One of my first recipes when I started cooking included an apple pie. I had made the pie dough from scratch, following the instructions to the dot. It was a simple double crust pie with just apples, zest, sugar and spices for the filling, it remains a favorite for it's simplicity and deliciousness. Truth is, up to that time in my life, I had never eaten a pie of any kind that I could remember liking. I had read enough to know that to make from scratch, they were a challenge, but when made right, they were really good.
It was love at first bite, especially for my father, which took me by surprise. He knows his food and it's very hard to get him to like anything less then homemade or of the American cuisine. I have since made that apple pie a few times, switching between a Dutch apple version, which is mine and my mother's favorite.
I recently added Dorie Greenspan's BAKING CHEZ MOI cookbook to my growing collection and I have discovered what the talk is all about. The book is full of beautiful recipes perfect for cooks of every level but especially for home cooks who want recipes that can wow even in the simplest and most rustic form.
The first chapter of the book is Simple Cakes and that's where I stopped, at least for the time being. Her apple kuchen caught my eye and my To-Do list was already adding this one to the top for the weekend. The combination of apples and custard sounded so homey, like apple pie, yet looked so elegant. The tourte did not disappoint. The apples were softened yet still with a bite, surrounded by the creamy custard and combined with the sugared, crisp top, came together just like I imagined it would. I think this tourte nudged it's way up past the apple pies on my list of dessert favorites and intends to stay there.
An Apple & Custard Tourte
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 3 Tbsp dark rum
- 2 Tbsp butter (unsalted), melted
- 2-2 1/2 lb apples (Fuji or Gala) peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- 6 Tbsp crushed graham crackers
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 10 Tbsp cold butter (unsalted), cut into 20 cubes
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 4 Tbsp butter (unsalted) melted
- Put the raisins into a small jar and cover with the rum, cover with lid and shake. Let mixture soak while you continue with the other ingredients, shaking the jar every so often. This can also be done ahead of time the night before.
- For the crust: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture resemble coarse cornmeal. Add one egg yolk at a time, pulsing in between to distribute. Once all the yolks have been added, pulse the dough mixture until it starts to come together and form curds.
- Turn the dough out and knead gently to incorporate any remaining dry ingredients. Placing the dough between two sheets of parchment, roll out into a large circle, about 15-inches. Chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 15 min until firm but still pliable.
- Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Remove the top sheet of parchment from the chilled dough and flip the paperless side of the dough over the springform pan. Removing the second sheet of paper, gently press the dough down into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Once the dough is in the pan, trim the excess dough flush with the top rim of the pan. The dough may tear or crack during this transfer and that's completely fine. Just patch it up where ever necessary. Cover and refridgerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- For the fruit filling: preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, centering your oven rack. Mix the graham crackers and butter together, sprinkle over the bottom of the crust. Top with apples and drained raisins, reserving the rum. Line a baking sheet and place the springform pan onto it. Bake for 15 min to slightly roast the fruit.
- For the custard: whisk eggs, yolk and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the heavy cream, reserved rum and whisk until mixture is smooth. When the tourte is pre-baked, pour the custard mixture over apples, reduce the oven to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for another 60-70 minutes.
- Once the filling has puffed up and a knife inserted deep comes out clean, remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn on the broiler. Sprinkle the remains 2 Tbsp of sugar over the tourte and drizzle with melted butter.Broil until sugar bubbles and starts to darken. Allow tourte to cool to room temperature before removing from the pan. Dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.
- The original recipe calls for an optional addition of zest of 1/2 a lemon to the ingredients of the crust. I omitted this from the recipe as a personal preference.
*Adapted from the BAKING CHEZ MOI cookbook.