“I’m not crazy about chiles,” says chef Gerard Bahon, in a formidable French accent that has successfully resisted Americanization for more than twenty years. So at his Arlington restaurant, Bistro Bagatelle (406 W. Abrams), the native of Brittany eschews the potent ingredients of Texas’ Southwestern cuisine in favor of the serene and sophisticated French country cooking he grew up with. Bahon likes dishes as varied as snails in puff pastry with woodland mushrooms and stuffed mussels gratinèe with Pernod and garlic butter. This warm apple tart à la mode combines the sweet, sunny flavor of fresh apples with homemade cinnamon ice cream and a velvety, irresistible honey-cream sauce.
Cinnamon Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground preferred
In mixing bowl, whip eggs and sugar together. Bring milk to a boil in saucepan, remove from heat, and pour slowly into egg-sugar mixture, stirring continuously. Add cinnamon. Return mixture to medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until it coats the back of a spoon (do not allow mixture to boil). Remove from heat and strain. Let cool to room temperature.
Pour into ice cream maker and follow directions. Store ice cream in freezer when done. (Store-bought ice cream may be substituted if you do not have an ice cream maker.)
1 cup honey
1 cup heavy cream
In saucepan, bring honey to a boil and cook 2 to 3 minutes to reduce. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add cream slowly, stirring, until mixture reaches consistency of syrup. Set aside.
1 package frozen French puff-pastry sheets
2 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup brown sugar, approximately
4 sprigs of mint
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using 5-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut 4 circles from dough. Peel and core apples, cut in half, and slice each half in thin slices (approximately 1/4 inch). Place slices on top of dough, leaving 1/2 inch of edge uncovered. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cook for 10 minutes, until dough is golden brown and apples are still slightly crisp. (Don’t use too much brown sugar or it will run.)
To serve, spoon 4 tablespoons of honey sauce on one side of plate. Place tart on the other side of plate with scoop of ice cream beside it. Garnish with sprig of mint and serve at once. Serves 4.