The Simply Luxurious Life®: A Bit of French Nostalgia  

April 23, 2010

A Bit of French Nostalgia


This week I have found myself daydreaming about Paris for a handful of reasons: my guest blog on CheckYourParis, reading an old interview of author Kirsten Lobe of Paris Hangover and French Trysts: Secrets of a Courtesan, and the beautiful spring weather we have been having that reminds me of the perfect time to take a leap over the pond to the City of Light.

But, since I am tethered to my job at the moment, as most of us are, I thought I'd bring a little Paris to me and to you. 


I am thrilled to share with you one of my new favorite desserts.  After traveling for the first time in France, I, as many do, fell in love with their pâtisseries and all of the delicious treats that can be found at each one.  What impressed me the most was the attention to detail and the seemingly simple ingredients.  However, upon laying my hands on a recipe, while the ingredients may be simple in certain desserts, the attention to detail is what makes French pastries so attractive to the eye, and more importantly, so difficult to master.

Thanks to Ina Garten, again, I used her recipe for a French apple tart found on page 191 in her most recent cookbook Back to Basics: Barefoot Contessa and found, with her help, it wasn't so difficult after all.

Ingredients:

For the pastry (full disclosure: I use a Puff pastry sheet, and it tastes lovely and saves time too!)

*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1 tablespoon sugar
*12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:

*4 Granny Smith apples
*1/2 cup sugar
*4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small-diced
*1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
*2 tablespoons Calvados, rum or water

Directions:

*For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse for a few seconds to combine.  Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas.  With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.  Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

(For a really fast apple tart, you can use one sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted.  Roll out to 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches and then proceed with the apples.)

*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

*Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 x 14 inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges.  Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
*Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem.  Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller.  Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (Barefoot Contessa tends not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.)  Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup sugar and dot with the butter.

*Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown.  Rotate the pan once during cooking.  If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out.  Don't worry!  The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!  When the tart is done, heat the apricot jelly together with the rum and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture.  Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper.  Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

*Enjoy!

(I find it to be a great treat in the morning as well with a warm cup of tea - Yum!)
So, I'm off to have a nibble and reminisce about my days in Paris and the Loire Valley.  Some day, some day, I will return. 


To all of my readers, have a lovely weekend and thanks so very much for entering my most recent giveaway, becoming a new follower or continuing to follow, following me on Twitter or simply taking a moment to revel in a few simply luxurious discoveries on Simply Luxurious.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from you this week, and don't forget, to stop by tomorrow for Saturday Style and a quick recap of the week.

Au revoir for now!


Images: (1) Source (2)- Source (2) - Simply Luxurious photo (4)-Source

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8 Comments:

At April 23, 2010 at 2:32 AM , Blogger Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Here's wishing you a super gorgeous weekend from Paris. Even though I call Paris home your pictures above are very alluring. Ah, I adore Paris. Thank you, dear Lady, for your comment on my blog.

 
At April 23, 2010 at 3:04 AM , Anonymous Catwalk Threads said...

Oooh delicious! Thanks for the recipe and the lovely images of Paris.

BTW! Found you on SITS blog. :)

 
At April 23, 2010 at 6:06 AM , Blogger Crystal @ Plush Palate said...

Oh my! What a lovely Parisian treat!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 
At April 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM , Blogger House of Design & Style said...

I just found your blog...LOVE!! Oh how I miss Paris as well. It is by far the most beautiful city on earth, and definitely some of the best food as well. Especially le patisserie!!

 
At April 23, 2010 at 8:06 AM , Blogger Lorrie said...

I think I might take a page from your book and make an elegant French dessert this weekend, too. I'm always happy to think about Paris - such a beautiful city.

Bon weekend!

 
At April 24, 2010 at 7:13 AM , Blogger Simply Luxurious said...

Fashion, Art . . . - I will live vicariously through you - what a dream to live in Paris. =)

 
At April 24, 2010 at 4:12 PM , Blogger Struggler said...

Yup, apple tart is definitely one of my favorites - doesn't really matter to me whether it's French, or not!
Have you ever tried it with a piece of cheese?

 
At April 24, 2010 at 5:37 PM , Blogger Simply Luxurious said...

Struggler - I haven't ever tried cheese, but am very curious to know more details. Please do share!

 

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