La Toque / The Chef’s Hat

La Toque is an apple pie with a layer of almond cream inspired by chef Bruno Albouze’s « Grandma’ s Apple Pie. » The pie has a puff pastry crust. The bottom crust is perfectly constrained by the tart ring while the top crust is allowed to puff up, thus « giving rise » to the name.

Maybe I should stop saying I’m using leftovers and start saying, « with xyz » that I made ahead of time – like in this recipe. For this pie, I already had at hand the puff pastry from a previous double batch, and the almond cream. I had made the almond cream before I knew how I’d use it, but I had a hunch that it might find its way into this pie.

Keep it cool and dusted with flour and you’ll be pleased.

If you have been wanting to make a desert with puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) but have been hesitating – cast aside you doubts and make this recipe by Albouze. Even after a week in the fridge, it made a beautiful crust that firmly held the almond cream and sautéed apples without becoming soggy

For the almond cream and sautéed apples, go to Chef Bruno’s page. For the assembly of this pie, just follow the illustrations below.

Fit the chilled but supple bottom crust into a greased tart ring sitting on parchment paper in baking tray. Trim the excess but leave a 1/2 inch overhang to join to the upper crust later. Fill the bottom with a generous layer of almond cream.
Arrange your room temperature sautéed apples as you see here. Do not be afraid to squeeze them in a bit as you would for a Tarte Tatin.
When you’ve filled the ring with apples, pour in some of the room temperature, thickened juice from the sauté pan – this will be a syrupy cinnamon, vanilla delight. It must be a reduced syrupy consistency so as not to add too much liquid to the pie. It must be at room temperature so as not to melt the pastry or the cream. Patience pays off.
Cover, crimp, score and egg wash. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
10 minutes in the oven at 200C / 400F, then lower the temperature to 180C/ 350F for 30 minutes. Do not unmold until at room temperature or colder. I placed mine in the fridge overnight.
Unmold for this beautiful « Toque ».
When cooled, this pie cuts beautifully. You can warm a slice if you wish or eat at room temperature for the fullest flavor.

Give it a try and have a sweet day.

Jill’s Apple Pie [with Walnuts or Pecans] (#72)

“This is Allysa’s friend Jill Rowe’s favorite apple pie recipe. It was the most popular dessert that she made when she owned and ran a local restaurant, The Kitchen, near Allysa’s home in upstate New York.”

Excerpt From: Jennifer Appel. “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” iBooks.



I have made this pie (sort of) twice with a detour each time and lots of compliments

First: I continue to make butter-based, French style pâte brisée. It is simply the kind of pie/tart crust I want to perfect without looking right or left. That said, there are a number of tweaked pâte brisée recipes out there. I check out Julia Child’s recipe but decided against it – it uses lard of which I have none but, again, in which I am not interested. I chose a recipe on Martha Stewart’s website that is EASY and what I’m looking for.

Second: I have decided to add nuts – walnuts once, and pecans another time. This too is something I intend to stick with and even raise to the level (if I dare be so bold) of “signature” recipe – one of a few recipes I’m beginning to think of as “signature” from my oven. Of the two pies, the one with the toasted pecans in it made people go “ooh-là-là”.

IMG_1507 One might experiment with chunks or slices of apples plus the quantity of nuts.

So, this detour calls for at least

1 cup of roughly chopped toasted pecans mixed in to the apple/sugar mix. I may add more in the future as I am looking for a sturdy, nutty, apple mix for what I’ll call a tart.

IMG_1513 Beautiful but …. I need to learn how to bring the top and bottom together without the folded seam.

I didn’t get a picture of a slice of this. Below is something similar from “Sarah Cooks”.