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Apple Custard Tart


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I'm looking for a recipe in response to a request for "apple flan" which after getting a description (apples in a firm but creamy filling in a tart shell) sounds like an apple custard tart or apple custard pie. What they're after is a tart that will hold a clean slice for buffet brunch service (for Easter, and they want 30 of them, plus 30 linzertorte and 20 flourless choc cakes) and they will probably repeat this order for their Mother's Day brunch. The linzertorte is from RLB's pastry book, it's a great recipe and they love it (thankfully it freezes well so I can get a head start on them; they want the 11" size for all of these tarts).

I'm not really all that great when it comes to custards to begin with so I could use some help on this one. My first thought is to use sliced sugared apples on the bottom of a tart shell and then pour a custard over it - because I really want to avoid the top looking awful and last fall, my apple-topped cheesecakes developed these ugly-looking "separations" (for want of a better description) where the apple slice met the cheesecake. I suspect that it was probably because I used the wrong apple (granny smith instead of golden delicious) but since the apple cheesecake only had a limited engagement, I never got to try it with a different apple.

Anyway, if you have a recipe or a link or help to offer, I'm all ears! :biggrin:

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Hi JeanneCake:

At work instead of using a custard base, we use a cinnamon pastry cream which works very well. just pipe/spoon the (cool) pastry cream into a tart shell, top with thinly sliced apples, and bake. we only do individual tarts at work and from your post it looks like you'll be doing large tarts for your buffet. The format can be used in last tarts as well. It's to your advantage too since the larger surface area will allow you to do really beautiful concentric rings of apple slices like the one shown here in another thread.

Hopefully this helps!

David :)

"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully
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You are sauteing your apples before baking them in a custard based mixture, right?

Apples contain moisture that will leach out of them when heat is applied. The moisture/water floating around your apple slice will prevent the custard/cheesecake from adhearing to the apple slice. This happens regardless of the type of apple you have. The type of apple you have will only effect texture and sweetness of the apple, they all contain moisture unless it's a dried apple slice.

What I would make to answer this request: I'd make either a puff pastry crust or a pie dough crust so that the 'crust' will be as flakey as possible in comparision to the custard filling. I prebake the crust until golden and cool. Then I'd saute my apple slices in butter adding brown or white sugar to sweeten, cinnamon, nutmeg and a splash of vanilla paste for accent. Put my drained apple slices on the bottom of my prebaked tart shell and pour a custard over them and bake. This type of custard I would choose would be similar to a quiche batter, so it slices perfectly. It begins rather loose and bakes up beautifully.

Recently, I saw a recipe from Dorie Greenspan (in Bon Apetite magazine) that I've been dying to try. I'm just back from vacation and I can't recall what the recipe title was. Perhaps she will see this and share? Otherwise I can dig thru my files to locate it.

Also, she (Dorie) published a wonderful tart that would be perfect for this request in her "Paris Sweets Great Desserts form the City's Best Pastry Shops" book credited to Pierre Herme' called Parisian Flan. I've made it and it's wonderful, of course. I can HIGHLY reccomend this book! It's another home run for Dorie.....a must own book.

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Also, she (Dorie) published a wonderful tart that would be perfect for this request in her "Paris Sweets Great Desserts form the City's Best Pastry Shops" book credited to Pierre Herme' called Parisian Flan. I've made it and it's wonderful, of course. I can HIGHLY reccomend this book! It's another home run for Dorie.....a must own book.

I found a copy of the recipe for the Parisian flan here. The picture is certainly drooligenic. PS may be my next cookbook purchase.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Actually there is a quite popular dessert in which custard is baked inside a hollowed out apple. I made a nice long post on the hows and ideas of using this technique but my comp froze, the jerk.

Anyways if you look in friburgs pro pastry chef book he actually labels this technique too. You could easily bake your custard inside your apple, then slice and line a tart with the set custard apples and maybe pour an apple glaze over top. I think I might have to try that myself it just came to me.

But dont fear baking custard and apples together, though I don't think i'd use red delicuous.

Edited by chiantiglace (log)

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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Hi JeanneCake:

At work instead of using a custard base, we use a cinnamon pastry cream which works very well.  just pipe/spoon the (cool) pastry cream into a tart shell, top with thinly sliced apples, and bake.  we only do individual tarts at work and from your post it looks like you'll be doing large tarts for your buffet.  The format can be used in last tarts as well.  It's to your advantage too since the larger surface area will allow you to do really beautiful concentric rings of apple slices like the one shown here in another thread.

Hopefully this helps!

David :)

I made that. I make them all the time, and they hold up really well. But I use a prebaked shell and bought pastry cream. the shell is fairly thick and can take the extra 35 minutes in the oven. The pastry cream is just like anything you could make. They look great for the first two days, then the apples start to shrink a little. I made 30 of them at Christmas this year, double last year's production. Takes a little time. But I used a handcranked peeler this year and that made all the difference in the world in prep time. Check here for pastry cream formula that's very similar.

