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christmas week 2015 - tarte aux pommes

Welcome to Day 2 of Christmas week. Now this recipe for a French apple tart from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook is an oldie but a goodie. I think I first made this tart when I was about 15 and made it regularly for a very long time as it's both simple and delicious. I haven't made it in ages and the recipe has remained in my 'to make again' pile for a very long time. 

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The filling is made from apples cooked slowly over a low heat with some lemon juice, sugar and butter then topped with thinly sliced apples just before baking. I've heavily reduced the sugar in the filling as our tastes have changed greatly since the recipe was first published. If you're planning to make this for Christmas, you can prepare most of the elements before hand and bake it the on the day or even the day before if you wish. If you make the tart the day before, I'd hold off applying the glaze until just before serving time.

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I've used my go-to almond shortcrust pastry but if making pastry from scratch gives you the heebie jeebies, then just buy some all butter short crust pastry to make the tart shell. 

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The original recipe made a 7 inch tart and I used the same quantities for my rectangular tart. Here's the recipe for you, which should serve 4 - 6 hungry people. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 



Tarte aux Pommes

Pastry
110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

Filling
5-6 medium sized cooking apples
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tbl butter

Topping
2 medium sized cooking apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 extra tablespoon sugar

Apricot Glaze

½ cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon water

Pastry

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade.

Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use greaseproof paper) and roll out thinly with a rolling pin before lining the tin. Prick the base of the flan with a fork then put a piece of baking in the flan case and fill with dried beans or pastry weights to prevent the pastry shrinking. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beans,
return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the pastry starts to colour.

Filling

To make the filling, peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice roughly and put into a saucepan with a tablespoon of water, the sugar, vanilla and butter. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender. Raise heat to a boil and stir until the mixture is thick enough to hold in a mass in the spoon. I cooked my apples for close to an hour. Using a stick blender roughly puree the filling. Taste and add more sugar if not sweet enough then spread the apple into the pastry shell.

Topping
Peel and core the apples and slice very thinly. Sprinkle with lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar and arrange the slices in a pattern on top of the apple pulp. Bake in a moderately hot oven (190°C/375°F) for about 30 minutes until the apples are tender and browned slightly. Slide onto a rack or serving dish and brush top and pastry with the apricot glaze. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream. Serves 4 - 6.

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Apricot Glaze

Combine the jam and water in a small saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring until dissolved. Pass the mixture through a wire sieve, then return the mixture to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook gently until the glaze is clear and the desired consistency is reached.



I had a slice with a little cream and it was absolutely delicious. Who would have thought such a simple filling of apples, sugar and lemon could be so tasty?

Bye for now,

Jillian
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