About a hundred years ago*, last Saturday, I had a phone call from a new neighbor. We work in the same organisation and she had been in touch to ask about our neighborhood when they were thinking of moving. We've been talking about meeting up since September but still hadn't managed it. (The organisation where we both work has about 2000 employees spread out over a half dozen locations, so we had never actually met in person.) She's now a neighbor, not a potential neighbor, and so I invited her to come around in the afternoon for a cup of tea.
Good bakeries are so plentiful in Paris that hardly any Parisians bake their own sweets. I planned on picking up a nice tart (the seaons of the galette des rois was not quite finished) while at the market on Saturday morning. But what with one thing and another - my mother was with me and we were pressed for time - I completely forgot to pick one up. When I got back home, I considered my options: a mediocre bakery around the corner, a long trek to a good bakery, or make my own. I decided to take the easy option and make my own. Luckily, I had the materials to make an easy tart in my kitchen: a pre-rolled pâte feuilleté and a half dozen very ripe apples.
In addition, I had an idea. Some time ago, I saw a tart on a cooking show. I don't remember the chef or the show (Ready Steady Cook? James Martin?) but I remembered the essential idea: take some quince jelly and spread it over a base of pâte feuilleté and cover with thinly sliced apples. Finally, an idea what to do with that quince jelly a friend gave me nearly a year ago. I've had it with manchego cheese as she suggested (and it was delicious) but it was a large tub.
The result was delightful. One of the problems I have had with trying to reproduce the thin French style of apple tart is that it seems to come out very dry. This time I used the quince jelly to remedy that and the result was soft textured on top but still light and flaky on the bottom. And the "recipe" was so easy that I'm almost embarrassed to call it one....
Apple Quince Tart
1 pâte feuilleté
4-5 very ripe baking apples (I used Golden Delicious)
around 100 grams quince jelly
a little water
Preheat the oven to 220 c (425 f). Bring the pâte feuilleté to room temperature if it is store-bought (which if you are living in France I highly recommend). Spread quince jelly over the pastry to about 2 cm (just under an inch) from the edge, reserving a heaping tablespoon:
Peel, core and slice the apples thinly and arrange them neatly over the quince jam, all the way to the edge of the pastry:
Melt the remaining quince jelly in a small bowl in the microwave with a glug of water - about two tablespoons. Using a pastry brush, spread the resulting glaze over the apples. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the apples are tender and the pastry flaky and cooked through. Serve slightly warm, with a bit of crème fraîche if you think of it. I didn't but it was still delightful - sweet and fruity and just crispy enough to make it interesting.
And our new neighbor is lovely and we had a good long chat about our respective buildings and the neighborhood and other interesting matters. As it turns out we are both Chicago girls, so we have that in common too!
*It has been a long week here in Paris, involving house calls by doctors on two separate occasions(thank heavens for SOS medecins), a trip to the Hopital Europeen Georges Pompidou, antibiotics for my mother and my son and a nasty cold for myself. Thus the lack of interesting cooking and lack of posts this week. Hopefully we'll be back to normal next week...