Tag Archives: Apple Compote

Inspired by une fleur: Hélène Dujardin’s Apple Tart

Si tu aimes une fleur qui se trouve dans une étoile, c’est doux, la nuit, de regarder le ciel. Toutes les étoiles sont fleuries.

“If you love a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make you happy just to look at the stars.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince

When I saw this apple tart on Hélène Dujardin’s site, Tartelette, I said out loud, “I have to make that.”

I’ve made apple tarts before, but this one is special. Just look at it. (Did that sound conceited? I should say, look at Hélène’s.) Passionate about photography and food, Hélène brings the two together with exquisite creativity. I’ve been inspired by her blog for about two years now, and this apple tart just put me over the edge. I followed her recipe to the letter — which included about 34 studious glances at the flower design as I sliced and arranged my apples.

I didn’t think about the Little Prince’s rose until the moment I reached into the oven and delicately wrapped my potholder hands around the edges of the tart. The fragrance of warm, sugary apples filled my nose, and the room, and I thought, this is why people spend so much time baking beautiful things.

Beneath the flower arrangement is a layer of apple-vanilla compote, spread without moderation over a buttery homemade crust. Just before putting it in the oven, I sprinkled the top with lemon zesty sugar. I haven’t tasted it yet, but I think this is going to be the “ooh-ahh” ingredient.

If you have a little time, make this tart — and don’t cheat on the crust. I made the crust and compote last night, and baked the whole thing this morning. It’s super-simple, but it does take time. Which, I think, makes all the difference, anyway.

Here’s the recipe from Tartelette.

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Homemade Apple Sauce

Sunday tradition insists that Nicolas and I leave his parents’ house with “les courses” (groceries) for the week.  Depending on the season we might load the trunk with strawberries or raspberries, fresh basil and tomatoes, potatoes, leeks, onions, or grapes.  In autumn, one of my favorite farm treats is Françoise’s apple compote.  Warm or cold, with sugar or yogurt, for breakfast or dessert, it is perfect.

Between two and four in the afternoon the subject of market-day requests arises.  As long as there are ample reserves, apple compote always tops my list.

This week Françoise decided it was time I learned the secret of compote myself.  She gave me apples instead of the usual jar of smooth, simmered fruit.

“But I don’t know how to make compote,” I said, knowing full well that I could if I tried.

Françoise clicked her tongue.  “Mais c’est très simple!” she said in a tone that implied, “if you teach a man to fish…”

And, as I would come to find out, that’s the secret.

Not really a secret, just a fact.  Compote is really, really simple to make.

Françoise explained (in all of twenty seconds), first you peel the apples; then you core the apples; next you dice the apples.  Throw them in a big pot, warm them over medium-low heat, stir, and add a little sugar at the end. (You’ll know when it’s “the end” because, whatdayaknow, it looks just like applesauce!) Voila.

Of course, there are tons of different variations you can try.  I put a couple sticks of vanilla in there while they were “compoting.”  Yum.  You can also add dried fruit for texture or alcohol for taste.  I’ve read that green tea can add a “smoky” flavor.

It’s apple season all over the world, so go pick some or pick some up and make your own compote.  Bon appletit!

{P.S. It’s also creepy-crawly season.}

For Marie-Amelie’s translation, Continue reading

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