Mother made lovely pastry but I didn’t learn to make it myself until I was on my own with a copy of French Country Cooking (Elizabeth David) and a Baby Belling. I used to choose the easy recipes, the ones which needed no baking beans and resting times and so I favoured Tarte aux Pommes (page 187). Apples are much sweeter now than they used to be and I have made a few changes over time. The quantities listed here are for a 30cm round shallow dish.
- Ingredients: For the pastry shell – 225g plain white flour, 115g butter, 1 tsp sugar, 1 small egg, half a lemon
- Filling: Four eating apples, one Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp butter, half a lemon, squeezed, cinnamon/allspice
- Glaze: a mixture of a little mashed apple, lemon and other fruit juice, sugar, butter
- Method: Sift the flour into a largish bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour with the sugar and lemon juice. Make a well in the mixture and add the egg, beaten. Bring it together with your hands gently. Add a little water if necessary. Roll out very gently on a cold floured surface and transfer into a greased tart or flan dish.
- Meanwhile slice the apples fairly thinly and sprinkle with lemon juice so they don’t go brown. I don’t peel apples but you can if you want to. That way the edges don’t burn. Put the apples in a non stick pan with a little butter and a shake of spice and cook them on a gentle heat for a few minutes, then leave to cool. Save the pan for the glaze.
- When cool, arrange the apples in overlapping slices around the pastry shell as neatly as you can. Ideally cover the dish with two layers of apples. Sprinkle the sugar through the layers. If you have any misshapes, put them underneath or save for the glaze.
- Cooking time 30-35 minutes at 160°C. If using a ceramic dish place it on a baking sheet in the oven.
While the tart is baking, make a quick glaze in the apple pan using any leftover apple slices, a little butter, sugar and fruit juice. Boil together until thickened and pour evenly over the tart. Best eaten cold with cream.