Arriving in Beaumont was like arriving home after a long, exhausting day at work and finally being able to take your shoes off and slump onto the couch in front of the tv with a cup of tea in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Traveling is exhausting. Completely exhilarating and addicting, but also absolutely exhausting. The fact that Onni and I decided to take on a record 56 hours worth of buses in two weeks didn't exactly foster a sense of luxury and relaxation, but I can't complain too much. I mean those 7 different bus trips brought us to and from some amazing places and reunited me with some very important people. Still our 4 days in Beaumont-du-perigod, the little french town in which my lovely grandparents reside, were spent, for the most part, in any state of comfort we could assume; featuring hours of sleeping in, putting our feet up in front of my Grandpa's wood fire, smelling my grandma's cooking filling up the house with delicious aromas, and hours of binge watching Broadchurch (cheery stuff, highly recommend). We did manage to actually leave their cosy little french house to see some of the surrounding medieval towns of the Dordogne, but I will post a few photos and stories of those adventures at a separate time.
For now I have here a little recipe of a delicious tart my Grandma and I spent all day making. The rosemary I picked from their garden, it grows wild almost everywhere here and since making the Apple, Pear, and Blackberry Galette with candied Rosemary, I have been a little obsessed with rosemary in baked goods. I also find so much satisfaction in making caramel, and have never attempted infusing a caramel with anything other than salt or alcohol, so you could say this was a first! It turned out pretty well, and the caramel was a perfect balance of sweet and savory, with a subtle rosemary flavor, not overpowering at all if you are afraid of the idea of something typically served savory, in a sweet form. I can't wait to experiment with more infused caramels, in pies, cakes, and who knows what else! But that will be a project for another day, so for now my grandma will just have to stay happy spooning this rosemary caramel out of the jar (which I can assure you she is quite happy to do, and for which I had to keep an eye on her for while we were assembling the tart), until I return to restock her pantry with delicious goodies.
Apple Tart with Rosemary Caramel
things you'll need
9 or 10-inch tart plate
two small saucepans
large mixing bowl
1 1/2 portion of Pie Dough (about 330g for the bottom crust,
and any left over for top decoration, optional..)
for the rosemary caramel (makes about 600ml)
three large sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 (113g) cup of unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup golden syrup
or the filling
1 lb tart apples
2 tbsp of white or cane sugar
2 tbsp of brown packed sugar
2 tbsp of flour
3/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
dash of Angostura bitters
juice of one lemon
pinch of salt and grind of pepper
1 egg for wash & Demerara sugar for finish
what to do
first, preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F. then roll out your pie dough to a large circle about a pound coin thickness, or enough to line your tart tin with at least an inch over hang. then put this in the fridge to stay cold while you make the caramel and filling. if you are planning on doing any lattice work or another topping then roll out and prepare the rest of the dough, and place in fridge.
second, to make the caramel, in a small sauce pan bring the heavy cream, 2/3 of the butter (6 tbsp or 85g), and rosemary to a simmer and let bubble for at least 5 minutes (don't over boil). take off the heat, put a lid on it and let stand to infuse. meanwhile place the rest of the butter, sugar and syrup in a small-medium saucepan. over medium heat bring this to boil, swirling the pan to stir but NOT sticking anything into the pan or it will crystalize. let boil for 8-10 minutes, watching the color to make sure it doesn't get to dark. after it has turned an amber color take off the heat and pour the infused cream into the sugar. it will fizz and steam so be careful because it is very hot. stir with a wooden spoon until homogenous then let cool slightly before fishing out the rosemary with a fork and pouring into jars.
third, peel the apples, slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, and place into a large bowl. sprinkle 1 tbsp of white sugar over and the juice of one lemon. let sit for 15 minutes then drain off the excess juice. toss the apples in the flour, rest of the sugar, spices, bitters, and two tablespoons of caramel.
lastly, to assemble and bake. spread a mixture of about 1 tsp of flour and 1 of sugar onto the base of the crust. then either arrange the apples in a spiral pattern or dump them into the crust, pressing down slightly to flatten. I decided to cut little concentric circles and arrange them around the rim, gluing them in place with egg wash. then egg wash any exposed crust with a mixture of 1 egg and a splash of water or milk, and sprinkle Demerara sugar to finish (optional). place the whole thing in the oven on a baking tray. bake for 20-25 minutes, turn the tart, and lower the temp to 160˚C/325˚F, and bake for at least another 30-35 minutes, checking it every 10-15 minutes to make sure it isn't getting too brown. you can cover with aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly. half way through baking take the tart out and drizzle another 2-3 tbsp of caramel over the apples. the tart is baked when the pastry is golden brown and the bubbling of the filling has subsided. serve with creme fraiche or ice cream. Serves 10-12.