IMG_5354Quercy is a former province of France located in the country’s southwest, bounded on the north by Limousin, on the west by Périgord and Agenais, on the south by Gascony and Languedoc, and on the east by Rouergue and Auvergne.  Quercy comprised the present-day department of Lot, the northern half of the department of Tarn-et-Garonne, and a few communities in the departments of Dordogne, Corrèze, and Aveyron. The traditional capital of Quercy is Cahors.  The largest town of Quercy is Montauban.   The area is noted for its cuisine, particularly the duck dishes, confit de canard and magret de canard and the dark red wines of Cahors.

IMG_5358This recipe comes from Jennifer Patterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright, The Two Fat Ladies.  I first heard of this recipe years ago when Clarissa made it on the episode entitled “The Lock Keepers”.  I made it back then after seeing it and loved it.   Recently I have been watching the old episodes of the Fat Ladies and saw it again and decided that I should give it another go.

I word of warning here.  This cake is labor intensive and requires a bit of preplanning.  The apples need to be peeled, sliced and marinated overnight.  The dough also needs some planning.  Once it is made it needs to rest for about 2 hours before you start working it and once you start working with it, you will need at least 1/2 hour if not more to get it to the proper thinness.  You most work patiently and delicately or you can toughen and ruin all your hard work. Once the proper thinness is achieved the dough needs to rest again for an hour.   When done properly the cake is similar to a strudel and is quite marvelous.  Definitely worth at least one attempt to decide for yourself if it is worth all the trouble.  I certainly think it is.

IMG_5336IMG_5337IMG_5340IMG_5343IMG_5348FILLING:

  • 3 pounds apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 4 fluid ounces rum
  • 3 fluid ounces orange flower water
  • Thinly pared rind of 1 lemon
  • PASTRY
  • 1 pound plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces butter, creamed
  • FINISH:
  • 1 ounce butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Caster sugar (superfine)
 Macerate the sliced apples with the sugar, rum, orange flower water, and lemon peel overnight. Strain the apples, reserving the juice.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, put butter and eggs into a well in the center. Working with the fingertips gradually add 7 fluid ounces of the liquid from the apples. Work into a smooth and elastic paste with your hand and leave to rest for 2 hours.

Roll out the rested paste as thinly as possible, then transfer to a floured cloth on a large table. Working from the center, with the palms of your hands, carefully stretch the paste to the thinness of a cigarette paper. Let it rest it for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F.
Brush lightly with melted butter and dust with sugar, cover with well drained apples and roll up. Mix the remaining juice into the beaten egg and brush over the top. Bake in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes.
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