The Vergers de Picardie have a huge presence in Paris markets- I've seen their stand at more marchés than I can count, including Marché Monge, Marché Edgar Quinet, and Marché Bastille. I'm so used to seeing them while I'm out shopping that I thought it was about time I had a chat with the vendors, who bring a huge variety of apples, as well as pears and juices, down from the Picardie region in France. Located just North of Paris, this region is known for it's apples as well as its endives, which both grow well in the chilly Northern climate.
I asked Arnaud, who as luck would have it used to be a baker, how to make a traditional French apple tarte. He paused before answering, and then shared with me how apple tartes are made in his region, noting that different parts of France will have varying regional recipes. In Brittany, for example, it will be no shock to learn that they add milk and crême fraiche to their apple tartes. In Picardie, compote or apple sauce is used as a first layer before sliced apples are added.
Normally this tarte is made with a pâte feuilletée, but even Arnaud admitted to buying pre-made crust when he makes this recipe because the feuilletée can take over 3 hours to prepare! Arnaud also recommended using the pommes pirouette for a tarte, but any sweet variety will do.
What: Les Pommes (Apples)
When: November 15, 2012
Where: Marché Bastille, Les Vergers de Picardie
How: You can make a simple crust in a fraction of the time it takes to make a pâte feuilletée by following this recipe:
1 cup hot water
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 dash of salt
4 cups flour
1. Add hot water to a large mixing bowl
2. Add butter bits and a dash of salt
3. Add 2 cups of flour and start mixing with your hands. Slowly add remaining cups of flour and mix in until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your fingers
4. Make a ball with the dough (some flour may remain in the bowl). Knead the dough firmly, rolling it into a ball and then pushing it out. Let sit at least 20 minutes.
Picardie Apple Tarte:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. In a shallow pie tie, lay out the crust. Cut off excess crust and pinch edges around the rim of the pie tin
3. Spread a generous layer of apple sauce on the bottom of the pie tin
4. Using the slices from at least 6 apples, create a spiral design until the entire contents are covered
5. Bake 25-30 mins, until dough is cooked through and apples are golden