This is the second of the dishes that I made for the Autumn Fruits Cookalong on 1st October. Apple tarts are one of my favourite desserts and to my mind, the best tart of all is the French apple tart or Tarte Aux Pommes, with it's beautiful concerntric circles of apples, that I've still not mastered, as you'll see in the pictures.
This recipe is from Raymond Blanc, but he claims that it is "Maman Blanc's" recipe. Either way, it's a delicious way to end an autumn meal.
The first step to this recipe is to make the pastry. This is a richer version than my own short crust recipe as it has egg added to it. However, the method is almost the same.
Measure the flour into a bowl, add the butter in small squares.
Using the tips of your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the water and the egg to the mixture.
Work together with your hands gently until the mixture has just come together into a dough.
Tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead with the palm of your hand for about 30 secs until the dough feels smooth. Flatten the dough out to about 1 cm thickness.
Place the pastry between two sheets of cling film and put it into the fridge for 30 mins.
While the pastry is chilling, grease your tart tin thoroughly. As I've mentioned before I like to use old butter wrappers for this as it's a good way to use up the left over butter.
After 30 mins, remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out between the two sheets of cling flim until it's big enough to fill the tart tin.
Remove the top layer of cling film and carefully lift the pastry into the tart tin so that the remaining cling film is facing upwards. Remove the second sheet of cling film but keep it to one side.
Tuck the pastry into the edges of the tin and fill up and gaps with any overhanging pastry. Trim off any remaining pastry.
Prick all over the bottom of the pastry case with a fork, this prevents air pockets forming underneath and pushing up the pastry during baking. Cover over with the sheet of cling film that you retained and put back into the fridge for another 20 mins.
While the pastry is chilling, preheat the oven to 220°C and prepare your apples.
First peel the apples, then quarter and core them. Finally cut them into thin slices. Put the apples to one side till you need them.
Make the filling for the tart just before the casing is ready to come out of the fridge. Put 15g of the sugar, butter, lemon juice into a pot and gently heat.
When the sugar has completely melted, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the brandy (or calvados). Set to one side.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge and arrange the apple slices in concentric circles, starting from the outside and working your way in.
Pour the brandy the mixture over the apples and brush evenly across the top. Put the tart into the oven for 10 mins.
After 10 mins reduce the temperature of the oven down to 200°C and bake for a further 20 mins.
While the tart is baking, make up the filling for the final stage of the tart. First, put the remaining 50g of sugar, eggs and cream into a bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Put to one side until the tart comes out of the oven.
After the 20 mins the pastry should have turned a pale gold colour and the apples should be caramelised. Remove the tart from the oven. Sprinkle the tart with a tablespoon of the sugar and pour over the egg and cream mixture.
Put the tart back into the oven for 10 - 15 mins until the filling has just set and the top has turned a golden brown colour.
Leave the tart to stand for hour to cool. Serve with a little cream.