Thin Apple Vanilla Tarte & A New Blog Design
Early morning and not a creature in the house is stirring. The wind is making itself known, a really pretty dappled light is dancing against the wall. I am sitting at the kitchen table, looking at the ripples on the water in our creek below. "I had almost forgotten how calming this view was at dawn" I think to myself. This familiar dance of the tide brushing the edge of the yard. Nothing else around the house is as palpable though. Boxes, piles, more boxes and bubble wrap.
Bill has been busy boxing the house up while I have been busy unpacking and getting settled. It’s like we are on opposite side of a mirror, a very E.A. Poe-esque mirror.
After a few days in Birmingham, I still felt like I was teetering around the kitchen. Months spent between a hotel room and a suitcase can really make you feel that the space you are in is still temporary. I had to do very basic things to ease myself into the new house. Walk barefoot in the yard. Cook dinner. Meet the neighbors.
I am back in Charleston for the next couple of weeks and I find myself looking for other anchors. Landmarks, familiar paths and sounds. I listen to the oysters down below and their clap-clapping choir. I observe the fiddler crabs crossing over the edge of the yard with their funky sidestep motion. But again, I find my balance back in the kitchen.
Clare and Laura are here. Tami will be joining us next week. We are teaching a couple of 4 day workshops on the Isle of Palms, here in Charleston. It’s good to have them around. In a world where you are constantly on the go, without an on/off switch, it’s pure pleasure to take those 4 days to teach, share, communicate and talk about the subject that fuels and nourish us, photography. Food, people, light, composition.
Almost as soon as I got home, I pulled out big bowl, made tart dough, peeled a few apples and started making my grandmother’s Apple Tart. Thin, filled with vanilla infused applesauce and topped with as many apple slices as could fit in the pan. Mamie Paulette was quite famous for her apple tarte. I am convinced now that it had special powers whether you were the one making it or eating it. If you shared it, it was twice as good.
Sometimes, it only takes an apple tarte to help you find your sense of place again.
P.S: Thank you Ana of Blog Milk for the blog redesign! It was such a pleasure to work with her and such an easy process. Once I had chosen my favorite templates among the ones she creates, we worked together to customize it with my own vibes. I hope you like it too…!
Thin Apple Tart:
Serves 6 to 8
For the crust:
2 tablespoons (20gr) slivered almonds
1/2 (60gr) cup powdered sugar, unsifted, divided
1/2 stick (57gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup (90gr) Jeanne’s gluten free all-purpose flour mix
1 egg yolk
Place almonds and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in a food processor.
Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, ground nuts and salt on medium speed until well-combined.
Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and flour and mix well. Add the egg yolk and mix until incorporated. Shape dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Place the dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick round.
Place in a 9-inch tart pan, trim the edges. Prick the dough with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes up to 2 hours. (you can even freeze the dough in the tart pan at this point and let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready). In the meantime, prepare the applesauce.
Apple Compote: (you can prepare it up to 2 days in advance)
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
6 medium apples (Golden Delicious apples)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup (60 to 80ml) water
On a flat surface, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise without cutting all the way through and scrape the seeds from the pods with a pairing knife. Place them in a large saucepan along with the sugar. Set aside.
Core and roughly chop the apples. Add them to the vanilla and sugar mixture along with the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down, cover and let the apples stew for about 1 hour. Check every 20 minutes to and add water to the mixture if the liquid evaporates faster than the apples can cook. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups applesauce inside the prepared tart pan.
2 tablespoons (15gr) granulated sugar
zest of half a lemon
2-3 medium apples
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest so that the citrus natural oils can flavor the sugar.
Core and thinly slice the apples. Decoratively arrange the slices over the compote and sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top apples are golden brown.
Stefan November 2, 2012 um 7:01 pm
I am noticing that you are not allowing your images to get pinned on Pinterest. You should update your flickr settings, or remove the pinterest icon as it makes pinning your beautiful creations tough.
Kristina @ spabettie November 2, 2012 um 7:10 pm
I love the new look!
