Saturday, 9 May 2015
The tart that makes you look pretty damn good when really you're just well read, resourceful and in a hurry: French Apple Tart (Tarte aux Pommes)
I know I would be a far better cook if I made my own puff pastry but the fact is, I am, essentially, lazy. And I buy loads of that lovely all butter French stuff when I go to France so why on earth would I bother? And, I wouldn't have been able to knock out this tart in the five minutes it took, if I had to spend God knows how long folding, rolling and resting, folding, rolling and resting....
I had a small two concerns: Is it wise to make a dessert that is more nuts than I am? I didn't think there was a major chance of anaphylaxis amongst our Sunday afternoon meal crowd (more like a Sunday soiree crowd in the end: note to self, don't open that wine you've been saving and drink two glasses of it without checking that you have actually put the oven on 'oven' instead of 'grill') and sometimes, people just don't like nuts, so I decided to have a reserve. And this was it. Once you've prepped the apples, five minutes will probably do it and with an apricot jam glaze, it looks like it's come straight out of a French patisserie window. And it tastes, and smells, sublime.
This was essentially sourced from Michel Roux Jnr's 'My Life in the Kitchen', which is current bedside reading, though there are a couple of little Lola and Finn's Mum twists, namely instead of creating an apple compote, I finished off a jar of apple sauce laced with calvados from Christmas that had been lurking at the back of the fridge by spreading it on the base of the tart. I then sprinkled a little sugar and cinnamon over the top of that before piling the apples neatly on top. With a bit of a flourish to adorn the surprisingly neat job I had made of the apples, I sprinkled a little more cinnamon over the top after I had brushed them with melted butter.
This was such a joyous dessert; and amazingly easy to
assemble make. And apples, sugar and flaky pastry is never, ever wrong. If you find yourself in a bit of a dessert bind, free yourself with this beautiful thing...
French Apple Tart, adapted from 'My Life in the Kitchen' by Michel Roux Jnr
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum, Dad and four others
1 box of ready rolled all butter puff pastry
2 to 3 tbsp. of apple compote/apple sauce
1/2 - 1tsp of sugar to taste.
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 to 4 cox or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced very thinly (put the slices into acidulated water whilst prepping the pastry to prevent the slices turning brown).
20g melted butter
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
beaten egg, to glaze before baking.
2 tbsp. of apricot jam, warmed, to glaze the tart
Unroll the pastry and cut a circle, using a dinner plate to cut around. Crimp the pastry to create an edge and then turn the pastry over. Apparently according to Michel Roux Jnr, this helps the layers to puff better, and let's face it, if anyone is going to know, it's him.
Dock the pastry with a fork.
Spoon the compote/sauce over the base of the pastry, leaving about a centimetre around the edge of the pastry.
Sprinkle over the sugar and the cinnamon over the compote.
Arrange the apples in neat circles on top of the compote, maintaining the centimetre around the edge of the tart.
Brush the apples with melted butter and sprinkle a little more sugar and cinnamon over the apples if desired. (I tasted the apples to see how they were sour they were; that determined my decision).
Brush the edge of the tart with the egg wash and place on the preheated tray. Bake in the oven for about 20/25 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden, the apples yield easily to the tip of a knife and are starting to colour a little.
Leave to cool somewhat, then glaze with the warmed apricot jam.
I served this with homemade vanilla ice cream because I like to show off.