October 18, 2009

French Apple Tarts

TM Apple Tarts

MUNCH RATING: 4/5

These tarts look really pretty and elegant and are tasty to boot! The filling is frangipane, but it doesn’t taste too strongly of almonds which is what puts me off things like Bakewell Tart.

These taste great on their own, but would be even better with some custard or home-made ice cream.

  • Makes: 12 tarts
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C
  • You will need: a 12 cup shallow bun tray

Ingredients for the pastry:
  • 185g (6.5oz) plain flour
  • 15g (½oz) sugar
  • 90g (3.5oz) butter, cut roughly into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-3 Tablespoons of water

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 90g (3.5oz) butter, softened
  • 90g (3.5oz) sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 level Tablespoons flour
  • 90g (3.5oz) ground almonds
  • 2 small dessert/eating apples
  • hot apricot jam to glaze

Directions for the pastry:
  1. Sift the flour onto a board and make a well in the centre.
  2. Put the sugar, butter and egg yolk in the well and gently mix in with the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add about 1 Tablespoon of the water and bring the dough together gradually - don't try and force it together, just add a little more water. Knead very lightly until you have a smooth dough.
  4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board until it is about 3mm thick.
  5. Using a cutter that is a little bigger than the holes in your bun tray, cut out 12 discs of pastry. Line your bun tray, prick the bases with a fork and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. Bake at Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C for about 15 minutes until light golden brown and the cases can be removed from the tin (but don’t remove them as you need to cook the filling!).

Directions for the filling:
  1. Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, add the egg yolk and beat well.
  2. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour and ground almonds.
  3. Put roughly a heaped teaspoon of the filling into each pastry case, but don’t overfill them.
  4. Peel the apples, cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut them into very thin slices but keep them together. Press the apple slices down on the board to fan them out, but still keep them together. Carefully place a few slices of apple onto each tart and press down into the filling.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the apples are tender and the almond mixture has set.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Brush the tops with hot apricot glaze.

COOK’S NOTES:
  • Making individual tarts, you will have some pastry and filling leftover.
  • If you wanted to make one large tart: you would need to blind bake the pastry using baking beans for about 20 minutes. After adding the filling and apples, bake the tart at Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • Choosing a cutter: my bun tins were 7cm in diameter, so I used a cutter that was 7.8cm in diameter, which was a perfect fit.
  • Preparing in advance: you can make the pastry and the filling the night before and store covered in the fridge. Follow the pastry directions up to Step 5 but cover with cling film to stop it drying out. It is actually better for the pastry to be cooked from chilled (prevents it from shrinking), so you can pop the whole tray straight in the oven when you’re ready to cook.

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