When it comes to dinner party recipes, you can't go wrong with a classic French tart for dessert - easy and quick to make, it stretches really far too.
- For the pastry:
- 150g (5oz) plain flour, sifted
- 50g (2oz) icing sugar, sifted
- pinch of salt
- 75g (3oz) unsalted butter, diced
- For the filling:
- 900g (2lb) Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 50g (2oz) unsalted butter
- 50g (2oz) caster sugar
- zest and juice 1/2 lemon
- For the topping:
- 250g (9oz) Golden Delicious apples (around 4)
- 25g (1oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 1tsp caster sugar
- For the glaze:
- 3tbsp apricot jam, warmed and sieved
- For the caramel sauce:
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 150ml (¼pt) double cream
- 15g (½oz) unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- creme fraiche, to serve
- You will need:
- 1 x rectangular tart tin measuring 34 x 12cm
To make the pastry, place the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor, add the diced butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Place in a bowl and add enough chilled water to form a dough. Knead for a couple of minutes, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook very gently for 20 minutes, or until the apples have become soft and mushy. Remove the lid and continue to cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the apple purée is very thick. Beat the purée until very smooth and leave on one side to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200 C, 180 fan C, 400 F, gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and line the tart tin with it. Line the pastry with nonstick baking paper or foil, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the pastry is pale golden and dried out.
Place the apple purée in the baked pastry case and level the surface. To make the topping, peel, quarter and core the dessert apples and slice very thinly. Arrange in slightly overlapping lines over the purée, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle on the caster sugar. Return to the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the pastry and the edges of the apples are lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly, then brush with the sieved apricot jam.
To make the caramel sauce, place the caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and dissolve over a low heat. Then boil rapidly until it has turned a rich caramel colour. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream then the butter and salt. Return to a low heat until the caramel has dissolved. Leave to cool before serving with the tart and a dollop of creme fraiche.