Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Tarte Aux Pommes

I saw the beautiful produce for sale from Batlow Apples at Eveleigh Markets this Saturday and I knew I had to make something with them. It's been a while since I'd made sweet pastry but I was relatively happy with how it turned out. Overall, however, the recipe does need a little tweaking - it's not quite perfect, yet!

I got my recipe for the sweet paste from the ABC website, from Stefano di Pieri's book, A Feast By The River. I do have an excellent and reliable recipe of my own which I think originates from the Roux Brothers but I've left it at work.

Sweet Paste
200g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
300g Plain Flour

Cream the butter and sugar together, before mixing in the egg and finally folding in the sifted flour. Try not to overwork the pastry. I did. Anyway, mix it all together well then cling-wrap it and leave to rest in the fridge for a good half hour. Then roll out to your desired thickness, and carefully put into your buttered flan tin. Rest again in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This helps to avoid shrinkage.

Tarte aux Pommes
I pretty much made this up as I went along, hence why it's not perfect.

About 9 Apples - I used Royal Gala this time, beautifully sweet and juicy.
Golden Syrup
Calvados (Apple brandy) - If unavailable, another liqueur or brandy will do

Peel and roughly dice 5 apples, throw into a little bubbling butter with a cinnamon stick and some vanilla. Maybe use an empty vanilla pod that you'd scaped for something else. (I didn't have any cinnamon, vanilla, or brandy this time). Put a lid on the pan a stew until very soft. Stir occasionally to make sure the apples aren't sticking. If you use cooking apples, such as bramley, they may need a little extra sugar but sweet apples like the Royal Galas definitely don't. When they're well cooked, remove the lid and allow the apple mixture to dry out a little, before pouring in the brandy (a good splash). It's up to you if you want to actually puree the apples but I'm happy to have it a little bit lumpy and rustic.

Now start blind baking your pastry (at 190°C), and slice the rest of your apples thinly. You can leave the skin on if you like. You could saute the apple slices in butter if you like, I might try it next time. When your pastry is ready, egg-wash the whole thing and put it back in the oven for thirty seconds - this will help to waterproof the it, so the puree doesn't make it soggy. Remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon from your puree and pour into the base. Your puree should be about as dry as you can get it, without letting it catch in the pan and burn. Neatly arrange your sliced apple over the top of the puree and back into the oven to cook through, still at 190°.

I hadn't sauteed the apple slices beforehand so I pressed some greaseproof paper over the tart middle, so that the apple slices would cook faster in the steam from the puree - especially since I'd over-blind-baked my pastry. (It's just mistake after mistake with me!).

Just before it comes out of the oven, you need to glaze your tart. The way my mum used to do it, she'd use warmed apricot jam to get a fantastic shiny stickiness to the top of the tart, but I tried it with Golden Syrup, heated with a little butter. I think maybe it didn't need the butter and I should have gone for straight Syrup.

Anyway, end result was pretty good - my flatmates and Red all loved it.Overall I was happy with balance - lots of apple but still a good contrast in texture with the pastry. I find all to often with store-bought tarts there's a thick wedge of pastry and barely any apple.

You can see some of the juice bleeding out of the tart here, but I think that was because I sliced it hot - when it was cool, the moisture stayed in the fruit. I reckon I actually prefer it cold anyway.


  1. Yummy! I love baked apples in desserts. Yes I agree with the store bought tarts comment - always too high on the pastry to filling ratio, it's awesome when you find a place that does it just right =) Or else just making your own would suffice =p

  2. Looks good enough to me, even if you say it needs tweaking

  3. Nice looking tarte aux pommes. Simple uncomplicated flavours. Recipes like this are timeless classics.

  4. salut Mark
    bravo d'avoir essayer d'écrire en français !! c'est super ! tout comme ta tarte aux pommes !! Il fait tres beau aujourd'hui à Paris
    Ciao Pierre


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