger, stir until the dough is wet and clumpy. Add more water if too dry. Knead the dough with your hands until you can make a ball out of it.

Wrap the ball in plastic and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 415 °F (210 °C).

After an hour, remove the dough from the fridge. Place on a lightly floured surface.

Roll out the dough in a disc – about 15 inches (38 cm) in diameter. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and place in a 11 inch (28 cm) fluted tart pan. Line the dough with the pan, press in the corners, and trim it without any overhang.

Blind-bake the crust by placing parchment paper on top of it and dropping coins, or chickpeas, inside the pan. Bake for 15 min.

In the meantime, peel and core the apples. Grate them with a grater. I use an electric grater so it’s easier. If you don’t have one, you can always cut the apples in tiny cubes or strips.

In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the flour, ground hazelnut, sugar and cinnamon.

Remove the tart from the oven. Discard the parchment paper and the coins (or chickpeas).

Spread out the apricot jam on the crust. Spoon the grated apples on the jam. Even out the tart with the back of the spoon to make it flat.

Spread 1.5 Tbsp (20 g) of butter all over it  – small tiny cubes – and bake for 30-35 min.

Frenchie and the Chocolate-Banana Mini Tarts

14 Feb

Valentine’s Day! Embrace it, ignore it, love it or despise it – single, romantically challenged or independent, hitched or just amongst friends… at least make some good food and if chocolate is in the house – sign me up! This recipe – which is not mine – will make 2 mini tarts. Easy and delicious.

If you like strawberries better than bananas or if you enjoy a different jam than apricot jam, create your own mini tarts that match your moods and favorite flavors.

Ingredients (dough):

1 1/4 cup (125 g) of flour

half a stick of butter (65 g)

1/2 cup (50 g) of powdered sugar

1 yolk

1 big spoonful of milk or water

salt

In a big bowl mix the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter in small tiny cubes. Mix with your hands and warm the butter as you knead the dough. The butter cubes should be crushed and flattened between your fingers to look like big crumbs.

Create a well in the center and add the yolk and milk (or water) in the center. Mix with your hands until you get a workable dough between your fingers. Roll it to form a ball. Wrap in plastic and place in fridge. The dough can be made weeks in advance. Keep cold in the fridge.

Ingredients (tarts):

1 banana

4.5 oz. (125 g) of chocolate (at least 52%)

1/2 cup (10 cl) of heavy cream

lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)

apricot jam (3-4 big spoonfuls)

1 Tbsp (13 g) of butter

a handful of slices almonds – pan roasted

Preheat the oven to 375 °F (180 °C). Remove dough from the fridge at least 20 min before working it. Spread the dough with a rolling pin. Cut out 2 small rounds slightly bigger than your mini tart pans. Make holes with a fork in the dough. Bake for 15 min. Let it cool.

Prepare the ganache by cutting the chocolate in small pieces in a bowl. Heat the cream until it reaches a boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix well. Add the butter. Mix well again until you get a smooth chocolate ganache.

Pour the ganache at the bottom of the mini tarts. Do not fill the tart crusts. Fill them 3/4 to the top with ganache. Place in the fridge for 15 min.

In the meantime, cut your banana in thin slices. Pour lemon juice over it so it does not brown. Melt the apricot jam in a small pan with 2 big spoonfuls of water until you get a liquid apricot sauce. Do not make it boil and do not cook it.

Cover the tart’s ganache with the slices of banana and cover them with the apricot sauce. No need to make it thick. Use a pastry brush if needed. Finish by sprinkling the roasted almonds on top of the tart. Keep in the fridge and remove about 20 minutes before serving.

Frenchie and the Tarte Tatin

24 Nov

Thanksgiving is upon us! You know what that means… pies! There is nothing better than pumpkin pie, especially when it’s home-made and as strange as it could seem, I don’t like making pumpkin pie… I just like eating it! So instead, I like to bring a French touch to an American Holiday table – yes, the Tarte Tatin is the kind of dessert that fits right in and will please everyone with its heavy-handed butter overload.

If you like butter, apples, butter, caramel, butter and the taste of a rustic tart then this is for you. I like mine heavy on the caramel – dark brown color. However, be careful not to burn the apples in the process.

Ingredients (for the tart pastry dough):

2 1/4 cup (220 g) of plain flour

pinch of salt

1 stick and 2 Tbsp (150 g) of butter – chilled and diced

1 egg yolk

In a bowl, sift the flour, add the salt and the butter. With your fingertips, rub in the butter in the flour until the mixture resembles big chunks – like breadcrumbs.

Add the yolk and 2-3 teaspoons of cold water. Mix with the blade of a palette knife (if you’re in a hurry, mix the dough in a food processor). When the dough starts to come together, gather it into a ball. The dough needs to hold together when pinched. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment, roll the dough into a circle that’s about 11 inches (28 cm) wide. Prick the dough with a fork all over, cover and refrigerate.

Ingredients (for the tart):

5-7 firm Granny Smith apples – the Russets are better for the Tatin but are hard to find. Granny Smiths give a nice texture and acidity to the tart.

6 Tbsp (85 g) of butter

6 Tbsp (75 g) of sugar

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Peel, core and quarter 4 apples. Melt the butter in a 10 inch (25 cm) over-proof iron skillet. Add the sugar and wait until sugar and butter have melted together. Coat the sides of the skillet with a brush. Remove the pan from the heat.

Arrange the apples tightly in the pan. Lay them with their rounded sides down or against the side of the skillet. Peel and use the other apples to fill in the gaps. There should be no space in the end. Put the pan back on medium heat and cook until it bubbles – 2 min. Continue to cook for 20 minutes if you want a light caramel or 35-40 minutes if you’re like me and prefer a heavy dark colored caramel. The apple juices should be mostly boiled away. Use your pastry brush to baste the apples so that the top is also caramelized.

While cooking, sprinkle the lemon juice, the vanilla and the nutmeg on top of the apples.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C). Line a rimmed backing sheet with foil.

Let the skillet and the apples sit for 10 minutes so the caramel can settle. Let your rolled out dough sit at room temperature. Place the dough on top of the apples and tuck in the overhang. Press down around the edges to enclose it completely. Place the skillet on the baking sheet and put directly in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden.

Let the tart sit for 10 minutes and run a knife around the edges to loosen any apples stuck to the sides. Cover the skillet with a large plate and invert the tart onto the platter. Remove the skillet. If any apple sticks to the pan, just push it back into the hole in the tart. Serve the tart at room temperature or warm if you can.

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