Apple tart is a classic, and for that I’ve not messed about with it or tried anything crazy here. Sweet shortcrust pastry, stewed apple filling, caramelised apple topping. That’s it – and it’s delicious!
(In case you’re wondering, the picture was taken just before the final bake.)
for the pastry
- 150g plain flour, sifted
- 75g butter, chilled and cubed
- 30g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 medium egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp cold water
for the filling
- 500g red eating apples (e.g. braeburn, cox, gala), peeled, cored and chopped*
- 30g butter
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 egg
for the topping
- 1 red eating apple (about 150g), cored, halved and thinly sliced (skin-on)*
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
Make the pastry: in a medium bowl, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar. Use a palette knife to cut in the beaten egg then press together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm but not hard.
Make the filling: melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat then stir in the sugar and cook for a couple minutes until the colour deepens. Carefully add the boiling water (the mixture will splatter) then stir the caramel mixture until smooth. Add the fruit in 3-4 batches (so the temperature of the pan doesn’t drop too low), stir it in and wait for the caramel to bubble again before adding the next batch. Simmer the fruit for 30 mins, stirring occasionally and making sure it doesn’t catch. Mash the cooked fruit into a puree then set to one side to cool whilst baking the pastry.
Grease a 23cm round loose-bottomed flan tin (about 3cm deep) then roll the pastry between a sheet of non-stick baking paper and the cling film to 3mm thick. Remove the paper then lower the pastry into the tin, cling film-side up, and press into the grooves. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5.
Remove the pastry case from the freezer and peel off the cling film. Trim the edges of the pastry in line with the sides of the tin and prick the base with a fork. Bake the pastry case blind (line each with non-stick baking paper and an even layer of baking beans) in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and return the case to the oven for 5 more minutes until just starting to colour on the edges.
Once the pastry is blind baked and the fruit has cooled, stir the egg into the fruit then transfer to the pastry case and spread evenly. Arrange the slices of apple on top of the fruit filling and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Return the tart to the oven for 25 minutes until the filling is just set and apple slices are golden brown and caramelised. Serve at room temperature with cream.
*toss the prepared apple in lemon juice to prevent browning