Oh I am so excited to tell you about our amazing new delivery here at Friendly Cottage..her name is Apple and she is the most gorgeous green Dutch bike with red & white polka dot pannier and basket liner. I found her in an adorable shop in Angel in London called Bobbins.
So far I'm loving cycling her around Dublin. Today we (that's Apple & I!) even came across a cute little girls cake sale on our street and bought some delicious goodies. There's none left to share with you, sorry, but here's a yummy apple tart recipe you might like to try...
APPLE & ALMOND TART
This might seem like a bit of a lengthy recipe but you can make the pastry in advance and keep it in the fridge for a couple of days or freezer for a few months. Or if you are a total domestic goddess you could even have the tart case already baked blind in advance and again stored in the fridge or freezer.
SWEET SHORTCRUST PASTRY
150g unsalted butter + extra for greasing
225g plain flour + extra for dusting
75g icing sugar
1 whole egg + the yolk from another
200ml apple juice
100g caster sugar
4 eating apples
100g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
25g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 vanilla pod
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Make the pastry, firstly gathering all the ingredients. Weigh out the flour and butter and tip them into a food processor. Whizz them together to give fine crumbs while weighing out the icing sugar. Tip that in and pulse again briefly. Next add the whole egg and seperate the second egg to give the egg yolk, adding that too and blitz again to bring the mixture together to form a dough. (Use the leftover egg white as part of the mixture for an omelette or quiche or of course for meringues). Remove from the processor and knead on a lightly floured surface into a smooth ball. Flatten into a disc, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, have a clear down (you will need the processor bowl and blade again so wash, dry and set this back up) and gather the ingredients for the apples. Measure the apple juice, out and pour into a wide pan. Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice in also (watching out for any pips). Place the pan on a medium hob heat and then weigh the sugar out, adding that too. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, core the apples and cut each one into 6 wedges. Add the wedges to the syrup and reduce the heat to poach gently for about 6-8 minutes until just tender. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon onto a plate and leave to cool. Simmer the remaining syrup until thickened, syrupy and reduced to about 6-8 tablespoons. Leave both aside.
Again, have a clear down and then lightly grease a fluted 23cm tart tin that is 2.5cm deep, placing it on a baking sheet. Returning to the pastry roll it out on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm thick and wide enough to line the tin. Carefully lift it into the tin, pressing the edges down and leaving excess pastry hanging over the edge. Refrigerate again for about another 20 minutes.
In this time, have a clear down again before weighing out the butter for the frangipane, tipping it into the processor and leaving it at room temperature to soften. Put the oven on to preheat to 180C (Gas Mark 4). Then sit down for a cup of tea, run the hoover around the house or whatever else can be done in the remaining time.
After this time, remove the pastry case from the fridge, line it with a piece of parchment paper and then fill it with baking beans (or dried pulses which you can reuse for this purpose over and over again). Leave to bake for 15 minutes (this is baking blind).
In this time, make the frangipane filling. weigh out the icing sugar and add it to the now softened butter already set in the processor. Blend them together until really smooth and pale, scraping down the sides if necessary. Meanwhile, weigh out the flour and almonds and add them too, pulsing to blend in. With the motor running crack each egg in one at a time until blended. Split the vanilla pod in half, scrape the seeds out and add to the mixture along with the cinnamon, giving everything a last blitz together. (Pop the remains of the vanilla pod in a jar of caster sugar for delicious vanilla sugar).
Once the tart case has cooked for 15 minutes it should look pale in colour and be just beginning to set. Remove the paper and baking beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, allowing the base to set a little. Have a clear down again and have everything ready for assembling. Take the tart case out again and leave to cool a little.
To assemble, firstly neaten the pastry edges by carefully trimming the excess pastry off with a sharp knife. Spoon the frangipane filling into the case, spreading it evenly. Arrange the apple wedges in whatever pattern you like on top, keeping them in a single layer and pressing them down just slightly. Return the tart to the oven for a final bake of about 30 minutes while you have a final clear up and then head off for a cat nap.
Once cooked the tart should be set through and golden brown on top so remove it from the oven. The reserved apple syrup will probably have set a little too much by now so return it to a low heat to loosen it up. Brush the syrup all over the top of the tart, reserving a little to serve with it. Either leave to cool a little or completely before serving with some ice cream, custard or softly whipped cream.