Chefs from some of the greatest restaurants on earth are joined by gastronomes, celebrities and passionate foodies to share childhood food memories and the recipes that inspired them to experiment in the kitchen... a memory bank which reminds us home cooking can be fun, thrifty, save money and amaze your friends.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Michel Roux - The Waterside Inn - Bray

This week we have been given some food memories from Michel Roux. It's not our usual format but who can resist printing a recipe from the godfather of the culinary world. In 1967 Michel Roux and his brother chef Albert Roux they opened their first restaurant, Le Gavroche, which became the first restaurant in Britain to gain one, two and then three Michelin stars. In 1972 they opened the Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire. Michel was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France for patisserie in 1972 and an honorary OBE alongside his brother in 2002 and is the recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence. Michel Roux's combined book titles have sold over 2 million worldwide.

Michel Roux was introduced to food via his family especially his Mother. She and the food she prepared marked the beginning of everything in life - providing health, comfort, strength and growth. By keeping her children happy then the family remained happy. Michel is not saying that he couldn't have done anything else, but he and Albert were born to be cooks. "My father was a charcutier - a maker of pork products. He use to buy pigs and use them from the foot to the nose to make paté, sausages, everything. When you are born into a family, you are attracted to the food industry."

During Michel’s younger life there were little resources available in terms of range of ingredients but the family shared lots of love and happiness over mealtime.

When Michel was 12, his eldest brother Albert served his patissier apprenticeship whilst Michel looked on intently. “Pastry became the love of my life. Pastry chef was my first job. I love writing books. Pastry is my tenth book in 26 years”

Apple Tart

  • Flan pastry (known as pate a foncer in France)
  • 300g flan pastry (this can be kept in the fridge for a week or freezer for 3 months)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g butter cut in to small pieces and slightly soft
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 40 ml cold water

Heap the four on the work surface and make a well. Put the butter, egg, sugar and salt in the middle. With finger tips , mix and cream the ingredients in the well
Little by little draw the flour into the centre and work through the dough to a grainy texture. Add the cold and mix it in until the dough begins to hold together.

Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 4 or 5 times until it is smooth. Roll the pastry into a ball, wrap in cling and refrigerate until ready for use.

  • 6 dessert apples – approx 850g (ideal Cox’s)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 60g butter 80g caster sugar

Roll the pastry to a round , 3 mm thick and use to line a lightly buttered 24cm diameter (3mm deep) loose bottomed tart tin or flan ring. Pinch the edges with your index finger and thumb at 1cm intervals to make fluted edge higher than the rim. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200c / Gas 6. Peel, core and halve the apples. Place cut-side down on a board and cut into 2 mm thick slices. Put a-third of the apples (the outer smaller slices) into a saucepan. Keep the other two-thirds packed together to stop discolouring. Add 50 ml water, vanilla pod and butter to the apples in the pan and cook gently until tender. Take off the heat, discard the vanilla pd and work the apples, using a whisk, to a compote consistency. Leave to cool. For the glaze, in a small pan dissolve the sugar in 40ml water. Bring to the boil and bubble for 4-5 minutes to make a syrup. Leave to cool.

Prick base pastry case lightly. Pour in cold apple compote and spread gently with a spoon. Arrange a border of overlapping slices around the tart, then arrange another circle inside with slices facing the other way. Fill the centre with a little rosette of small slices, trimming to fit if necessary. Bake for 35 minutes until the pastry and apples are evenly cooked and light golden in colour.

Leave the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the flan ruing or tart tin. Brush the top with the glaze, place the tart on a wire rack and leave until cooled. Transfer to plate and serve cut into slices

(taken from Michel Roux ‘Pastry’ published by Quadrille)

Thanks to Rachel Lampen for her contact with Michel Roux.