From Provence with love
Our holidays at the seaside are, we may say, 'peculiar' thanks to one of us (moi) who clearly has a bad relationship with the sun. Because of that, we end up making up programs away from the beach for the hot summer afternoons. Whilst other mortal beings improve their tan (and the risk for skin cancer...), this 'solar weirdo' visits exhibitions dragging her poor (and pale) husband.
It was an August afternoon when we sailed to the city to a World Press Foto exhibition in the middle of Algarve. It was destiny that at the marina, not far from the exhibition area, a book sale was taking place... Oh no! Books are a shared addiction/passion. We made it there, naturally. Mr. Taster soon found a couple of fiction books he was looking for. I opened and closed a cookbook in blue covered with lemons. Buy it. My shelves are packed. I have half a dozen french cuisine cookbooks. Take the book. It's heavy... I've put the book back. Only to reach for it, and to place it back again. And once more. Again and again. I've been put out of my misery when my partner of many fights and little sunshine, grabbed the book on his way to checkout, and gently pushed me to the way out. My laugh is still echoing in the tent! The book? It found a place on the top shelf pushing a stack of Saveurs magazines to the living room...
Tian* de Pommes
Adapted from Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine, Sabores da Provença, Editora Civilização.
6 (small) red apples, unpeeled and cored
75 grs unsalted butter, extra to butter the ramekins
100 ml whole milk, cold
200 ml pouring or single cream
100 grs almond meal
1 Tbsp cornmeal
4 (medium) eggs
3 Tbsp caster sugar, , extra to dust the ramekins
powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven 200ºC. Halve the cored apples, and slice thinly.
Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced apples. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring carefully not to break the slices. Remove from heat. Seat aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cream, almond and cornmeal. Mix in the eggs and the sugar. Beat just until combined. Add the apples.
Butter a large ovenproof dish (or 6-8 individual ramekins) and dust with sugar. Pour the batter evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes if using individual ramekins or 45 minutes if using a large dish.
Dust generously with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
* Tian is a terracotta dish that can have many shapes: oval, rectangular or round; gratins made this way can be sweet or savoury, and are called tians.