Saint Honore Offers History on a Plate

A centuries-old recipe sparks a hunt for the perfect apple at Dominique Geulin's French bakery.

By Allison Jones September 14, 2012

When Dominique Geulin stumbled upon a dreamy applesauce recipe in a northern French cookbook from the 1750's (Frenchilly titled Suite des Dons de Comus ou l'Art de la cuisine, réduit en pratique), he knew there would be a place for it on his fall menu at Saint Honore Bakery.

Raised by a family of bakers in Normandy, Geulin was intrigued by the familiar flavor combination of crisp apples and sparkling apple cider, slow cooked together for hours until the mixture reaches a caramel hue and spreadable thickness.

After a first batch of the applesauce brought back vivid memories of rustic apple pastries from his childhood, Geulin began the search for a varietal that would stand up to the low-and-slow cider braise. Via a sampling of countless Oregon apples at farmers markets and Fruit Loop orchards, Geulin fell for the Akane apples (also known as Tokyo Rose) from Kiyokawa Family Orchards in the Hood River Valley.

Three generations of the Kiyokawa family have been growing over eighty varieties of apples since 1911, overseen by the towering spectacle of Mount Hood. Geulin was among the first bakers to source flour from Shepherd's Grain, a collective of sustainable farmers in the Northwest, so the choice to feature a sustainably-grown apple with roots in regional history was a natural one. 

Back at the bakery, Geulin and his team are using the apples two ways, in a Pomme Grillé and Tarte aux Pommes. The Pomme Grillé features the historical applesauce topped with a lattice-cut layer of delicate puff pastry. The sweet-tart Akane apples, with their rose-colored peels, cooks down so well that the bakers at St Honore are able to leave the thin skins on for a rustic texture and flavor.

The Tarte aux Pommes combines a few simple ingredients--puff pastry, butter, a touch of sugar, and fresh apples--for a taste of fall that is more than the sum of its parts. Each pastry will be available for $3.90 from September 14th through November at both St. Honore locations. For a preview, check out my slideshow of the desserts and Geulin's trip to Kiyokawa Family Orchards by clicking the photo above. 

Saint Honore Bakery
2335 Northwest Thurman Street in Portland
315 1st Street in Lake Oswego

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