Souvenir recipe from cooking school abroad

 In Opinion

When we have some down time at the B&B, we try to get out and explore new places, both near and far.
We had heard good things about Pebbles Family Restaurant located in Varney west of Flesherton on Highway 6. A very generous Mennonite buffet is served, and if you are looking for homestyle straight forward cooking, this is the place. We enjoyed a hearty lunch with my sister visiting from Lewiston, New York. The “broasted” chicken and chocolate sponge pudding were big hits, but all their food was delicious and made with love. We will be going back again soon.
We had a lovely dinner at the Quince Bistro instead, where Emily-Que took very good care of us. Chef Otta gave us some rather strange, freshly picked carrots to sample – they looked more like large marbles but were sweet and delicious. His schnitzel with mushroom sauce is always a favourite and we were not disappointed.
But enough about restaurants, and on to the recipe of the week.
Fall is fast approaching, which means apple season will soon be in full swing. I’ll be making my way to Giffen’s Apple Market to stock up as soon as the honey crisps are ready.
Last year we visited the Normandy region of France, partly to do the tourist thing and partly to attend cooking school. We were very lucky in our choice of Wilde Kitchen, where Sinéad Wilde Allart (yes, she is Irish but has lived in France for years) taught us French country kitchen cooking. Our stay included some visits to local markets to pick out ingredients for that day’s lesson plus an organic cider farm where, in addition to excellent cider, Calvados was made. If you haven’t tried Calvados (brandy made with apples rather than grapes) it is a real heart warmer when the fall weather turns cold and icy.
This week’s recipe is courtesy of Sinead’s wonderful lessons – a delightful dessert that followed a hearty meal of local fish soup and Cockerel with Cream, Calvados and Apples. We had to roll ourselves out of her dining room and back to our B&B room for a rest after this substantial meal, but it was certainly a memorable experience.
The recipe originally made two tarts. I tweaked it down to one tart and made a few other changes. You will also need some crème fraiche, a staple ingredient in every Normandy kitchen, which is available here but can sometimes be hard to find. It is the French version of sour cream with a slightly different taste. It also holds up better than sour cream in the baking process. You can easily make your own crème fraiche – there are lots of online recipes to choose from. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Feedback is great and I would love to hear from you. Just e-mail me at [email protected] Until next time, eat well, live well…

Old Fashioned Apple Tart (Tarte aux Pommes d’Autrefois)

1/4 pound butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
A few drops almond extract
A few drops vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground blanched almonds
Pinch of salt
¾ cup flour

4 medium size apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
3 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground blanched almonds
½ cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon Calvados

Preheat oven to 350°F. Use a 9 inch fluted tart tin with a removable base – butter the tin base and sides. Mix together butter, sugar, salt, almond and vanilla extracts plus ground almonds in a medium size bowl.
Add enough flour to form a smooth dough (like a biscuit dough). Place dough in the centre of your tin, and push it out with a small spoon to cover the bottom and sides of the tin. Blind bake for 10 minutes and move from oven.
Place the sliced apples in a small bowl, then mix with 3 tablespoons of sugar and the Calvados. Leave for 5 minutes and then artfully arrange the apple slices into the baked shell. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Mix the crème fraiche, almonds, remaining sugar and egg yolks together well. Pour mixture carefully over the tarte and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the filling is set. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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