What we like in very thin tarts is the idea of going straight to the point. No fuss allowed in these little gems: just a golden puff pastry supporting a bounty of fresh fruits bursting with flavor – that’s how we like them. At Méert, however, they brings a touch of sophistication to this dessert, with the addition of hazelnut and cinnamon. Will their endeavor fall into excess, or will they show an elegant restraint? This warrants an inspection.
The dessert is made of a flaky pastry spread with a layer of hazelnut cream and topped with eight apple wedges. The fruits are sprinkled with cinnamon and a few roasted hazelnuts.
The Apple and Hazelnut Tart by Méert has a diameter of 130 mm and a height of 37 mm. The specimen we purchased weights 170 grams and costs 3.80€.
The first thing we notice upon opening the package is the heavy scent of cinnamon, apple and butter. It is indeed an intensely buttery, and slightly slippery, flaky pastry which we pull out. It is topped with apples which are glazed with a thin transparent jelly and dusted with cinnamon.
We count eight pieces of apple, laid out in a defined arrangement on the tart. The wedges are thick and retain the original fruit’s taste and texture, as if they had been only lightly poached. The fruit has a mellow, rather than acidic, flavor, which works well with the cinnamon.
Underneath the apples, we discover a fairly thin layer of hazelnut cream. It has a grainy texture which suggests it is simply made of ground hazelnuts, and an earthy flavor which points to fresh hazelnuts which were not roasted beforehand. The hazelnut pieces on top of the tart, on the other hand, are roasted and add some crunch to the dessert.
The flaky pastry on the tart’s outer rim is admirably puffed, with wonderfully thin layers. However, it is less well baked at the center of the dessert, where it comes into contact with the topping. It thus appears to have been baked directly with the fruits on top, whereas pre-baking it would help to develop the flakiness in the center. This should be done while maintaining a flat, bump-free surface, so as to be able to subsequently place the toppings. As for the underside of the tart, it is nicely and homogenously baked.
The Apple and Hazelnut Tart by Méert is a nice example of an indulgent and generous dessert which nevertheless manages to remain elegant. The apple, hazelnut and cinnamon pairing brings a comforting flavor, further enhanced by the mellowness of the apples selected and the earthiness of the hazelnut cream – thus making this dessert a good choice for the impending autumn season. We have yet to be blown away by the flakiness of the tart’s center. Nevertheless, we can only appreciate the parsimonious use of sugar in this dessert, and the variety of textures – ranging from the crispness of the puff pastry, to the sandiness of the hazelnut cream, to the soft moistness of the apples.
Score: 4.0/5 Very good
16 rue Elzévir, 75003 Paris, France
Open from Tuesday to Friday from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm and from 2 pm to 7.30 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 7.30 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 6.30 pm.
Tel: +331 49 96 56 90