Bramley Apple Tart

Apple tart

This recipe shows that Bramley apples don't have to turn to 'mush' when cooked. The apples stay in well defined pieces. It makes a nice change from apple pie and is elegant enough for that 'more refined' occasion! That is, for those of you who have 'more refined' occasions! We had one once; I think it was in 1976!

For the pastry
8 oz plain flour
5 oz butter (or ½ butter, ½ lard)
1 oz - 4 oz sugar (I used 1 oz)
a pinch of salt
1 egg
milk (if needed)

For the Pastry Cream
½ pint milk
½ vanilla pod
2 oz sugar
1 oz plain flour
1 egg
pinch of custard powder (optional)

For the filling
2½ lb Bramley apples
2 oz sugar

To finish
1 Tbsp apricot jam
2 teasp water

Prepare the oven: put the oven on to heat at 190°C and put a heavy baking sheet in it to warm.

Make the pastry: rub the fat into the flour, add the sugar and salt, and then mix in the egg and a little milk (if required) to make a smooth pastry. You can do this easily in a food processor.

Make the Pastry cream: Heat the milk and vanilla pod to just below boiling point. In a bowl, mix the egg, flour, custard powder and sugar together. Pour half the hot liquid into the egg mixture whisking it as you do so. Return this to the pan and gently heat it back up stirring/whisking as you do so to avoid it sticking to the pan as it thickens. When it boils remove it from the heat and pour it into a clean bowl. Whisk to remove any lumps (sieve if necessary) and cover the surface of the cream with a butter paper or cling-film. Place on a rack to cool. It needs air circulation around and under it otherwise it will sour.

Line a pastry case: grease an 8 inch loose bottomed flan tin and line it with pastry. (There will be quite a bit left over for making tarts etc). Prick the bottom all over with a fork.

Prepare the apples: peel and core the apples, halve or quarter and cut into thin slices - if you can't do this quickly, put the sliced pieces into water to which you've added a squeeze of lemon juice.

Assemble the flan: spread about ¾ of the pastry cream into the flan case, mounding it in the middle. Drain and dry the apples and arrange them in overlapping circles on the pastry cream working from the outside, sprinkling the sugar between the layers. Reduce the size of each layer to make a 'pyramid' working towards the middle.

Cook: Put on to the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven and cook for 30 - 40 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and a skewer will go through the apple easily. Remove and place on a baking rack to cool.

Glaze: heat the jam and water and mix together. Brush over the partially cooled tart to glaze and allow to cool fully.

Apple tart

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