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Tarte Vite-Fait

"A tart from champagne" sounds like the opening lines of a limerick! But no. This is another wonderful example of down-to-earth cooking from the region which is a by-word for luxury and extravagant gestures.

The recipe for this "Quickly-made tart" using apples or pears comes from a family of independent champagne growers, Larmandier Pere et Fils in Vertus.

The warm family atmosphere, and repertoire of tried and tested local dishes, mean that pickers return year after year for the harvest.

This tart really could not be simpler and requires no previous cooking experience!


1 egg 3 tablespoons milk 2 tablespoons oil (such as groundnut or sunflower)

5 tablespoons plain flour 3 tablespoons fine semolina (you can find this in Italian stores)

1 pinch salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons kirsch or other fruit brandy, if liked


500 g (1 lb) dessert apples, or ripe pears

icing sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6-7, 400-450°F, 200-250°C.

Put a heavy baking sheet in the middle.

Butter a 23 cm (9 inch) tart tin.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples or pears.

Put all the other ingredients into a mixer and blend, or beat all the ingredients with a whisk till amalgamated. Pour the mixture, which is quite a liquid dough, into the greased tart tin.

Spread the sliced fruit over the mixture in the tin - there should be plenty of fruit. Add sugar if you feel the fruit needs it. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon if you wish.

Bake, putting the tart tin on the baking sheet, in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mme Larmandier says it is quite gooey, although if you forget it and cook it too long, it is still good. Just before serving, sprinkle with icing sugar - it can be eaten warm or cold and is good with cream or vanilla ice cream.

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