The tart that got me hired
After two years of working at restaurants as a pastry assistant, I thought, probably naively, that I was ready to graduate to pastry chef. I fell in love with Café Chenville the moment I walked in the door. It was full of charm and the small open kitchen, with its wood fired oven blazing, drew me in. The interview went OK. As I stood to go, the owner suddenly said, “We’d like you to bake us something. Do you have time now?” I said yes, of course, but to say I was terrified would be an understatement! I was let loose to figure out what to make with the ingredients already in the kitchen using the cookbooks on the shelf. One of the books was Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. I decided to bake the Golden Cream and Apple Tart after a quick perusal of the pantry. There is nothing particularly complicated about this recipe, but its simple ingredients make for a tart that is comforting and completely satisfying. It is both homey and sophisticated. I was hired on the spot. I have since made this tart countless times, and have changed a few things. I now use a different cookie like crust, and have added lemon zest to the custard. You could dress it up with a swirl of caramel sauce , or a dollop of whipped cream, but I like it best as is—slightly warm.
The tart will taste best if you bake it until the crust is uniformly golden brown, and the apples are very brown at the tips.