Before I begin not apologizing, I am going to apologize. Many of these pictures were taken on my Blackberry to send to The Sister as this baking disaster occurred.
Oh boy is it true…
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I have a big stupid crush on Julia Child. I have been cooking out of The French chef for about 5 years, The Boyfriend paid way too much and got me the hardback set of Mastering The Art of French Cooking volumes 1 and 2 for Christmas this year and I’d love to pull a Julia Powell and cook my way through it, but I’m just not ready for the lobster killing commitment.Or aspics, the thought of aspics kind of grosses me out. Braised Cucumbers on the other hand, I think about those a lot.
I also made The Boyfriend go see The Julie/Julia Project at our local theatre when it came out and the place was filled with little old ladies. For weeks before it opened we’d see the previews and any time I was in the kitchen I’d shout “THERE’S SO MUCH STUFF ON THE FLOOR” and The Boyfriend, who had perfected his Julia Child accent by this point would say “NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR ANYTHING!”
That is what I shouted into my phone the entire time I was working on this tart. In fact, when I sent the following picture to The Sister I think she thought I was going to throw it away.
BUT I COULDN’T BECAUSE I HAD JUST PUT A POUND OF BUTTER IN THERE AND THIS IS A RECESSION! WE AREN’T WASTING FOOD!
I seriously pulled this out of the oven and go “OH MY. WHAT. OH GEEZ. WTF.” I then sent that exact picture to The Sister. And The Boyfriend. Then I channeled both Tim Gunn and Julia Child at the same time and I didn’t apologize and I MADE IT WORK.
Let’s talk about what happened here.
This crust is made with:
2/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 1/2 Tbsp fat (4 Tbsp chilled butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp chilled vegetable shortening)
2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp cold water
This is a recipe for a proportion for 1 cup flour. If you’re making a 8-9 inch shell you use 1 1/2 cups of flour, for a 10 to 11 inch shell, use 2 cups of flour. I doubled this recipe. You’ll bake this at like 375 degrees just until it starts to set.
Anyway. You need to freeze your fat. Just saying. Freeze it. One thing I’ve learned about pie crust/tart crust making is, freeze the fat. oh and use ice water. You want everything to be cold because you don’t REALLY want the butter to be mixed in. Let me show you what my crust looked like rolled out…
All those speckles are fat.
Now, here’s the thing, while that is in theory, correct, it should have dawned on me that NO FREAKING WAY IS THAT THING GOING TO STAY UP WITH ALL THAT BUTTER IN THERE. If I had been listening I would have actually put some pie weights in there to keep it up, or a whole other pan like they suggest, but I GUESS I’M JUST NOT ONE FOR LISTENING. I’m also not one to own pie weights or keep the kind of beans you can use for that sort of thing around my house (somehow I don’t think lentils would have worked).
So I got that blob. YES I’LL ADMIT THAT I MESSED IT UP. But then…this started happening…
I continued on!
I did not put as many apples as they suggest in here. I probably have 2 apples in there, maybe.
Julia says you should use 1 lb of firm cooking apples (in my case, and in hers too probably, Golden Delicious)
So, here is what I do…I have one of those fancy apple peelers, and you can bet I use that thing to peel the heck out of apples when I make a pie. But! When you make a tart you want the apples to be shaped like this. like a wedge. SO! I use my old-school apple slicer.
you know…one of these…
Mine is red, but you know, whatever.
Anyway, slice and core with that thing, then just peel them. THEN just toss them with 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Put them in your crust like I did and bake them at 375 for about 20 minutes until the apples are almost tender.
Then let this cool while you prepare your custard. I put it in the fridge because I was worried how the custard which is mostly egg and whipping cream would react to the apples if they were still too warm. I suggest you do the same.
So, anyway…for the custard you will need
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 Tb Calvados (apple brandy) or cognac
I did not have apple brandy or cognac. I did have some apple wine from my Orchard Family’s Orchard This is the only kind of wine The Boyfriend will drink and he was kind of upset that I opened it to use 3 Tbsp. OBVIOUSLY WE NEED TO DRINK MORE.
Anyway. What I am telling you right now is that this custard would have been nothing without that wine. I tasted it before and after and…it was delicious both times. BUT IT WAS MORE DELICIOUS WITH THE WINE. Seriously, so good.
What I’m saying is…I love you Aunt and Uncle Orchard Family!
So, for the custard…
Beat the egg and sugar together until it’s thick and pale yellow. Julia will tell you that it should “form a ribbon” basically just make sure it’s thick so that when you lift the beaters so that it falls down in a ribbon and takes a second to fall back into the mixture. Then beat in the flour…then the cream…and finally the brandy (or apple wine). I beat the cream a little longer before I added the brandy. Maybe almost 2 minutes. I wanted to make sure it would be thick enough. Then just pour it on top of your apples.
It was at this point that The Sister started to agree with me that we should NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR ANYTHING. Because seriously, it’s not perfect, but it looks pretty enough!
You want to put that in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cream begins to puff up a little. take it out, sprinkle a ton of powdered sugar on it (through a sifter…) and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more. The top will brown a little and if you stick a knife in it, it will come out clean.
OH JUST ADMIT IT, THAT THING IS GORGEOUS.
Now, the true test was…did it taste good?
I called The Boyfriend and told him I was bringing an apple tart to his office to feed his office mates, which is what I always do when I’m not sure if something is going to taste like crap. You want to serve this warm, so I slid it onto a plate and made my way towards the office…
Let’s not even talk about the bad things that happened on that drive…like when it slid off the plate at one point.
The entire tart was gone by the time we left about an hour later, so, I’d say everyone thought it was delicious. Even The Boyfriend ate a piece and he doesn’t like apples.
Moral of the story?
NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR ANYTHING.
MAKE IT WORK.