I agree, cooking is most often the "anchor" I turn to when feeling … need for balance.
The first thing I did in our new house was cook – a lot. I was among boxes and cooking, halfway in with movers bringing heavy stuff, and I was baking!
Averie @ Averie Cooks November 2, 2012 um 7:11 pm
Helene your new site is gorgeous!!! I love it and it's so fitting and so you – you have evolved and glad you blog is now keeping up with you. Beautiful!
Have fun on your workshops next week – and this tarte, amazing thin apples and so pretty!
tami November 2, 2012 um 7:22 pm
i can't wait to be there…to see you…to meet Clare…and share and be creative. i'm in need of that.
the blog redesign looks awesome. love you!
Helene November 2, 2012 um 7:28 pm
Stefan: you are wrong, my images are pinnable. Not just all of them. Check each post and you will see.
sina November 2, 2012 um 7:41 pm
the design is beautiful. so clean and fresh!
good to know youll still be blogging despite your new job!
Erica Lea November 2, 2012 um 8:02 pm
Such lovely words & photos, Helene! Hope you can settle in comfortably soon. 🙂 This tart looks absolutely scrumptious. Love the use of vanilla bean in the apple compote. 🙂
Michelle DuPuis November 2, 2012 um 8:07 pm
This sounds delicious. Can't wait to try it! And the blog update looks great!
Willow Arlen November 2, 2012 um 8:42 pm
Gorgeous – the tarte, and the blog design! An old family recipe sounds like the perfect thin to bring you back to balance… I can only imagine how hectic things must be! 🙂
Lauren November 2, 2012 um 8:57 pm
You're caught between two worlds colliding, aren't you? It's a tricky place to navigate. I've been thinking of you a lot as you do this delicate dance. I love your blog update. I've been meaning to do one as well, and your fresh and minimal design has given me a boost!
Maja Skorupska November 2, 2012 um 10:35 pm
I love the design, so clean and simple, it gives me a boost and ispiration for my blog. Your book, which has been translated into Polish by the way, is also a big help in my pictures. The funny thing is, the more pictures I take, the less I feel I know about photography. When I feel discouraged, I visit your blog and get the boost again:)
Gourmet Goddess November 2, 2012 um 11:38 pm
Nice blog update .
Can you reference where the pie plate is from , I love anything blue and white – I am assuming you baked the pie in the dish you are photographing.
Katy Noelle November 3, 2012 um 1:22 am
"…and talk about the subject that fuels and nourish us, photography. Food, people, light, composition."
sigh. You said it!!! =]
Reading your whole post, I just feel for you. Doesn't it just take time to settle in? and, yet, wishing you much joy in the unpacking and making of new memories and home!
Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming November 3, 2012 um 3:38 am
love the new blog design!
Caramelloevaniglia November 3, 2012 um 10:08 am
Beautiful new design settings! And really yummy tarte! I will definitely try this as soon as possible for my convalescent dad who loves apple tartes! Thank you!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures November 3, 2012 um 1:09 pm
Love it — the pie and the site!
Gustia November 3, 2012 um 2:04 pm
What a lovely looking tart and your recipe came at a perfect time. I bought some "Pomme Granny" from our local market in Menton this morning. Until now, I never knew that Granny Smith apples grew in Menton – I'd always thought the climate was too hot. Who knew? To celebrate, I'll be making your tart for dessert Sunday night and maybe more often now that the apples are "locavore."
Karine November 3, 2012 um 2:46 pm
I agree, the new blog design is very neat and pretty. I am looking for a redesign for my blog as well. Blogger is not that design friendly. Hehehe
Congrats for the new look. All the best!
