Tuesday 18 November 2014

Parisian Apple Tart

This is autumnal baking at it's best and is inspired by one of my most favorite places on earth - Paris! Even though I've never properly been (except for Disneyland Paris which doesn't really count does it?!)  Anyway, there is something just so mystically enticing about the streets of Paris, mainly for the fact that I adore the countless French patisserie's on every street corner (which has got to be up there as the best type of shop ever invented!!) What's not to love about a French patisserie specializing in all things sweet?! 

I could just picture an apple tart like this one sitting in the front window to pull Parisians inside. (Not being cocky or anything about how good mine looks or anything! ppffftt) 

This apple tart is best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or perhaps a scoop of vanilla ice cream...the classics. NOT custard, as I don't like it, remember? If you don't happen to eat it all in one go, which is hard to imagine I know... then it will taste equally good the next day. Just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and bam it's ready to eat! 

My Parisian apple tart has a thin, sweet shortcrust pastry case (just as it should be) with a thin layer of sponge - which should traditionally be frangipane, but honestly I don't like that because just almonds are a no no. So I have to improvise with my trusty vanilla extract. However, if your thinking what the heck is she doing, then just use the god damn almond extract if you really want to. Then comes the star of the show...apples! I have decided that this works best with just your regular eating apple, as it's much less sour and tart, therefore less sugar is needed. Then to top it off, we have a caramel glaze which adds more sticky sweetness and gives an attractive shine to the apples. 

It is a makes a great pudding after a Sunday dinner!


For the pastry
200g plain flour
100g unsalted butter, cold
1 heaped tbsp of caster sugar
cold water

For the filling
75g self raising flour
75g margarine
75g caster sugar + 1 tbsp for sprinkling
1 egg
1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract or almond if you prefer
4 dessert apples
1 lemon- juiced

For the caramel glaze
35g demerara sugar
35g salted butter


Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ gas mark 6. To make your pastry in a food processor, cut your butter into cubes and add to the flour, pulse until you have fine breadcrumbs. Next, spoon in the sugar and pulse briefly, then add your water, a tablespoon full at a time so that you can stop when you notice that it has started to clump together. Bind with your hands until it comes to a mass and chill for 10 minutes to relax.

Roll out your pastry to a thickness where it is just big enough to line the base and sides or your tart tin. (I used a 10 inch tart tin.) Don't trim the edges of your pastry, instead leave it overhanging and this will avoid shrinkage. Dock the base with a fork and then cover with foil or baking parchment and fill with baking beans or rice. Blind bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil/paper and baking beans and bake for a further 10 mins or until it is dry and a very pale golden colour.

Meanwhile, to make the cake mixture, mix the self raising flour, margarine, caster sugar, egg and vanilla or almond extract in a bowl and cream to a smooth batter. 

Next prepare the apples. Wash, peel, core and chop the apples into fairly thin sliced segments. Put these into a bowl as go along with the lemon juice covering them to prevent browning. 

Once the pastry has blind baked, adjust the temperature of your oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ gas mark 4. Trim the overhanging edges so you get a nice, neat finish and pour the cake batter over the base, spreading out evenly. Next, arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern, starting from the centre and then working your way out to the edge. You may have to overlap them slightly, so that they completely cover the cake batter.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of caster sugar over the apple slices and then bake the tart in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or so that the apple has gained a bit of browning and the cake is cooked when a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. 

When the tart has just been removed from the oven you can make the sticky glaze. Heat the sugar and butter until the granules are completely dissolved over a low heat in a small saucepan. Allow the sugar and butter to boil once the sugar has dissolved which will just begin to thicken it slightly. Take it off the heat and immediately brush all over the apples. Then leave to cool slightly before serving.  

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