Apple pie, French Apple tart, or Tarte Normande is all I could think of.
In my book, it is always apple season, although we are a couple of months too early for them.
Although fall is the bountiful season for apples, we are lucky to have several varieties at our markets.
I was fortunate growing up in Paris that we had so many varieties of apples to choose from. What always mesmerized me was that each apple has its own part in the cooking world.
Some are to be enjoyed as such, and some are to use in cooking or baking.
In this Article
Before I go any further on explaining how to make this simple dessert, I want to point out a few things to you.
This tart is called Normande because we use heavy cream. The original also has Calvados. Calvados is apple brandy. You can use brandy, Cognac, or even dark rum if none is available.
However, I did omit that ingredient because I had children at the house. Feel free to add some when you make your tart.
French do not use cinnamon. I was taken back when I first moved to the States to the constant use of cinnamon with all desserts. Something that I am still not used to.
Do, however, add a pinch if you so feel inclined.
A simple and unfussy dessert
A classic dessert, this apple pie is meant to be simple and easily prepared. No extra fuss was added to it.
The apples are sliced not to perfection, although within the same size.
The crust is preferably homemade, but store-bought is as acceptable.
The custard filling brings this tart together.
There is nothing to it dessert that is failproof and always brings a smile to everyone who bites into it.
I found a great crust at the store and have not prepared a homemade one in a very long time. Please do not hold against me. Simplicity is key here as well not compromising the flavor.
Prebaking the crust for about five minutes with aluminum foil and weight is fine. I do it once in a while but not the norm.
I enjoy, and this is how you will enjoy it in France: the crust is not pre-baked and the tart filling melts together. Soft and flavorful.
We can write a whole book on apples because there are many varieties.
If you shop at your local farmer’s market, inquire about which apples they do recommend for baking. Not all apples are the same, and you do not want to use the wrong kind.
Baking apples are Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, and Granny Smith apples. Full of flavor, rich in natural sweetness.
Peel them, remove the center core and slice them into wedges.
You can arrange it nicely in a round matter above the crust. I do not do that. I like the apples to find their own place on the pie tart.
My favorite part and the easiest factor to assemble. Four ingredients are required for this French apple pie: eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and heavy cream, to give you this melt-in-your-mouth custard that you cannot wait to bite into.
Bring the eggs and heavy cream to room temperature before whipping them together.
Pour it over the apple slices to cover well but not over the edge.
Serve this tart at room temperature or serve warm.
I usually serve it just as it is, with nothing added, such as whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Somehow I never have leftovers, but if you do, you can enjoy them for up to 3 days.
Your last steps and tips
- I invested years ago in an Emile Henry stone 9″ pie dish. The best investment ever.
- The bottom crust bakes evenly and rarely burns. It evenly bakes as the heat is diffused evenly. The thickness allows your pies to cook but not burn.
- I do not recommend using a glass pie dish as it will burn easier and I. had one shatter into millions of pieces once I took it out of the oven.
- Place the oven rack in the middle position. Have your oven nice and hot. Place your tart and bake 30 minutes before checking in with it.
- Not all ovens are the same and you do want a nice golden crust.
- The tip for seeing if your apple pie is ready, open the oven and slightly wiggle to pie. If the middle has some shaking and still looks liquid, leave it in the oven for another ten to 15 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and place it over a cooling rack. I do not remove it from the pie mold but leave it there and serve.
- You can also sprinkle some powdered sugar over it. It gives a nice look but it is optional.
- Like I said early on, this is a no-fuss pie.
Here is my family favorite. As soon as they see me coming home from the store with extra apples, their faces light up as they know what they will get to enjoy.
If you enjoy this dish, check out these flavorful recipes:
Equipment and ingredients used to make this recipe
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- Optional: Poke lightly on the dough, cover with aluminum foil and weights, and place in the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove and let it cool off.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and the brown sugar.
- Add the sliced apples to the pie dish. Cover with the egg mixture
- Place a pie shell shield to cover the border of the dough or make one with aluminum foil.
- Lower the heat to 375°. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes. The top should be nice a golden brown, and the middle should not be runny.
Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.
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