First morning with a clear crisp chilled air. Not the first weekend with apple pie on my mind. Oh yes, it’s definitely apple season. And pumpkins, squash and long simmered dishes. Well, being in the South, we have to make pretend it is Fall because hot days and short skirts are lingering on. It only took the temperatures to dip by 5 degrees for my cravings for a good pot roast, like my mom makes, to resurface.
This morning. It’s apples I have on the brain. Vanilla applesauce. Rice pudding with poached apples. Bakes apples with plenty of nuts and a drizzle of honey. And of course Apple Pie. My grandmother’s apple pie (with a little twist). There was one thing my grandmother was famous for in my family and it was her pies. She had a knack for pie crusts. She had such a way in the kitchen. Everything I know about food and cooking comes from my grandmother and my mother. The way they cooked and baked, created menus and gathered friends around the table.
Her apple pie was something not to be missed. A crispy buttery and slightly sweet crust, a layer of vanilla bean studded applesauce and plenty of apples slices on top, with a touch more butter and sugar on top. A dollop of creme fraiche, served room temperature and you would find silence around the dinner table, as well as plenty of smiles and happy bellies.
Today looks like an odd day in the weather pattern for the coming days, one with a light breeze, bright blue skies and a little cold in the air. I am taking full opportunity by cranking on the oven and making pie. A hot cup of tea and I am getting in the mood for Fall. Alabama is really beautiful in the fall. I didn’t expected it last year (Charleston has two seasons, hot and hotter!) and I am really looking forward to seeing the seasonal color of nature in all its glory. Orchards are full and giving of all kinds of gorgeous apples, market stands abound with all varieties of squash imaginable.
I usually do not veer far away from the way Mamie Paulette used to make her apple tart. This time, however, I did by adding hemp seeds instead of nuts to the crumb topping I usually put on my tart. It added a nuttiness without being overpowering. I also skipped the applesauce layer Mamie traditionally used in hers. Not being lazy, truth is, we ate most of it before there was enough left for the tart. I’ll have to tell you about it soon. This thing will make you swoon, get a skip in your step. It’s a daily dose of happiness in itself.
As soon as the tart came out of the oven, it was like Mamie Paulette was here again. Her big warm heart, sharp wit and larger than life joy for life.
A balm for the heart, for the cook and for the friends gathering at our table.
Apple Tarte With Hemp Seed Crumb Topping:
Serves 6 to 8
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or same amount of all purpose flour if not gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
110 gr cold butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup cold milk beaten with 1 egg yolk
For the apples:
2 tablespoons (15gr) granulated sugar
zest of half a lemon
2-3 medium apples (I used 3 medium winesap apples)
For the hemp seed topping:
1/4 cup Jeanne’s all purpose gluten free flour mix (or same quantity regular flour)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, super cold
3 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
Creme fraiche or whippped cream to serve (optional)
For the crust:In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, and salt on medium speed until well-combined. Slowly add sugar and flour and mix well. Add the egg yolk /milk mixture 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).
Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
For the apples:
In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest so that the citrus natural oils can flavor the sugar.
peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Arrange loosely in the tart pan.
Prepare the crisp topping:
In a medium bowl, combine with your fingertips or a pastry blender the flour, sugar, butter and hemp seeds until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Spread over the apple.
Bake tart for 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool to room temp and serve with generous dollops of creme fraiche or whipped cream.