Veronica November 3, 2012 um 2:58 pm
Your tart sounds wonderful and I am delighted not to have to convert it to gluten free before giving it a try. Thank-you
Iren November 3, 2012 um 6:38 pm
Oh, apple compote and apples on the top, this must be a very juicy combination!
thanks for the idea,
Corriendo November 3, 2012 um 8:11 pm
That looks so delicious! *Bookmark* Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Rose Fern November 3, 2012 um 11:22 pm
Correction: it serves one…ok…two tops! 😉
Jen Laceda | Milk Guides November 4, 2012 um 6:48 am
Love your new site! And also, love that pie plate! Edith is such a talented artist and she crafts beautiful pieces! Proudly Canadian – LOL! And your thin apple tarte – so inviting! Quick, someone grab me a fork!
heatherota November 4, 2012 um 2:05 pm
Lovely photos and new blog design. Clara and Laura links are not working.
I love apple tart and plan to make this today!
Helene November 4, 2012 um 8:07 pm
heatherota: I double checked and the links are working. You might need to clear your cache or look for blockers.
Pétra November 5, 2012 um 12:18 am
I love the new blog design!
La Torontoise November 5, 2012 um 12:27 pm
Love the apple tart!!
Patricia Scarpin November 5, 2012 um 4:57 pm
I love the new design, Helen! Looks really beautiful!
Anonymous November 5, 2012 um 5:10 pm
Such a beautiful tart and I love the new blog design!
Katie @ Blonde Ambition November 5, 2012 um 6:57 pm
Love the new design! The tarte is beautiful, and the vanilla apple compote sounds mouthwatering.
Betsi November 5, 2012 um 7:55 pm
Can you use the same amount of regular flour?
Annalise November 5, 2012 um 8:55 pm
Love the new blog design, Helene! And that tart is beautiful!
Rocky Mountain Woman November 5, 2012 um 10:49 pm
The new design is very peaceful and homey, comforting…
The tart doesn't look too bad either…
Rhonda November 6, 2012 um 2:39 am
The new design is beautiful with a feel for the old one. And the apple tart, that would make me feel settled anywhere.
Kathy Walker November 6, 2012 um 3:05 pm
We all do search for that one thing that will "ground" us…the sound of water, playing in the kitchen and aroma's wafting from the oven are the perfect sensory agents…..
Unknown November 6, 2012 um 8:28 pm
Where did you get those lavender spoons? I love them!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com November 6, 2012 um 8:56 pm
Congrats on the new design, Helene. It's so YOU!
gigi November 6, 2012 um 11:17 pm
lovely new blog design! this looks so tasty and so beautiful! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com
argone November 8, 2012 um 8:27 am
Très joli le nouveau design de ton blog, félicitations à Ana, je suis allée voir son site, très jolis thèmes ! Bonne installation, et merci pour cette jolie tarte toute simple !
The Suzzzz November 8, 2012 um 4:50 pm
I think that is the most beautiful apple tart I have ever seen. I wish I had the time and talent to make things like that, thanks for sharing!
AmyRuth November 9, 2012 um 2:23 am
Now I hear your voice when I read your written word. How neat is that? We have this spacious internet world where we make loads of friends but truly there is nothing like personal contact. Sharing this past week with you Clare, and Laura was such a pleasure and a gift. Thank you so much
I love your new design. Its lovely and showcases your beautiful photography. Ha ha now I can make your grandmother's tart, because I want some. Simply beautiful! And you sliced all those apples by hand? Amazing
Isa-Marie November 10, 2012 um 12:23 pm
Délicieux ! Il y a une ambiance dans cette recette !
Des pommes aussi chez Grelinette aujourd'hui, mais séchées…
RSA Online November 13, 2012 um 4:17 am
The first time I saw your blog about thin apple vanilla tarte, my expression is "Wow!" looks really good!
Anonymous November 17, 2012 um 6:59 pm
Woooow! It looks amazing! I will prepare it for sure!!! Congrats! 🙂
Anonymous November 17, 2012 um 6:59 pm
Woooow! It looks amazing! I will prepare it for sure!!! Congrats! 🙂
Rose November 19, 2012 um 9:55 pm
I LOVE the new blog design! Wishing you all the best in your new home! Cheers, Ros
Deb November 21, 2012 um 5:28 pm
My mom always cooked with parsnips. You have reminded me how versatile they are! Stunning photography and a scrumptious recipe, a most tasty post!