Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rosh Hashanah, 9/11

Today is Rosh Hashanah so to any Jewish readers, I wish you a happy day and a wonderful and healthy new year. Make sure you eat lots of apples and honey.

I am very concerned about the pastor who is planning to burn the Qu’oran on November 11 this year. What a stupid thing to do. If I were a Muslim I would retaliate by burning the bible. He is protesting militant Islam, that I understand, but upsetting the millions of non militant Muslims is NOT the way to do it. I do hope someone manages to persuade him not to do such a provocative thing. I might say, I have read the Qu’oran, many years ago, and I didn’t find it a lot different from what it says in the bible.

We have an appointment at the doctor’s this morning, me mainly for my regular diabetes check up. So I haven’t a lot of time to write or research today.

I personally am not too big on apple pies or crumbles, however I do enjoy an apple tart with lashings of good cream. In honour of Rosh Hashanah then, here is an apple recipe. I have copied it wholesale so there seem to be lots of text variations.

French Apple Tart

Adapted from The Best of Gourmet

The Joy of Baking

This classic French tart gives you a double dose of apples, a nicely flavored apple sauce filling that is topped with a layer of sautéed sliced apples.  You will notice that the edges of the apples are beautifully brown and crisp and this is done by placing the baked tart briefly under the broiler.  The finishing touch is to glaze the apples with apricot preserves to give them an attractive sheen with the added bonus of keeping the apples wonderfully moist.  I like to serve this tart warm with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of softly whipped cream or creme fraiche.

Whatever the fruit, its harvest time is our signal that the fruit is at its optimum flavor.  Apples are no exception.  Although apples do store well, their texture and flavor is still superior when first picked.  Please take the opportunity, if you have an apple orchard nearby, to try locally grown varieties.  Once you taste a freshly picked apple with good texture and flavor, you will no longer be satisfied with the poor selection we are faced with at our grocery stores.  So although this recipe suggests using Granny Smith apples, you can substitute any firm apple that will keep its shape when baked.  Some suggestions of  locally grown apples that I use are

Mutsu Golden, Rome, Stayman Winesap, Jonagold and Jonathan.  This tart's flavor will depend on the type of apples used.  You may want to try using two or even three different varieties for a more complex flavor. 

Unlike the American's flaky pie crust that contains shortening, this tart uses the classic European Pate Sucree which is a sweet pastry crust made with butter and an egg. This gives the crust a rich sweet buttery flavor and its cookie like crumb is perfect with fruit desserts. You can, however, make this tart using Pate Brisee or the pre baked pie crust of your choice.

Tarts are open faced (no top crust), made in a shallow tart pan that has straight, fluted sides and a removable bottom.  Unlike pies that are served directly from the pan they are baked in, tarts are unmolded and served with only their pastry shells as support. 

Pastry Crust:  Roll out the pastry and fit it into a 8 or 9 inch (20 tofrenchappletart 23 cm) tart pan (instructions for how to roll out the pastry are given in the recipe for the Sweet Pastry Crust).  Prick the bottom of the shell and chill for 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.  Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface.  Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned.  Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack.  When cool, spread a thin layer of warm apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the tart to seal the crust and prevent it from getting soggy.  Let the glaze dry between 20 - 30 minutes.

For Apple Tart:  For bottom layer of apples: Peel, core, and slice three of the apples.  In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon (13 grams) unsalted butter and stir in between 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) of the sugar, the lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Add the apples and saute over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft.  Gently mash the apples with the back of a spatula or spoon and stir the mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and let cool.

For top layer of apples:  Peel, core, and cut the apples into slices 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick.  Melt 1 tablespoon (13 grams) butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the other 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.  Set the cooked apples aside.

Spoon the applesauce mixture into the cooled and glazed pre-baked tart shell.  Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles over the applesauce, and brush with 1 - 2 tablespoons (13-26 grams) melted butter.  Bake the tart on a baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for 25-30 minutes or until the apples are nicely browned and soft.  Remove from oven and sprinkle the tart with confectioners' sugar, cover the edges of tart with foil, and broil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat until the edges of the apples are golden brown and crisp.  Once the tart has cooled lightly glaze the apple slices with warm apricot glaze.

Apricot Glaze: In a small saucepan heat the apricot preserves until boiling.  Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps.  Add the Cognac or water.  Use this glaze to seal the baked tart shell and to brush the top of the finished tart.

Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Makes 1 - 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) tart.

Have a great day



  1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. There is a delicious New Zealand apple - it's called Jazz (like the music).

  2. Not heard of that here, I know in the UK they have all kinds of potatoes I have never heard of, and we don't get a lot of the apples here that we used to get in the UK.