The car is filled with the warm scent of freshly baked bread as I make the return journey from the boulangerie, snaking through barely moving walls of corn and sunflowers that skitter the light of this late summer morning on the surface of the empty road that unrolls before me. Usually I think of today and rejoice but today I thought of possible distant tomorrows in which such peaceful moments will be the stuff of fiction or memory…but that’s not today.
Late summer is testament to unfairness and inequality. The world that I know goes on holiday in August and it rains…and rains, drains optimism and makes us vow never to go again where we were that August. When that world is back at school and work, the sun returns from the distant places where it shone on the wealthy, when they wanted it, and on the poor and thirsty whether they wanted it or not. Once back in its rightful place it gets on with preparing to be mellow and fruitful which is what it does best and which it is doing, here, today. Apples are starting to be in the ascendant on the stalls, a bowl of which has led me to make this “golden apple tart” from Patricia Wells’ “Bistro Cooking”. The word golden, in the recipe title, has nothing to do with the eponymous, yet inappropriately named apple. It has to do with the golden colour that the tart achieves from a rather longer cooking time than is usual.
The recipe demands that sugar, cream and egg yolks are poured on top the sliced apples and the whole then sprinkled with sugar just before being put into the oven and suggests a cooking time of 45 minutes in an oven at 190C, which I ignored and continued for a further 10 minutes and which did it no harm. Many cold and damp holiday makers would have dreamed of achieving such a colour….until the end of the first week of rain when they would just have been happy not to contract pneumonia.
On reading the title of this recipe more carefully, I notice that the golden refers to the cream that is part of the recipe. Aside from the cream in the recipe, there is little question in my mind that a slice of warm apple tart will only benefit from a spoonful of additional and. if at all possible, golden cream. The Vallee d’Auge in Calvados is not only renowned for its celebrated falling down water, but also for its extravagantly thick and jaundiced cream. This is not the sweet confection that I knew as thick double cream in a previous life, but an altogether more subtle example of the dairyman’s art ( I just can’t bring myself to write “dairy person” as I’m sure my readers will not be insistent that I spell out everything in order to appease the Goddess, oh all right, God of equality and that it doesn’t take too much perception to understand that gender has little to do with the making of cream, save for the gender of the producer of the milk).