Edited by McDuff (log)
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I have a yummy one which is caramelized apples flamed with rum baked in a butter crust, with a blender whizzed custard topping of cream, sugar, eggs and almonds poured on top and baked again. Very easy and delicious. E-mail or pm me if you want the recipe.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Due to a request, here's that recipe:

Tart Normandy

10 inch unbaked butter pastry tart:

1 cup flour

6 Tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, cut into 6 or 8 pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

3 Tablespoons ice water

Apple filling:

1 pound tart apples, such as Granny Smith

4 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons dark rum

1/2 cup apricot jam

Almond Custard filling:

2 eggs

3/4 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces blanched almonds

1 cup heavy cream

Powdered sugar for topping

For pastry: combine all ingredients except water in processor bowl. Process by pulsing, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse corn meal. With machine running, add water in a steady stream. A ball of dough will form in about 30 seconds. You may roll immediately or chill. Use a flan ring with removable sides, if available.

After rolling, keep chilled until filling is ready.

Apple filling: pare and slice apples. Saute over medium high heat with sugar and butter until lightly caramelized. Add rum and flame. Stir in jam. Cool completely.

Spread cooled apples in the pastry and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, make custard filling: combine eggs, powdered sugar, almonds and cream in blender container and blend until smooth. Pour over hot crust/apples and return to oven. Bake an additional 25 or 30 minutes, or until custard seems done in center.

Serve lukewarm, sifted heavily with powdered sugar. It looks prettier if you cut the tart into servings before sifting over the sugar. 8 servings.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Thanks for the great receipe ruthcooks. I made the Tart Normandy for dinner guests last night and evveryone thought it was wonderful. It was very easy to make, and was a nice not to sweet ending to the meal. Here is a picture that I snapped before I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning :biggrin:

gallery_7931_560_719666.jpg

gallery_7931_560_695022.jpg

The only changes that I made to the recipe were I added cinamon to the apples mixture just because I love the apple/cinamon combination and I added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to the custard.

A definate keeper of a receipe.

Edited by forever_young_ca (log)

Life is short, eat dessert first

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Beautiful presentation!

Glad you liked it...although one of the reasons I like it so much is my dislike of cinnamon. Are there pieces of almond in the custard? I blend it until absolutely smooth, and never thought of adding extract...would have added a little almond extract in addition to vanilla had I thought of it. Next time...

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Are there pieces of almond in the custard? I blend it until absolutely smooth,

There were very small pieces of almond in the custard. I was not sure how smooth to blend. Next time I will blend until absolutely smooth. I will also try the almond extract instead of vanilla next time.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok... we're counting down to Saturday. My Paris Sweets book finally arrived this weekend and the description of the Parisian Flan with the sauteed apples is exactly what I think they're after, thank you Wendy! I'm making them on Friday for delivery on Saturday (Dorie says an overnight rest in the fridge makes it wonderfully light and especially delicious). For anyone unfamiliar with the recipe, it is a cornstarch pudding (whole milk, water, eggs, sugar, cornstarch), sieved, cooled a bit and spread over sauteed apples then baked at 350 for an hour.

From someone else's suggestion, I found 11" pre-fabbed tart shells from Hafner to use. Not my first choice, but necessary for this order due to volume and time constraints.

The gas ovens at work are not level so I'm seriously considering using the convection oven for this. But I don't typically use the convection for anything other than biscuit, cookies and blind baking tart shells.

Is it a bad idea to use it for this tart? I've never baked a pastry cream or pudding filling like this so please excuse the novice question - do I need to worry about the pudding spilling over if I'm using ovens that are not level? Am I better off with the convection because it is faster and there's no chance of anything spilling? I'm guessing that with the convection, it would be about 20 minutes at 300...

Your thoughts/advice... many thanks!

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  • 6 months later...

I've had my first major baking flop in a long time, here, perhaps someone can help?

Made the Normandy Custart Apple Tart from Julia Child et al.'s French Cooking. To condense the recipe, one made a sweet crust (no problem), baked it partially (no problem), cut the apples thin (well, mine aren't anywhere near uniform but no problem), laid them in the crust and baked them at 375 for 20 minutes "till starting to brown and almost tender." Um...problem. They started to brown but just seemed to be drying out, and though they did soften a bit, I couldn't call it "tender." I gave it a bit more time but no dice.

The next step is to remove it from the oven and let it cool while making the custard, pour the custard over the apples, put it back into the oven for 10 minutes till the custard puffs.

Did that, custard puffed.

Next, sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar, return to oven for another 20 minutes or so till top is brown and custard is done.

