If I should think of the most traditional French homemade dessert, the answer would probably be a Tarte Normande (Norman Tart). It is very subjective. This is probably the first dessert that comes to my mind because it is my mother’s classic. She is not an advanced baker and when she has to bake, she will switch between two recipes: Norman Tart (with an apricot variation) or Apple cake.
You may wonder what a Norman Tart is? Basically, it is an apple pie from Normandy with a sweet pastry crust, covered with a batter and apple slices. From the original recipe, there are many variations: kind of dough, shape of apple slices, ingredients in the custard: Calvados? Vanilla? Cinnamon? I’m sharing with you my favorite one, the one I bake most of the time. Feel free to create your own variations!
While writing this article, I’m also wondering about the difference in English between “pies” and “tarts”. In French, we use the word “tarte” to refer to everything that has a crust and a filling with no distinction. When it is also covered with a crust, the “tarte” turns int a “tourte”. Would a pie be served in a pan as opposed to a tart served without it? Tell me if you know the answer!
Ingredients for 6 slices
- Sweet crust pastry – see the Mont-Blanc recipe
- 3 apples Golden
- 2 tbsp (25g) butter
- 2 tbsp (25g) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) caster sugar
- 2 tbsp (15g) almond flour
- 2 tbsp (15g) corn starch
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) Heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract or Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp icing sugar to top the tart
- Optional: 2 more tbsp of almond flour or Biscoff crumbs to cover the bottom of the crust
- Optional: 2 tbsp silvered almonds gently toasted to top the Norman Tart
- Prepare the sweet crust pastry. While it sits in the fridge, peel and cut the apples. I like to cut thick slices but you can chop them into cubes as in the original recipe.
- Melt the butter in a skillet. When it is completely melted, add the brown sugar and mix gently with a spatula to get a homogeneous mixture. When the caramel starts to form tiny bubbles, add the sliced apple and covered them with the caramel. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, mixing every now and then. You don’t have to follow step 2 but caramelised apples taste way much better than plain ones!
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the caster sugar, almond flour, corn starch, egg and yolk. Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract. Mix until the batter is even.
- Pre-heat your oven to 325°F (170°C). On a floured surface, roll out the pastry into a circle large enough to line a 20 cm (8 inches) tart mould. Line the tart mould. Prick the bottom of the case all over with a fork. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Take the case off the oven. Cover it with almond flour or Biscoff crumbs. It will prevent the dough to be wet. Place your apple slices in the case and pour in the batter. Bake for another 40 minutes. You know it is ready when the top of the pie is golden.
- Sprinkle with silvered almond and icing sugar. Eat while it’s still warm!
Tips: The tart tastes even better served with vanilla ice cream or Vanilla custard sauce.