Recipe 62: French Apple Tart

Photo 31-10-2013 18 37 57

Good morning and happy Friday! The weekend is finally here, for many of you I’m sure it may mean a nice relaxing weekend, for me it means lots of essay writing and transcribing!

It has been such a long time since I wrote up anything about pastry, or even made it myself, so I was so exciting to make this tart. While looking through the book, it’s something I always flick past, think ‘ooh, I want to make that, where’s something that won’t take as much time…’ and never get round to it. It came to a point where I just thought, let’s do it and see what happens.

Usually, I love making pastry but it’s one of those things can work, or they don’t and to be honest, there’s not much in-between. My first attempt failed miserably. I had followed the instructions carefully and it still resulting into a bit of a crumbly mess; wrapped it up in clingfilm, but it in the fridge and waited for 30 minutes patiently. When I got it out the fridge, it was worse than when I started; it was like a block of cement that just crumbled each time I tried to roll it out…no no no, what’s going on Mary?!

Then I started to think, shall I just use a different pastry recipe and then just follow the same filling? I’m not sure this is going to work and I’ve just used up all the butter I had specifically for this tart. Quick call to my mum, she brought me home some more Stork and we were away attempting it again. A lesson is to be learnt here, don’t give up! The pastry of the second attempt was perfect, was able to be rolled out and then placed into the tin ready for the filling. So stick with it!Β Photo 31-10-2013 16 42 56

I won’t lie, this takes a lot of time to make; from the pastry, to the cooking of the apples and pushing them through a sieve and making a puree…but it’s worth it, I promise. The end result was stunning and I was so proud of it. If you try it, or are thinking of trying it, leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

    • 175 g plain flour
    • 75 g diced butter (MAKE SURE IT’S COLD!)
    • 1 large egg yolk (I used a whole egg in my pastry and it worked much better)
    • Water, if necessary

For the filling:

    • 900 g cooking apples
    • 50 g butter
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 4 tbsp apricot jam
    • 50 g caster sugar
    • Grated rind of 1/2 a lemon
    • 225 g eating apples
    • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp caster sugar for sprinkling

For the glaze:

    • 4 tbsp apricot jam

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, add the butter and flour; rub together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and stir into the flour with a round bladed knife (crucial!); bring the mixture dough, adding a little water if necessary. Knead it very lightly then pop in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. While the pastry is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6. Cut the cooking apples into quarters, remove the core, and chop into chunks (no need to peel). Melt the butter in a large pan and then add the apples and water. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 15-20 mins; until the apples are very soft and mushy.
  3. Rub the apple through a sieve into a clean saucepan; add the sugar, apricot jam and grated lemon rind. Cook over a high heat for 10 minutes; stirring continuously to prevent the bottom burning, until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick – set aside to cool.
  4. Photo 31-10-2013 15 14 15Roll out the pastry thinly on a floured surface and use to line an 8″ deep loose-bottomed fluted flan tin. Cover with parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind bake in for 10-15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and then bake for a further 5 minutes until the base of the pastry has dried out. Remove from the oven but don’t turn it off.
  5. Spoon the cooled apple puree into the tart case and level the surface.Photo 31-10-2013 16 05 17
  6. Peel, quarter and peel the eating apples. Slice them very thinly. Arrange in neat and overlapping circles on top of the puree, brush them with lemon juice and sprinkle with caster sugar. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges of the apples are lightly browned.Photo 31-10-2013 16 06 11
  7. Lastly, for the glaze, sieve the apricot jam in a small pan and heat gently until runny. Brush all over the top of the apples and pastry.Β Photo 31-10-2013 18 37 28
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