This I did, I imagined that the apples should juice into the powdered sugar and make a nice brown top. But it didn't happen; I let it stay in longer, and finally took it out when the sides were starting to scorch. The apples were only done on the very edge of the pan; in the center they were still only half-cooked.

So what gives? I can make an apple pie with the best of 'em but this one has me stumped. I may try it again with some other kind of apple - I used a nice tart crisp apple we have here. The recipe suggested golden delicious; are they a quicker cooker?

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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It's so hard to say what could have been wrong with-out being there. Theres a couple things that don't seem right.

I'd guess that it was the quality of your apples. If they were browning in a oven for 20 minutes.......and sliced thinnly..........I think they should have been perfect, ready for a little custard. They should have been done cooking at that point before you placed your custard over them. The custard would have insolated the apples from baking more until the temp. of the custard got hot. Then the whole thing starts to bake together. But 10 minutes with the custard over it, is just barely enough time for the custard to set, not long enough to continue baking the apples.

I don't think the apples should have juiced with the addition of the xxxsugar, because any slices that were left exposed usually just brown (and shrivel up) from the heat of the oven.

I hope that helped.....................

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Here is a trick - slice the apples and steam them using a little acidulated water.

It only takes about 5 minutes, or less, steaming - I use a bamboo steamer over boiling water in which I have either squeezed a little lemon juice or added 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid.

I spread the slices over the bottom of the steamer, place it over the boiling water and cover. I test with a fork at 3 minutes as some apples cook more rapidly than others. Granny Smith, Rome Beauty and Braeburn take about 5 minutes.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Thanks for the hints. The apples I used were definitely more "Granny Smith-esque." I bet this was the issue. I'll try it with golden delicious, and also the steamer method because "Arap Kizi" apples I used (a very crisp apple and tart but not quite so much as Granny Smith, with a lot of pink inside) are delicious. I have friends and neighbors who are happy to sample...;) I've had this dessert before and found it delicious; I'd love to have it a firm part of my "repertoire!"

(I like the quote about the cookbooks by the way...Lora Brody's "Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet" is so smudged in some places that any more and I won't be able to read it....) :rolleyes:

bob

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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You could just saute your apples also. In either case if you bring your apples to a fork tender state you won't need to bake them uncovered on the tart shell. Bake the tart shell all the way, put your cooked apples on it, pour over custard, bake until custard begins to set, then sprinkle with xxxsugar, finish baking.

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Tried it again with golden delicious. Worked great, here is the result. (I took the photo as soon as it came out of the oven; then came over to the internet cafe around the corner so I wouldn't burn my tongue.....) The custard was browning but the powdered sugar didn't. But I think it will probably liquefy a bit when it all cools. The recipe called for 3 T Calvados or cognac. These are two quite different flavors so as I had neither handy (and with Turkish liquor prices am not likely to soon), I figured I could use my own different flavor - I used some 50% apricot brandy brought by a friend from Czech. It smells pretty scandalous considering that this is Ramadan here...I'll probably have the neighbors cluck-clucking at the infidel and his eating habits. :wink:

BTW I bet none of you have white bathroom-tile kitchen counters!

Thanks for the help!

<img src="http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b60/sazji/tart.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

I thought I'd send a picture of the oven that did it (affectionately known around here as "Lurch"), just for fun. I inherited it from my former landlord who had a particularly destructive 5-year-old who managed somehow to pull the glass front off the door....

<img src="http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b60/sazji/lurch.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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Sweet success!

(Lurch! "smile")

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Oh my, Lurch has seen better days.........my oven is beginning to look like a close relative of his!

I'm so glad to read that it was just your apples and your second attempt turned out great.

Also, when I sprinkle xxxsugar on an item to be baked in the oven it never browns/melts, that would take a higher heat. But it does set the sugar so it doesn't dissolve visually as quickly as when sprinkled on after an item is baked. If you did want your sugar to melt you could brulee some on top, that might be nice.

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Well, Julia said it was supposed to brown! :huh: But it sure was good!

Yeah, poor ol' Lurch. He works with a gas canister, does the best he can. The oven's electric though.

Reminds me of a sort of on-topic joke:

A man has a terrible fear of heights, and decides to overcome it by taking skyjumping lessons. He does very well, and having conquered his fear, it's time for his first solo jump. Out he goes, armed with all his knowledge. He watches his altimeter, pulls the ripcord, and....nothing. "Don't panic" he reminds himself, "there's the spare parachute." He pulls the emergency ripcord, and....nothing. Now he's starting to panic, fumbling with his pack, trying to get something to open, when suddenly he notices a woman, flying up towards him from below. Thinking she may be his savior, he shouts out, "HEEEEY! YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PARACHUUUUUTES?"

"NOOOOOOO!" yells the woman back, "YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GAS OVEENNNNNS?"

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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