Along with croissants, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins, and the brioche, the totally YUM chausson aux pommes is a bit like an apple compote pocket pie and is considered part of the viennoiserie / baked goods family rather than being part of patisserie / pastry category. This “pie” (for the lack of a better word) is always a stretched, half-moon shape with a rounded tooth-like cut pattern on the curved side. It usually has a design on it like this one with its branch and leaves. I love these.
While most people prefer eating these fresh from the bakery and warm if possible, which is great, I like to eat them differently particularly during the dog days of summer. Apologies in advance for those of you who find what I’m about to say sacrilegious.
French summers are wicked hot, which usually calls for fresh, crispy, cold salads, fruit, cold teas, and ice cream. With the chausson aux pommes, I’ve found that it’s soooooo good to do the following: eat it while the apple compote is frozen inside.
This is what you do: 1) freeze the chausson aux pommes completely. 2) preheat oven to about 350 F degrees (175 C). 3) Wrap the chausson aux pommes in foil. 4) Pop it into the oven for about 10 minutes, just long enough to thaw the outside crust but not the apple compote inside. 5) Take it out of the oven and let it sit for a minute to cool the crust. 6) Eat it.
The inside should be frozen but not frozen solid that you can’t bite through it. It should have a perfect popsicle consistency. The result is: buttery, flaky crust outside, real-fruity deliciously cool and refreshing apple inside.
Chausson aux pommes Tidbits
In 1630, a wealthy patron of the chateau in Saint-Calais (in the department of Sarthe) distributed chaussons aux pommes to help the poor and starving victims of an epidemic who were confined to one section of the city. Since then, the 1st Sunday of September in Saint-Calais is dedicated to this lady and there’s a mass and festival in her honor. On the menu: chaussons aux pommes and a soup called soupe à la jambe de bouâ made with beef, veal, turkey, pork, chicken and truffled sausages. Oh and a few veggies (turnips, carrots, leeks, celery). Do you think they could’ve put even MORE meat, please? This recipe dates back to Henry IV where they obviously ate a LOT of meat in one sitting – so I guess we now know why the average longevity for people back in the day was way, way shorter.
For more information about the Fête du Chausson aux pommes festival in Saint-Calais, call 02 43 35 82 95
[related: French Pastries 101]