Alright y'all. I'm back. For good this time, I promise. The house has been purchased, papers signed, and keys turned over. So I finally have my own kitchen and can start cooking again. Not only do I have my own kitchen, but it's got way more counter space than our apartment did, AND has a gas stove. And ok fine, the decor of the kitchen leaves something to be desired (think teal cabinets and flower drawer pulls from the '70s), but before too long I'll have my Mediterranean kitchen!
So, in case you can't remember (which is more than likely since it's been so long since I've written anything), we left off on our first of two weeks of cuisine from Normandie. Another refresher - apples abound in this northwestern region of France. Like most people, I LOVE apple pie. Sometimes though, it's nice to mix things up and make an apple pie that's a little different. This apple pie from Normandy gives you just that. A tart rather than a pie, Tarte Normande fills a pie crust with slices of apples and a custard. This is almost a more sophisticated version of an apple pie. It still packs a punch of pure deliciousness; my 8 year old niece even announced to her friend's family at a chorus concert that, "My Aunt Sue makes the best apple pie EVER!". Now, I'm not vain enough to think that's anywhere near the truth, but this shameless self promotion really just makes the point that even kids won't be turned off if you go for a French apple torte rather than the normal apple pie.
So this torte is a Julia Child recipe and I assume it is wonderful just as she recommended it, but I had to make some adjustments since I baked this while living with my brother-in-law for three weeks and intruding myself into their kitchen. First off, I totally cheated. Not wanting to take over their kitchen too much, I bought a pre-made pie crust from the store. Don't look at me like that! Baking a pie crust results in flour on every possible surface of a kitchen, and I didn't want to do that to them. Also, Julia's recipe calls for powdered sugar to be sprinkled to the top of the pie. My husband handed me some powdered sugar in a ziplock bag from his brother's pantry. At least, he thought it was powdered sugar. Just to be sure, I tasted a little before adding it to the pie. Straight up baking soda. If I had used that I may have made him eat the entire ruined torte as punishment. So, without powdered sugar, I added brown sugar to half of the torte, and regular sugar to the other half. Definitely go with the brown sugar. So there you go. See the recipe for my modified version of Julia Child's Tarte Normande Aux Pommes!
Tarte Normande Aux Pommes
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child, 1961.
1 8 inch pie crust (bonus points if you don't cheat like me and buy it!)
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced thinly
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon almond extract
brown sugar to sprinkle over top
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, toss together the apples, 1/3 cup sugar, and the cinnamon. Put the apples into the pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. (Note: don't worry if this seems like too many apple slices for the pie shell - they will shrink down a little while baking.)
- While the apples bake, make the custard. Beat the egg and the remaining sugar in a bowl until the mixture becomes thick. Next, whisk in the flour until fully incorporated. Finally, mix in the whipping cream and almond extract. Whisk until everything is mixed together thoroughly.
- When the apples are done baking, remove from the oven. Pour the custard over the apples into the pie crust. Carefully, return the crust to the oven and let bake for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, sprinkle the top of the pie with the brown sugar. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes. When finished, test by inserting a knife into the custard. If it is done, the knife will come out clean.
- Serve warm.
Ryan's rating of Tarte Normande Aux Pommes - 4