Typically you think that the best pairing with an apple is cinnamon, however, after reveling in Mimi Thorisson's book, A Kitchen in France (which is released October 28th) I now know that orange blossom water might be even better. But what might be even better than all of the above is the storytelling inside of the cookbook which transports you to the magic of Médoc, France where Mimi Thorisson resides with her husband, seven children and her dogs (she has fourteen Fox Terriors!). As profiled in the Journal, it is her love of food, gatherings and the French countryside that lure readers to her site Manger. Her stories are intriguing and magical and they encourage you to embrace a slower pace of life whether it be hunting for cèpes (mushrooms) in the wild forest just after morning breaks or her or enjoying the breeze of a spring day that is laced with rosemary and the aroma of bay leafs.
This book approaches French cooking with ease, something that might be daunting for cooks and food-lovers like myself. Separated by season, some of the recipes that caught my eye are Salted-Butter Crème Caramel, L'Ami Jean's Parmesean Soup and Roquefort and Walnut Gougères - to name a few. The book launches October 28th, so be sure to order your copy here!
But to wet your palette I decided to make her recipe for an Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, a delightful way to end a fall dinner. What makes this tart unique is the puréed apples that are blended with orange flower water to create a delicious, almost creamy base to this dessert.
Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water (adapted from A Kitchen in France)
For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
A pinch of salt
4 to 5 tablespoons of ice water
For the Filling:
5 apples (Macintosh, Empire are great options), peeled
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange flower water*
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To prepare the dough combine flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter incorporate butter until mixture resembles sand. One tablespoon at a time add water into dough adding just enough until mixture comes together. Form into a disk and place in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
To prepare the filling, peel and dice two apples. Place into a sauce pan and add 3 tablespoons brown sugar and orange flower water. Cook over medium heat until apples begin to break down and become soft. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Using a food processor, blend apples until they are smooth. Set aside.
Once dough has chilled, flour a working surface and roll out dough. Gently place into tart pan size of your choice and remove any excess dough. Poke holes in the bottom of the crust. Add apple purée to the bottom of the crust. Peel remaining 3 apples and cut into thin slices. Arrange on top of apple mixture and sprinkle remaining brown sugar on top. Bake for 40 minutes or until apples and crust are golden. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream.
* Orange Flower Water can be purchased at specialty food stores
Photography & Styling by Alison
Recipe adapted from A Kitchen in France