French Apple Tart

IMG_1922Whenever I look into a bakery window, I find myself drawn to the apple tart. There’s something strangely hypnotic about the intricate overlapping of the apple slices (or else I simply have a weakness for baked apples and pastry), and I’m very rarely let down when I order a slice. I won’t lie, this particular tart requires a bit of time to make (so you’ll want to set an afternoon aside), but I assure you, the result is worth it and is guaranteed to impress even your harshest critics. The recipe is compliments of (who else but) Mary Berry, and her well placed hint of citrus brings out an entirely new level of flavour.

What you’ll need

For the pastry
250g (8oz) plain flour
125g (4oz) chilled butter, cubed
125g (4oz) caster sugar
4 egg yolks
IMG_1897**Mary’s recipe calls for an 11″ fluted flan tin, but I used a 12″ one. You’ll also need baking beans or rice/pasta.

For the filling
90g (3oz) butter
1.5kg (3lb) cooking apples, quartered, cored and cut into slices
3 tbsp water
6 tbsp apricot jam
125g (4oz) caster sugar
grated zest of 1 large lemon

For the topping and glaze
375g (12oz) eating apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
6 tbsp apricot jam

What to do

For this recipe, the first thing to get cracking with is the pastry. In a large bowl, rub the flour and cubes of butter together with your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar, then add the yolks and a tbsp or so of cold water IMG_1890if required (that is if you’re having trouble bringing the mixture together into a dough). Once you’ve created a ball of dough, press it into a disc shape (this will make it easier to roll out), cover in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

While the pastry’s chilling, you can get started peeling, coring and chopping your apples. Once this hard work’s done, melt the butter in a large pan, add the apples and water, then cover and leave to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes or until the apples are very soft. Once soft, pass the apples through a nylon sieve into another saucepan, add the apricot jam, sugar and lemon zest, and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/375F. By this point in time, your pastry should be properly chilled, so remove it from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the IMG_1912pastry out until it’s large enough to cover your flan tin, then transfer to the tin. Make sure the pastry is pressed snugly into the pastry case in the corners and on the sides, then cover with foil or greaseproof paper and line with baking beans (or rice or dried pasta). Bake ‘blind’ for 10-15 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

As you wait for your pastry and filling to cool, you’ll have time to peel and slice your eating apples. Once you’ve finished this, spoon the filling into the case and then arrange the apple slices on top. Brush the apples with lemon juice and sprinkle with caster sugar.  Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until the apples are IMG_1934tender and their edges are brown (during this process, you’ll want to keep an eye on the apples – if they get too dark too early, lower the oven temperature slightly).

About 5 minutes before the tart’s due to come out of the oven, heat the apricot jam and pass through a sieve. Once the tart’s been taken out, brush the apples with the apricot jam, then leave to cool completely.

Serve either warm (with ice cream) or cold (with a cup of freshly brewed coffee) and pretend – just for a moment – you’re in Paris.

This recipe was taken from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook.
For more Mary Berry inspiration, visit her facebook page and website.

2 thoughts on “French Apple Tart

    1. Je ne sais pas pourquoi exactement, seulement que c’est le nom en Angleterre… Mais c’est tres délicieux donc je pense que ce dois être française…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s