Saturday, 11 January 2014

A Tale of (apple) Tarts

As you can tell, I've had a break from blogging. A wedding, job change, house move and making the decision to leave the country all took their toll and I needed to eliminate the extra pressure and guilt that comes from frantically trying to catch up with blog posts.

So now autumn is upon us, my winter coat has come out of hibernation and I've bought a new pair of gloves which should last about a week before I lose one and have a cold left hand. I'm trudging through autumnal leaves to work and millions of apples seem to be suicidally throwing themselves from trees. 

Both at home and work, I am being given more apples than I know what to do with. I have filled my spare jars with chutney and my friends with apple crumble cake but still the bags of apples lurk in the corner of my kitchen. 

So I've been perfecting the art of the apple tart.

I used Mary Berry's recipe because I love and trust her! I blind baked the pastry first whilst I make an apple puree with. Then I filled the case with the puree and topped with sliced apples, demerera sugar and flaked almonds. Served warm with Nigella's salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream it was YUM!
The cake tasted delicious but I slightly over baked the pastry and didn't have enough filling inside the tart. The flaked almonds were tasty but quickly went soggy.

The new improved tart had perfect pastry and brandy soaked sultanas in the apple puree. Both these things increased the yum factor of the tart but it still needs more filling....

I learnt from my mistakes and cooked plenty of apples with brandy and sultanas. Topped with sliced eating apples and demerera sugar and enjoyed with a dollop of creme fraiche - delicious!

So here's my final recipe:

165g plain flour
25g ground almonds
55g caster sugar
120g butter
1 egg

6 cooking apples
sultanas (a couple of handfuls or however many you fancy!)
2 eating apples
light brown sugar
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
2 tablespoons of brandy
A sprinkle of demerara sugar

This pastry is best made the day before you want to use it as it will be much easier to work with:
Rub the butter into the flour and almonds until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and then mix in the caster sugar. Stir in the egg until the mixture begins to come together as a dough then tip onto a floured surface and knead. Cling-film and refrigerate overnight.

To make the tart:

Preheat the oven to 180C and soak the sultanas in the brandy.

Roll out the pastry to about 1cm thick and line a 20cm tin - make sure you push the pastry right into the corners. Cut off any excess pastry with a knife. Line the pastry with foil and fill with baking beans. By wrapping the foil tightly over the top of the tin and filling to the top with baking beans, you should prevent the pastry shrinking. Bake for about 20 minutes at 180C. Remove the foil and baking beans and return the pastry to the oven for about 5 minutes, until it has a light colour all over. Set aside whilst you make the filling.

Peel, core and chop the cooking apples into small chunks. Put the chopped apples, sugar and mixed spice in a saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the apples are soft but not mushy and then add the brandy and sultanas and remove from the heat. 

Peel, core and slice the eating apples and place on top of the cooked apple mixture. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top and cook for about 15 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment