A delicious buttery sweet shortcrust pastry case, filled with frangipane, and topped with apples. Perfect served hot or cold, you’ll find it hard just to have one slice.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you might already know the past couple of weeks I’ve been back in Hong Kong visiting Andy after 6 long weeks apart. At the risk of sounding soppy, I have to admit its been absolutely bloody brilliant. You almost forget how much you miss in a relationship when you’re 8000 miles apart. The once a day 40 minute phone call becomes the defining point of your relationship, and you focus so much on fitting it into the day the things you would normally be doing if you lived in the same time zone become a blur.
Coming back to Hong Kong was strange, exactly like coming home, except without anywhere to live, and without anything to ground me to the place. The city drew me straight back in, and would have had me falling head over heels back in love with her were it not for one thing; the weather. I landed last Saturday, case packed full of summer dresses, bikinis and flip flops, through a thick bank of dark clouds, onto a very grey, very wet tarmac. The rain has hardly let up since. Out are all hopes of lazy days spent on the outlying islands, sipping chilled beers and grazing on fresh seafood. Instead my days have been filled with exploring obscure museums I never found time or inclination to see when I actually lived here, and wandering around far out neighbourhoods, jumping over puddles, dodging lethal eye height umbrellas, and fat heavy rain drops.
Despite the fact its nearly June, the weather has me craving comfort food. Comfort food Hong Kong style; noodles deftly spooned from bowls of steaming broth; sticky, glistening beads of rice; clay pots filled with vegetables in savoury, meaty sauce; rich fiery curries moped up with fluffy, doughy naan. Then, occasionally, tastes of comfort from home. Flakey chicken and ale pies, served with extra gravy; hot plum crumbles, or a generous slice of tart.
Its been a while since I’ve made a proper tart. One with a proper shortcrust pastry case. This tart is the way that all tarts should be. Flavoursome, comforting, homey without being stodgy. Perfect served warm with a scoop of ice cream, or cold with clotted cream. A nostalgic kind of tart, a taste of home and childhood.
This tart is a delicious. Its base is a wonderful, flakey crust of sweet shortcrust pastry. Next is thick, indulgent layer of frangipane, and beautifully caramelised apples fanned out on top. These apples glisten with jam, making the tart just a little sticky; a lovely end to each melting, moreish mouthful.
I adore the addition of frangipane. Almonds are one of my favourite ingredients to add to bakes, and the sweet, smooth frangipane sets off the apples perfectly.
The recipe comes from Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds. A book I never intended to buy, but bought on a whim one afternoon in WhSmiths, when it had a shiny offer sticker on its cover. I am so glad I bought it. Its a book I come back to again and again, its recipes always work perfectly, guiding step by step through the trickier aspects of pastry whilst keeping a constant firm grasp on flavour. For anyone starting out with pastry, or unsure of the basics, this is a book I’d recommend reading. Its step by step pictures of each pastry technique really demystifies the processes involved. I’ve barely changed the recipe at all, except to top it with my favourite apple jam.
Its perfect just the way it is, you’ll find it so hard to resist coming back for slice after slice.
– I used apple jam to glaze the tart, but you can use the more traditional apricot jam if you prefer.
– Take care when lifting the pastry as it is prone to ripping and tearing. Very carefully lift it onto a rolling pin and spread it out across your tart.
- ---- for the pastry
- 200g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 medium egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons very cold water
- ---- for the frangipane
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 50g plain flour
- 75g ground almonds
- 1 - 2 drops almond extract
- ---- for the apples
- 3 medium eating apples
- 15g cold butter
- 1½ tablespoons caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons apple or apricot jam
- Begin by making the pastry.
- Weigh the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and mix together. Add the cubed butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your finger tips until the mixture is the texture of bread crumbs.
- In a separate bowl of cup, add the egg, lemon juice, and cold water. Lightly whisk together.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the beaten egg mixture. Using one hand, bring the ingredients together. When it begins to come together, knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / 392F. Put a baking tray into the oven to heat.
- Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thickness. Carefully line a 25cm loose bottomed tart tin. Trim the edges, and prick the base of the pastry with a fork.
- Make the frangipane. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat to combine. Add the flour, ground almonds, and almond extract, and beat until all the ingredients are fully combined. Spread evenly over the base of the pastry.
- Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Lay them over the frangipane in over-lapping circles, working from the outside. Dot with butter.
- Put on the hot tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. The apples will be starting to turn brown.
- Take the tart from the oven and sprinkle with the sugar. Put back in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until the sugar has melted and caramelised.
- While its still hot, heat the apple or apricot jam in a pan with a splash of water. Brush the warm jam over the apples.
- Cool completely.