Ran out of my supply of contact lenses a while ago, so I made a reservation at my optometrist last Saturday. When I get there, the receptionist looks up and says, “ah, you must be M. T.” Wow, how did you know that? “Oh, because it close to your appointment time, but really it’s because you’re the only client who looks like a true Québécois.
Wha? Yeah, methinks, I’m just going to let that one slide. Grab a magazine, and set down to wait to see the eye guy. Who turns out to be an eye chick. A very attractive el-doctoro. Yay me! So, she checks out my eyes, I do my best to not check her out, and then we’re discussing my prescription and all that. Because she’s not my regular optometrist, someone I’ve been seeing for the past 15-17 years, I ask in passing, “So, did Dr. M retire?” This crestfallen look comes over her, when she tells me that, “Gosh, you did hear? Dr. M pass away last January…”
I was seriously jonesing for some cherry licorice the other day (why? I don’t know? Get off my case, okay?), so walked down to Ste-Catherine in search of the nearest pharmacy, where I am always sure to find the best selection of candy. Yup, drugstores sell you the shit that makes you sick, so that you’ll come back and buy the stuff to make you well again.
Anyhow, so walking back to work, some gem in the reptilian section of my mind woke up to remind me that, hey, there’s supposed to be a yoga studio around here. And sure enough, it’s right next door to the pharmacy, and? they offer classes at lunch. So, um, yay me. Kripalu for an hour, followed by a half-pound bag of licoricey goodness right after.
Can life get any better than this? I submit that it can not! (Okay, perhaps my opinion is swayed by being the only guy in a room of hot, sweaty women, but I’d like to think that I’m above that. I feel like Harold Perrineau in that one episode of Dead Like Me.)
One nice thing about autumn—among many, including great weather for sleeping in a tent—is the abundance of apples. When we were kids, the family would go to an orchard on a Sunday, spend that day picking apples (at 7 cents a pound), come home, and spend the rest day peeling and quartering said apples, which my mom would use to make apple pies for the winter. Being young and stupid (I’m no longer young), I would gorge myself on apple peels, and have the trots for the following week. (TMI? Hey, it’s all about the sharing.)
Anyhow, I’ve tried making apple pies a few times since then, with little success. Same thing with Tartes Tatin, little success. Until I came across this recipe:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 7-9 Gala apples
- Pâte feuilleté
That’s it, that’s all. Turn oven to 425F. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Melt the butter in an oven-safe (10-inch) pan, and dissolve the sugar. Place the apple quartes in the pan, turn heat to medium-high, and cook, undisturbed, for about 20 minutes. Place pan in oven and cook for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll out your pâte feuilleté to fit the pan. (I can make bread with my eyes closed. Pastry, on the other hand, is my kryptonite. So I buy mine.) I’ve seen comments of how the Tatin sisters would have an embolism if you use anything but pâte brisée. To which I say, big fucking deal, they’re dead. Time to move on.
Take the pan out of the oven; the apples should start to look really nice right about now, with the caramelisation stuff and all that. Place the dough over the top of the apples, push it down to fit any dimples, and, again, cook for another 20-25 minutes. What you’ll get is something like this.
Let it cool, flip it over, and enjoy. Especially with a dollop of crème fraiche. Sweet, acidic, slide-down-your-throat crème fraiche.