Saturday, October 13, 2007

apple tart/part two (or Julia dined here once)

Our apple tart recipe is an adaptation of collected recipes. The pasta frolla, or crust, comes from sage, old Italian cookbooks, and the filling, a custard cream steeped with the apple slices is an extrapolation from Julia Child. Julia Child has for a long time been one of our heroes, and when she came to dine at the restaurant, we felt elated and lucky. She did not come because she sought us out; she and her nephew and his wife simply drove by, their interest piqued by our outdoor terrace, the umbrellas, the cafe tables, the catmint growing along with the roses in our garden. They turned the car around, parked, and stepped over the threshold. They settled in for a late lunch. It had a been a long-time fantasy of ours to be able to serve Julia Child her favorite meal: roast chicken, a mixed green salad with a classic vinaigrette, roasted potatoes, and a beer. When we first opened the restaurant and we served lunch, we made sure that this meal would always be on the lunch menu, in hommage to Julia Child, but also, just in case....

When Julia Child sat at our table in the window on a late summer day, she ate roast chicken, roast potatoes, a mixed green salad, and drank a beer. The only alteration to this meal was the cup of soup to start, to whet her appetite. I like to think she finished her lunch with an apple tart though I can't remember. We have saved her signature on the credit card slip and pinned it to our bulletin board for continued inspiration, and to remind ourselves of why we do what we do.

Apple Tart Filling, and the Rest of the Recipe (for one tart)

heavy cream 1 cups
fresh eggs 1
sugar .25 cup
flour .25 cup
vanilla extract .5 tsp.
3, or 4 apples

Beat the sugar and the eggs together very well. Mix in the vanilla, cream, then the flour. Let sit for fifteen minutes. Pre-heat the oven at 350-75 (we like the oven on the hotter side because we think it gives better all around results - from browning to texture). While the cream is resting, core the apples, then slice them. Arrange in a circular pattern in the tart shell. Pre-bake the tart with only the fruit for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the crust start to turn golden brown. Pour the cream over the fruit, just enough so that the fruit is still showing through. You don't want the fruit to be covered completely, or the cream to overflow. (If you have a cookie sheet to put under the tart at this point this will catch any spills in the oven). Carefully put the tart back in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the whole top of the tart is golden brown and you can stick a knife in the thickest part of the cream and it comes out clean. Let cool before serving.

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