John and I just returned from a wonderful trip to France. We cruised the Seine River from Paris to Normandy, and back. One lovely morning, we visited Monet’s garden and home in Giverny. It was a perfect Spring day with flowers blooming across the spectrum of Monet’s paintings. We also visited a Calvados distillery where we tasted the renowned Norman apple brandy and Pommeau, a sweet apple liqueur. We brought some of each home with us, so when I received a review copy of “Monet’s Palate Cookbook” by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell from Gibbs Smith Publishers, I looked for the perfect recipe to showcase our delicious and coveted souvenirs.
I decided upon the Normandy French Apple Tart since Normandy is especially known for apples. It’s incredibly delicious and so easy. It’s hard to believe that only four ingredients can create such wonderful dessert. It’s absolutely perfect for unexpected company, or a weeknight sweet craving.
- 4 squares or sheets prepared puff pastry
- 4 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Calvados or applejack
- 6 tablespoons (40g) powdered sugar
- Crème fraîche
- Preheat 400F (200C).
- Cute each puff pastry into an 8- to 9-inch (20 cm to 23 cm) circle and set on a non-stick baking sheet; discard scraps or reserve for another use (My note: I used a 9-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper.)
- Sprinkle apple slices with a little Calvados and toss to coat.
- Arrange apple slices in concentric circles from the outside of the pastry to the center.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Dust each tart with 1½ tablespoons powdered sugar and continue baking until apples are tender and gently browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Increase heat to broil and broil until apples are caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes; do not burn.
- Drizzle each tart with a little Calvados.
- Serve immediately with dollop of crème fraîche.
Monet’s Palate: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny is a wonderful study of Monet, his gardens, and his kitchen. Aileen Bordman founded Monet’s Palate, Inc., in 1980, as a means of sharing Monet’s world with others. Derek Fell is an expert on Impressionist artists and their gardens with a series of books to his credit. So, this book is filled with far more than recipes. The first 56 pages describe Monet’s gardens and all the edible plants that grow there – even today. We also saw the small poultry pen which yet thrives. This book includes so many gorgeous photos and prints of Monet’s artwork that it’s worth buying just to look at. But, it’s a special treat to those of us who love Monet, French food, and gardens. Although it’s the culmination of many years’ work, the release of this book is so timely with many of us turning to home gardens for the beauty, relaxation, and delicious rewards they yield. If you love cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients, this book will delight your palate.
The recipes were developed using the abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables found in Monet’s kitchen garden. Some of Monet’s favorites to grow in the kitchen garden included zucchini, cherry tomatoes, radishes, pearl onions, brussel sprouts, asparagus, rosemary and mint. A few of the recipes are of French origin, such as the famous Normandy apple tart. Others are from locations abroad where he traveled in search of motifs to paint, such as the Savoy Hotel, London where Monet acquired their recipe for Yorkshire pudding. Exquisite photography and inspired recipes brings Monet’s kitchen garden back to life. ~ Press Release