I made an apple tart last week, on Sunday, which took me right back to that autumn in France. Sure, we cut the apples differently then, but the idea was the same. A basic butter crust, handmade of course, without a machine or even a special pastry tool. Apples, peeled and sliced. A bit of sugar and butter on top, before it goes into the oven to bake.
There are a lot of different recipes for a French apple tart, all claiming to be the authentic version. Some say you should add Calvados, whereas others must be cooked upside down so that the apples and sugar caramelize. But this is the one I remember. Simple, easy. I spent a lot of time after I got home trying to recreate that tart. But I felt I could never get the taste quite right (maybe something with the crust?) even though it had seemed so straight forward. Like somehow taking the simplest of ingredients out of the French countryside rendered them different, even though I was putting them together the same way.
That first autumn is too long ago now for me to remember if what I made last week tasted like the apple tarts then. But making it felt the same, which is maybe all that matters.