The French just love tarte aux pommes apple tart. Here is an easy old-fashioned apple pie generously garnished with apples with a decadent custard from Normandy.
This tarte normande recipe was taught to me by a great French Chef, Chef Régis, former pastry Chef of Bristol Hôtel now teaching pastry to future chefs. He calls this recipe “grandmother style apple tart”. The apple tart is actually filled with what we call in France a crème normande,/ norman cream made of eggs, sugar, butter and cream. Quite rich I admit but sooooooooo good ! And easy. The normandy region uses a lot of butter and crème fraîche / cream in its recipes, this is why it’s called crème normande.
A very simple recipe with a stunning way or presenting an apple pie for French home cooks as he uses a high pastry mold. Dut don’t worry! As I show you on the photos, this recipe works also with a classic tart tin most homecooks have at home. One recipe, two ways of presenting it.
The mold: pastry circle or tart mold / pie pan
To get a nice pie like in these photos, you must use a 5 cm high and 20 cm in diameter pastry circle placed on a baking sheet or baking sheet covered with parchment paper. The cooking time is quite long due to the thickness of the pie.
However, you may definitely use a classic pie pan / tart mold. Wider and less high, the quantities of the filling are the same. However, the cooking time will be shorter, about 45 minutes instead of 1 hour.
I give you the Chef’s Régis recipe. You can replace it with ready-made sweet shortbread dough. The Chef uses 4 eggs for his Norman cream filling. I substituted with 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white to use the leftover from the pastry egg yolk. However, If you use a ready-made pastry then break 4 eggs for the Norman cream. Am I clear?
I use French apples called rubinettes. Choose the apples you are used to for your regular apple tart, if not apples that will support cooking.
Norman cream custard
We call this filling Norman cream as it is made with crème fraîche and butter. You can optionally replace the cream with milk. As for the butter, I choose to reduce the amount to 100 gr where the Chef uses 125 gr. You can flavor the cream with cinnamon and / or vanilla, and of course the French Calvados (or brandy).
French Apple Tart with Norman Cream
Pastry (or use ready-made sweet pastry)
- 175 gr flour
- 90 gr butter cold
- 1 egg yolk
- 20 ml milk
- 20 gr sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 eggs + the remaining egg white from pastry If ready-made pastry switch to 4 eggs
- 125 gr sugar
- 100 gr cream
- 100 gr butter melted
- ½ tea spoon vanilla
- ½ tea spoon cinnamon
- optional calvados (French apple alcohol) or Brandy
- 5 apples
- 2 table spoon brown sugar or muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
- Mix flour and cubed cold butter until you get a sandy texture.
- Beat the egg yolk like for an omelet and add it with the milk, sugar and salt. Mix (but only a bit to combine ingredients).
- Form a ball, flatten it a bit, wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- First preheat the oven to 170 °C.
- Whisk eggs and sugar.
- Add the melted butter and the cream. Mix well.
- Flavor with aromas of your choice: cinnamon, vanilla, calvados.
- Peel and seed the apples. Cut thin slices for a nice dressing.
Roll out pastry
- Take pastry out of the refrigerator, spread flour on the table and roll out with a rolling pin.
- Place the pastry ring on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and place the dough inside. You can simply place the dough in a classic tart mold, for the thin version.
Garnish and bake
- Put a first layer of apples in the bottom of the mold, pour half or the Norman cream, then neatly arrange the rest of the apples. Pour over the rest of the cream.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Bake at 170 °C for 1 hour (45 minutes for a classic tart mold, as it is thinner it less cooking time).
Bon appétit !