Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An apple tart with some appreciation

I written and re-written the start of this post, yet I still couldn't find the best way to start. It feels like I've lost my writing and communicating skills after retreating into the moutains and living in the caves for too long a time.

Anyhow, I got inspired to bake with apples by bakertan who very kindly shared a little knowledge on the various apple types. As stupid as it sounds, I've never really baked with apples before. And even if I did, they were playing much of the supporting role or just being a fill'in when I was lazy to prepare something more elaborate. Well, a perfect example would be when I first started out trying to make my own puff pastry. The easiest filling I could think of and whip up in a jiffy would be, chopped apples with some butter, sugar and cinnammon. What's more, my helper did it all. I just took the credit of that glorious moment when the freshly bubbling hot apple turnovers came out of the oven. Ashamed I was not, but now, yea, well, a little.

As if that wasn't enough, I soon found my really close friend, someone who journeyed her junior college and university life with me, asking me to bake apple pies. I always told her with a mark of confidence that it would be as easy as a pie (pun not intended). While the truth was, I never really did bake a proper one, ever.

For some odd reason, pursuing the basics and fundamentals was not in my book of interests and it wasn't till bakertan's post that jolted me to my senses. The way he described his knowledge on the different apple types made me really curious about apple baking, I mean, baking with apples.

So, the word "golden delicious" was somehow stucked with me pretty much the whole day. Just that fateful day, I happened to be at Carrefour and decided to look out for these "infamous Golden Delicious apples". Lo and behold, there were right in front of me, sparkling in their pretty packaging. I hesitated, thinking, if I would ever cave into procrastination and end up having to toss these apples into the bin. Alas, the greedy me won over the battle of the apples and I grabbed, not one, but TWO packets and marched to the cashier.

And so, as if I could read my own future, the procrastination queen reigned and the apples laid in the fridge, untouched, for 2 days. Finally, I decided that the apples wouldn't and couldn't wait any longer for Her majesty so I decided it's time I got some apples going baking. While in between the procrastination, I gained much encouragement and regained my determination from everyone who left comments on my previous post. I'd like to take the chance to say a BIG THANK YOU to all have been ever so supportive and encouraging! =D 
I had been reading up a little. As a I stared at the bookshelf of baking books, I can't help but notice one of the heaviest and thickest ones, Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan. Several pages later, I decided that there were TOO many apple tart recipes in the book to choose from. So, being the lazy me, I chose one with: 1. The simplest ingredients needed, 2. all the ingredients I already had.

And of course, one that specified for the use for my oh-so-precious "Golden Delicious". I had only made one tart prior to this apple tart, which was the chocolate tart. So my tart-experience isn't that much and I vaguely recalled a mini frenzy then.

As simple as the recipe had stated its steps and so it was, minus the estimation I had to make as I baked mine in a smaller tart pan. If there was anything I would warn anyone about tart-making, it would be TIME.

Though armed with simple ingredients, simple steps but it sure took a LONG time to bake, and cool, and bake again. But that of course, are the ramblings of a not-so-freuqent tart baker. Don't get me wrong, the recipe was a crazily simple one. I didn't even have to cook the apples in butter,sugar and cinammon. Yet, the end results was a tart that was Mmmm, yummy. 

All I had to do was slice the apples, arrange them prettily, prepare the custard and pour it over. And...there you have it! As unappetizing as it may seem, the taste was simple, yet delicious. Something rich, yet not overpowering. Perfect for a lazy afternoon, with a steaming cup of tea. The tart had cooled completely by the time I could "stomach" it so I re-heated the slice in the microwave and my! it was bursting with flavour! And the thing which amazed me the most - the apples retained their crunch! It was soft yet textured, sweet yet with a slight tang which complimented the sweet custard so well. YUMS!

Verdict: The "Golden Delicious Apples" certainly lived up to its name. Delicious it is!

I don't think I'm at liberty to share the recipe, but if you're interested, and if you have the book, refer to page 314 "Alsatian Apple Tart".
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