Friday, August 19, 2011

Normandy apple tart

750g apples (sweet apples with a tart quality, such as Cox's, are good; but even the dreaded Golden Delicious, provided their textures are not too mealy, would be fine)
Juice of 1 lemon
60g butter
4tbsps caster sugar

120g flour
60g butter
1dstsp caster sugar
Cold water

While in France, I cooked a good deal from Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking; but I sometimes had to adapt the recipes and techniques. For instance, she suggests that to cook apples in butter, you might put 2lbs (about 900g) of apples, sliced, into a large frying pan with 2oz (57g) of butter and three or four tbsps of caster sugar. This would be quite difficult to manage, because the apples would form several layers and would need to be stirred, under which treatment they might well break up. Though disliking fiddly operations, I cooked them in two batches.

Peel and slice the apples, and as you work toss them in the lemon juice in a bowl, to prevent discolouration. Melt 15g of the butter in a large frying pan over a gentle heat, and pack in a layer of apples. Scatter a tbsp of sugar over them. Cook them for about five minutes, turning once. They should be tender to the point of a knife, but not too soft to hold their shape. Repeat the process.

If, like me in France, you do not have a food processor, or if you prefer not to use one, grate the butter into the flour. Rub it in. Stir in the sugar. Add a tbsp of water, and bring the mixture together; gradually add more water until you have just enough to enable the dough to cohere.

Now, as David recommends, spread the dough by hand in your tart tin - mine was 28cms, and lightly oiled. At first, you may think you do not have enough, but you should find that it spreads out satisfactorily. Patch up any holes as you go.

Place a baking sheet in the oven, and pre-heat it to gas mark 6/200C.

You do not blind bake this pastry. Working outwards from the centre, arrange the apple slices in overlapping rings in the tart case. Place the tin on the baking sheet, and cook for about 30 minutes.

Melt the remaining 30g of butter in the frying pan, and pour it over the apples. Scatter the remaining sugar on top. Return the tart to the oven for about 3 minutes, or until golden.


Elena said...

This is different from how I know it. I'll try it Sunday for my parents and my daughters....

Nicholas Clee said...

Hope it works! Keep me posted.