13 September 2015

French Apple Tart


Homemade shortcrust pastry filled with a apple compote and topped with sliced apples. 



Hello! It feels like it has been such a l-o-n-g week, last Wednesday feels like a decade ago. After Monday to Friday spent working and Saturday spent in Edinburgh, dropping my sister of at University for her first day, today was well spent baking...And working again. 

This week on the Bake Off, it was pastry week with the bakers tackling frangipane tarts, a Cypriot technical challenge of Flaounes and a showstopper of 48 bitesized vol-au-vents , this was one challenging week. As I am continuing baking along with the signature challenge, this week I was supposed to make a frangipane tart however, I hate frangipane! Instead, I made this delicious french apple tart, perfect for autumn.



I love apple tarts, especially french ones. The contrast of the crumbly pastry with the smooth apple compote and apple slices is divine paired with some fromage frais. What makes this tart so tasty is the homemade pastry. Have you ever looked at the ingredients in regular shortcrust pastry? It is full of margarines, emulsifiers and preservatives, not what you ideally want to be eating. Homemade pastry is so easy to make as well as being tastier and better for you, even though it does contain butter!

A good pastry is only made from a couple of ingredients, flour, butter, an egg yolk and a splash of water. As there are so few ingredients, I recommend that you buy good quality ingredients such as local flour, organic fresh butter and organic eggs (I have my own chickens in the garden!). 



For the apple filling, I chose to make a compote as I love the way apples cook down to become almost caramelised in flavour. A common question I get asked is which apples should I be using in recipes. To be honest, I use royal gala apples in nearly all of my recipes however, today I wanted more of a tart flavour. 

I used Braeburn apples as even though they are an eating apple, they pack a serious lip-puckering flavour. Also, I have a Braeburn apple tree in the garden so it was good to use up those wind-fall apples. If you can't find any Braeburns, I would recommend a Granny Smith apple or another tart variety. 



If you are like me and love apples, this tart is so for you with the delicate apple flavours. Apples are such a common fruit in autumnal baking, used in muffins and in cakes but in this tart, apple is the true superstar. Enjoyed at room temperature with a steaming cup of tea and a good book, this is the perfect way to rewind at the end of the day. Also, making the tart is therapeutic too. 

As I am addicted to tea, today I tried a new type called White Orchard Tea. It was a white tea with melon and peach flavours and it was utterly divine. I normally don't like fruit teas as they always smell better than they taste but this tea was delicious! 





Also, do you like my new spatula? It is so cute, I found it in a charity shop, still in its packet!

I hope you enjoy this French Apple Tart, I sure did with is simplistic yet heartwarming flavours. 

If you do decide to make this tart or anything else on my blog, I would love to see it. Simply share your baking, using the tag #bakingtheday so I can see all of your gorgeous creations. 

qotd -  London, New York or Vegas? (yes, I may be watching Friends again for the bajillionth time) 

French Apple Tart
Posted by Eve 
Makes 1 tart 
Ingredients 

For the pastry 

  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g cold butter, cubed  
  • 1 free range and/or organic egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. water 
For the compote filling 

  • 2 cooking or tart apples, I used Braeburn 
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon - optional
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice - optional
For the apple topping 

  • 2-3 eating apples, I used gala 
  • 2 tbsp. apricot jam 
  • 1 tbsp. water 
Method 

  1. First, make the pastry. Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub in with your fingertip until it is the texture of breadcrumbs. Whisk together the egg yolk and water in a cup and pour it into the butter and flour. Mix with your hands until a dough forms, don't over work it! Wrap in cling film and leave to chill while you make the compote. 
  2. For the compote, peel and chop the apples and put into saucepan with the remaining compote ingredients. Cook on a medium heat until the apples are soft and broken down. Put the compote into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until cold. 
  3. Once the compote is cool, let bake. Preheat the oven to 170c/ 160c fan/ gas mark 4. Grease a 18cm fluted tart tin with a smidgen of butter
  4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until is it 1/4-1/2 centimeter thick. Line the prepared tin with the pastry and trim the edges and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Once chilled, line the pastry with parchment paper and a weigh such as dried beans or rice and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and bake again for 5-8 minute until golden. Cool for 5 minutes. 
  6. Fill the pastry case with the apple compote. Peel and thinly slice the 2-3 apples and arrange on top. Bake the tart for 20-30 minutes until the apples are soft. Mix together the apricot jam and water and brush on top of the tart to create a glaze. Let the tart cool for an hour before removing for the tin and serving.


Enjoy!


Keep the tart covered at room temperature for a maximum of 3 days. 


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