Thursday, 17 January 2013

Impress with French pastry

It's January - the festive season is long behind us and the resolutions for the New Year have been backed up by buying lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Maybe the "buy one, get one free" offer on apples seemed like a good idea at the beginning of the year but now they are sitting in the fruit bowl, getting slightly past their best. 

Well, I have just the recipe for you: a French Apple Tart.  Slightly decadent for January but how about a special treat for family or friends after a Sunday walk, run, play-about- in-the-snow?  You'll have burnt off those calories beforehand and it'll also help use up those old apples...
Apple Tart...

Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce (serves 8)

You will ideally need a rectangular tart tin or round tin with a removable base for this recipe
Total time used: 1 hour 45 minutes
This tart can be frozen!
This recipe could also work well with pears (although I haven't tried that version yet).

For the pastry:
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour, sifted
  • 50g (2oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt*
  • 75g (3oz) butter, diced (*if using salted butter, leave out the pinch of salt above)
For the filling:
  • 900g (2lb) apples, peeled, cored and cut into smallish chunks
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • 50g (2oz) caster sugar
  • zest and juice 1/2 lemon
For the topping:
  • 250g (9oz) apples (around 4)
  • 25g (1oz) butter, melted
  • 1tsp caster sugar
For the glaze:
  • 3tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved - or any other jam...a red one will just result in a slightly tinted glaze
OPTIONAL: caramel sauce - I found the cake didn't really need this on the side (although it did taste nice) and I only made half the amount of the recipe stated below:
  • 100g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 150ml (¼pt) double cream
  • 15g (½oz) unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • creme fraiche, to serve
  1. To make the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor, add the diced butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Place in a bowl and add enough chilled water to form a dough. Knead for a couple of minutes, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. To make the filling, place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook very gently for 20 minutes, or until the apples have become soft and mushy. Remove the lid and continue to cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the apple purée is very thick. Beat the purée until smooth and leave on one side to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 C, 180 fan C, 400 F, gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and line the tart tin with it. Line the pastry with nonstick baking paper or foil, fill with baking beans (or any dried beans you may have) and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the pastry is pale golden and dried out.
  4. Place the apple purée in the baked pastry case and level the surface. To make the topping, peel, quarter and core the dessert apples and slice very thinly. Arrange in slightly overlapping lines over the purée, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle on the caster sugar. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 - 25 minutes, or until the pastry and the edges of the apples are lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly, then brush with the sieved apricot jam.

    OPTIONAL:  To make the caramel sauce, place the caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and dissolve over a low heat. Then boil rapidly until it has turned a rich caramel colour. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream then the butter and salt. Return to a low heat until the caramel has dissolved. Leave to cool before serving with the tart and a dollop of creme fraiche.
(This is a recipe from Woman & Home magazine... don't snigger :-))


  1. You have a wonderful blog with delicious recipes and great pictures. Your roast dinner in another post sounded delicious! My parents also used our Sunday roast left overs to make bubble and squeak. Have a lovely weekend, Ann

    1. Thank you so much Ann! I am glad you like the blog! Roast dinners are one of my favourite things :-) Have a lovely weekend too & I am looking forward to reading on your blog! Kirsten x