Friday, January 08, 2010

An apple tart competition and a fizzy Moscato

Our friend Christophe loves to make apple tarts. That's one of his specialties and he is pretty good at it. He makes a quick sweet pastry crust, arranges apple slices on top of it and bakes the tart until the apples are soft. That's a quick and easy recipe and we all love his tarts but our friend Jiyon thought that we should also try her own more elaborated recipe as well.

Christophe's tart

Her point was that the dough had to be made with very cold butter and iced water and it was important to use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour in order to avoid warming up the butter. When done, the dough had to be refrigerated for several hours before baking. And then, when the tart is cooked, she likes to brush the top of the tart with a glaze made of apricot preserve and Calvados.

Jiyon's tart

There were unanimous cheers for Jiyon's tart and everybody voraciously ate her/his slice. I thought the crust had a cookie-like crunchiness and was very tasty. I also liked the glaze on the apples but I found the Fuji variety that was used for both tart, too firm and not tart enough for my taste. For our next apple tart competition, I think we should use Granny Smith or even Golden Delicious.

Because it was New Year's eve, we drank a Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé, a terrific dry Champagne Rosé with a delicate rose petal color and a lot of finesse, although the Champagne was much too dry to accompany the apple tart.

I think the Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d'Asti that Kobrand Corporation had sent me before the holidays would have worked better with the dessert. Unfortunately, we had tasted the wine earlier in the evening and there was none left.

Made from the aromatic Muscat grape, Moscato d'Asti is a sweet, semi-sparkling wine with low alcohol content. Nivole, which means clouds in the local dialect, is produced by Azienda Vitivinicola Michele Chiarlo, a prominent producer in Piedmont. The fruit is sourced from a single south-southwest facing, steep hillside vineyard. Fermentation occurs using natural yeast and is stopped when the wine has reached an alcohol level of 5.5% using a sterile filtration to remove any remaining live yeasts. Then the addition of unfermented must adjusts the residual sugar level to 11%.

The wine had a pale yellow color and a fragrant nose of exotic fruits. The palate was light and fresh, slightly fizzy, with a definitive sweetness, leaving an aftertaste of honey and apricot. But the uncomplex sweet style of the wine didn't convince everybody: my husband thought it tasted like sparkling apple juice. Maybe he should have tried it with the apple tart.

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Culture Snob (Nina S) said...

Moscato D'Asti is a good one! Thanks for writing such a fine and detailed blog about elegant dining! I'm a fan, too, but becauase of time, I can't blog about food and wine as much as I do about books, fashion, and social commentary! =(((

Can't wait to graduate and have more time on my hands for the pleasures of life!

Thanks again for blogging and keep up the good work!


Betty said...

I'm sorry to trouble you, but I've been trying to log in to your but am unable to. Have you shut it down? Oh, I do hope not. It's wonderful for tracking the wines in our cellar. Thanks. Betty.

Catherine Granger said...

Hi Betty, the site is back, thanks!