Tour de France – Apple Tart with Armagnac

Well, we’re at the half way stage and all fans of Cadel Evans, especially his mum, sighed a huge sigh of relief when he survived that horrendous crash. His cracked helmet explains how huge the impact was and his injuries must have hurt like hell. What a champion to pick himself up from the crash and then to win the yellow jersey at one of the most painful stages of the tour. 

The riders had a day off yesterday and I hope they got fed delicious French food, like some of the stuff that Gabriel Gaté has been producing.  The gel that they consume during the race sounds pretty revolting. 

I watched over the past few nights and it’s amazing how he and his fellow chefs are able to whip up such scrumptious food in a matter of five minutes.  I was looking forward to learning the Raspberry Pâte de Fruit as I love these fruit jellies.  They’re very popular in Europe but I’ve found them to be quite pricey, especially when it’s possible to eat lots of them.  Now that I understand the work involved, I have a better appreciation of the cost.  Experienced cooks may think it’s easy, but I thought it looked a bit messy to make.  So, no experiments with Pâte de Fruit for the time being.

Tonight’s Apple tart with Armagnac was more encouraging.

Ingredients include:
4 dried figs chopped into 1 cm cubes
30 ml Armagnac
20g butter
60g caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
4 green apples – peel, core and cut into 1 cm slices
2 squares of rolled puff pastry, at least 22 cm square
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
250g rich cream

Instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place fig cubes in a bowl with the Armagnac and lemon zest and macerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Place the butter in a large non-stick pan on medium heat. Cover the pan with the sugar and as the sugar begins to melt, add the apple slices. Caramelise one side of the apple slices, then turn over to caramelise the other side. Add the figs and Armagnac in the pan and stir in. Tilt the pan towards the fire so that the Armagnac catches the flame and cook for a few seconds. Transfer the apple onto a plate and allow this to cool.  Wow, it looked good to eat at this stage!

Place the puff pastry on a floured bench and using the flan tin cut the two sheets of pastry into circles. Place one pastry circle in the greased flan tin and brush the edges with a little diluted egg yolk. Fill the centre of the pastry with the cooled down apple slices and the figs.

Carefully place the other pastry sheet on top and seal by pinching the pastry edges together. Make a hole in the centre of the pastry using the tip of a blade and brush the top with diluted egg yolk. Using the prongs of a fork, make a criss-cross pattern on top. Place the tart in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Bake the tart in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before carefully turning out. Cut the tart into wedges and serve with cream.

I thought the chopped figs was an interesting feature as raisins are a more common ingredient.  It looked so good and definitely something that an amateur like myself can manage.  Another recipe for the books!  Merci Gabriel.

Helen

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