Posted On Friday, June 01, 2012 at 08:10:25 AM
One dish I swear by is the Tart Tartin or Apple Tart which is named after two French sisters who died in World War One. This dish is famous all throughout France, especially in Paris. It is a classic and my personal all-time favourite because it hails from my region Champagne.
Discovered by accident, legend has it that the two sisters used to run a hotel which would often be visited by hunting parties. Once, a party (an old bunch) had booked a table there.
The sisters were running around, and were so caught up in their chores that the base of the apple tart which they had put in the oven got burned, because they had forgotten all about it! To their relief, they discovered the apple to be well-cooked. So as a saving grace, they covered the apples with new dough and cooked them again.
Interestingly, one of the members of the hunting party was the head chef of Maxim’s, the famous eatery in Paris. Impressed by this dish, he got it to Paris. There is no variation in this dish, though some people like it plain while others pair it with vanilla ice-crea or chocolate. I prefer to add a hint of wine — the sweet taste of the tart goes perfectly with it.
The French food culture revolves around a ‘we like it big’ mantra. We have three heavy meals in a day. The breakfast usually consists of something sweet like croissants and baguettes, and the meal is quite unlike the English breakfast.
French people are coffee enthusiasts, though tea is also getting popular with us these days. Earlier, meals would have 11 courses, teeming with meat and vegetables. Even today, we adhere to a plate-system for our meal servings, i.e, the plate is weighed and serves just one person.
You will never find a dish which can be shared by two persons. As one of our sayings goes, at the end of the meal, you should still be a little hungry!
- As told to Sapna.Sarfare @timesgroup.com
• Apple 1.5 kg
• Unsalted Butter 75 gm
• Sugar 110 gm
• For the dough,
• Flour 200 gm
• Fat (Unsalted butter) 100 gm
• Salt 2gm
• Water 3tbsp
• For the dough, mix the ingredients together without water till it forms a bread crumb texture. Add water and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Try to make the dough on the previous day.
• For the apple topping: Peel the apples and cut them into two. Don’t forget to remove the seeds. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celcius.
• On a pie mould, put some of the butter all over and the dispose the apples in rosace. Add sugar on the apple and then the rest of the butter. Cook it on medium flame for a 30 minutes. Then gently cover with the dough. Keep your tarte in the oven for another 30 minutes.
• Put a plate on top of the pie that you have removed from the oven and then flip it over. You have to do that as soon as it is out of the oven for the caramel to sink in the pie and give the dough a good taste. Enjoy your Tarte Tartin with a wine moelleux like Jurancon or Sauternes.
► French pastry chef Brice Poisson is a trained boulanger or baker and considers baking an art, as he handcrafts every single item in his bakery.
Authenticity is his mantra and he believes in churning out only the true, French flavours in his baked products.
He is strictly against ‘indianising’ French cuisine to suit certain taste palates. Currently running the La Bouchée d’Or bakery, Brice loves experimenting with baguettes, croissants, cakes and tarts.