Monday, May 26, 2014

Alsatian Apple Tart

     This post is a little longer than normal, for the recipe scroll down to the bottom.    
     I have never made traditional apple pie but instead make this Alsatian Apple Tart for all the holidays and other events throughout the year and it is always a big hit.
     When we lived in Heidelberg, Germany we often went to Strasburg which is in the Alsace region of France. This area of France over the centuries has gone back and forth between belonging to Germany or France so much that they kind of formed their own culture including type of food. It is usually very rich, creamy and delicious. I truly enjoyed this area of France. 
     We always knew that my grandfathers side of the family came from Alsace Lorraine and while I was in Germany my mom did some bonifide geneology tracing our ancestry and even got in touch with some distant relatives. So a few months after my son was born my mom, aunt, cousin and I took a road trip tracing our roots and ancestry to Bitschwiller les Thann in Alsace, eating our way into oblivion along the way. 
     Keep in mind this is before I started actually cooking for real. This was also before the internet is what it is today. Not to date myself but lets just say at the time AOL was one of the only e-mail providers, we had no pinterest and no gazillion recipes to go through online.
     I liked the food so much I started looking for a cookbook specific to Alsace. I found plenty in French but none in English. I went as far as buying one in French thinking I could make do. Again though I was not the cook I am today. At the time besides making all my son's baby food, if it did not come out of a box or freezer package my husband and I did not make it.  I do not know how but my mom found this out of print cookbook in English from 1981 and gave it to me. 

     I think the first thing I made out of the cookbook was Kugelhopf which is like a sweet bread baked in a pan that is like a bundt pan. I will have to make it and post pictures another time. This Alsatian Apple Tart was soon to follow though. I loved it in the bakeries in Alsace and the recipe seemed farely straightforward to me.
     I think this is when my love of cooking started although it did not kick in, in full swing until after my son had to go on a special diet. I will have to say it was not only about cooking for me though. I really did love Alsace and this was a way of keeping a piece of it with me and brings back fond memories every time I open the cookbook. Who knows maybe my relatives generations ago also made some variation of some of the dishes I cook out of it. :).           
The recipe calls for creme fraiche or heavy cream.  If you can find creme fraiche, I highly recommend you use it. The custard sets better and quicker that way. If not though, the heavy cream works fine.
Pie dough (found here pie crust, just make the dough and follow the directions in this recipe)
2 ¼ lbs cooking apples, approx. 5 apples
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 eggs
½ cup of milk
½ cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Core and peel the apples and cut in half. Place apple halves cut side down on a work surface and cut straight down into ¼ inch thick slices. Keep the slices together. Roll out the dough and use it to line a buttered 11-inch tart pan.

Place 9 of the apple halves slices together in the shell. Use the tenth half, separated, to fill in empty spaces.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the sugar. Bake in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining sugar, then add the milk and cream. Pour cream mixture over the apples and put back into hot oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until custard is set (this may take longer of using heavy cream instead of crem fraiche). I kind of stick a fork in the top of the custard poking through the top to see if the custard is cooked through. When tart is cooked, sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon. Remove sides and serve warm.

On a side note during out trip to Bitschwiller les Thann we saw this coat of arms above their version of City Hall.

So soon after our trip I made this one out of wood to give to my family. If I can get a better picture of it from them, I will. This was taken a long time ago, before blogging.


1 comment:

  1. Going to make this for a genealogy meeting next month to show our Alsatian heritage.