I discovered the “Croustade” recently while I was in Gascony at our friends from
Armagnacs Delord, a great family-owned spirits business run by the two sons of the family, Jérôme and Sylvain.
The croustade is a dessert made of apples marinated in Armagnac, the local spirit (of course!) and many layers of a very thin and crispy pastry that is quite difficult to make. This is the reason why I suggest two recipes below: the “traditional” version first, where you make everything, then the “express/modern” one using ready-made filo pastry. You choose!
Time: 2 hours – Serves 6 to 8 – To start THE DAY BEFORE.
The Apples marinated in Armagnac
- 3 golden apples
- 140 ml Armagnac
Wash the apples and cut them into slices about 5-6mm thick. Add the Armagnac and store in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until the day after.
You need to make a dough that is very elastic and soft, in order to be able to spread it very thinly, so much that you can see through., a bit like to make my grandmother’s sweet fritters. Your best friends for this will be a large table and a good oil tablecloth.
For a 24 cm wide mould:
- 1 egg
- 500 g white flour
- 250 ml lukewarm water
- A pinch of salt
- A dash of sunflower oil
You can make this dough by hand, using your food processor, your thermomix or your bread machine. I personally make it using my bread machine because, in addition to saving e a lot of time working the dough, this keeps it warm. As a matter of fact, this dough needs to be worked at a warm temperature and has to be stored in a warm place too until you use it (just like my grandmother’s sweet fritters again!).
Mix the egg, water and salt. Add the flour little by little, then one tablespoon of sunflower oil. Work this dough for at least 10 minutes (thanks bread machine!). Your dough must get very soft and elastic. Put it a plastic bag (ideally one of those zip plastic storage bags), add some sunflower oil to cover all the dough, seal the bag and store, covered with a clean cloth, ina warm place (ideally near the heater or the fireplace).
The day after, take the dough out of the bag, beat it a few times with your rolling pin to stretch it, then roll it as thinly as you can on your table, just very lightly floured. When you cannot do any thinner using your rolling pin, just use your hands, stretching the dough very gently until it covers the whole table and you can see through. Leave it for a couple of hours for the dough to get semi-solid, or if you are in a rush, just use you hair dryer…
Assembling & Baking the Croustade
- A dash of Armagnac
- 100 g melted butter
- 4 bags vanilla sugar
Mix one bag of vanilla suger with the marinated apples.
Using a paintbrush and melted butter, moisten the pastry and sprinkle some vanilla sugar everywhere. Adda dash of Armagnac. Butter your mould too. Cut in the dough several circles slightly larger than the mould.
Dispose 7 or 8 circles in the mould. Add the apples on top, the nadd 3 or 4 other circles of pastry. Finish using 4 or 5 other pieces of pastry that you will fold a little bit to give some volume and crispness.
- 10 to 12 shets of filo pastry
- 100 g melted butter
- 4 bags (40-50 g) sugared vanilla
The steps are similar to the traditionla recipes. Just moisten your filo pastry sheets with some melted butter, sprinkle with vanilla sugar and add a dash of Armagnac. Place 7 sheets of filo pastry in your mould to cover all the bottom. Add the apples, previsouly mixed with one bag of vanilla sugar. Cover with 3 other sheets of filo pastry and fold two other ones to gove some volume and crispness.
Place in the oven, previously heated at a temperature of 160°C, for 10 minutes, then for 20 minutes, placing the mould at the bottom of the oven.
Serve warm, with a glass of Armagnac of courese! For us a delicious Armagnac Delord 25 ans d’âge !