This is one of those tarts that looks rather ordinary, but when you take a bite ….Wow. The taste and texture are fantastic. The combination of apple and white chocolate could cause something of a flavour eureka moment. To use a literary analogy, this is one book you definitely must not judge by its cover. Taste and see.
Makes: 10 – 12 slices
Time: 1hr 40min + cooling/chilling time
Equipment: A 23cm/9” flan tin, ideally with a loose bottom
- 200g/7oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 35g/1.25oz icing sugar
- 130g/4.75oz unsalted butter, cold & diced
- 1 egg yolk (keep the egg white, you could use it later)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp chilled water
- dash of lemon juice
- Optional extra items to brush on the pastry case interior: 30g/1oz white chocolate OR the reserved egg white OR some crumbled biscuits
1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl then stir in the icing sugar. Rub in the butter. In another bowl, mix together the egg yolk, vanilla, chilled water and lemon juice.
2. Add most of the liquid to the dry mixture and mix to form a smooth dough. If it seems too dry then use the rest of the liquid plus a little more if necessary. Tip onto cling film and flatten into a rough disc shape. Chill for 20 – 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. While the pastry is chilling you could make the filling, or you may prefer to wait. See below for instructions for the filling.
4. Take the chilled pastry out of the fridge then roll it out between two sheets of cling film. (Doing it this way avoids adding more flour, but give the top sheet of cling film a few lifts during rolling.)
5. When you’re happy with the size and thickness of the pastry, peel off the upper sheet of cling film and set aside to use later. Using the bottom sheet of cling film, carefully invert the rolled out pastry into the flan tin and gently press it in. Once the dough is snugly in the flan tin, trim the edges using a knife, or press down on the edge with your fingers to remove excess pastry. Do not remove the cling film, instead double the thickness by adding the reserved sheet that you set aside. These will be used for the blind baking stage.
6. If time allows, place the unbaked pastry case in the fridge to rest and chill again. If you’re in more of a hurry go straight to blind baking. First set your oven to 180C/160 fan/350F/Gas 4.
7. Lift the cling film and prick the pastry case bottom a few times with a fork then fill the double layer of cling film with baking beans, rice or whatever else you use for blind baking. Place in the heated oven for 12 – 15 minutes.
8. Remove the cling film and beans. You may want to treat the interior before returning the pastry case to the oven for a further 7 – 10 minutes. To be absolutely sure to avoid a soggy bottom one suggestion is to brush the interior with an egg wash, or you could utilise the spare egg white from earlier.
8A.Two other suggestions for avoiding a soggy bottom are below. These can be done just before adding the filling and baking.
i) brush melted white chocolate over the interior of the baked pastry case.
ii) OR Scatter finely crumbled biscuits over the interior before adding filling.
9. If you haven’t already done so, now make the filling.
- 2 – 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 or 2 tbsp golden caster sugar (more, if the apples are tart)
- A splash of apple juice (or use water)
- 100g/3,5oz white chocolate, chopped into chunks
- 1 egg
- 75ml/2.5fl oz – 100ml/3.5fl oz double cream
- Another apple, peeled, cored and sliced.
- Grated nutmeg (optional)
To make the filling
10. Cook and soften the diced apples in a saucepan over a low to medium heat with the caster sugar and a splash of apple juice or water – about 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the apples to the consistency that you want – or just leave them chunky, without mashing.
11. Remove from heat then strain off any liquid. Stir in the chocolate pieces until fully melted into the apple mixture. Set aside to cool a little.
12. Beat the egg and mix with the double cream. Pour the egg and cream mixture into the cooled apple mixture and stir it all together. Use this mixture to fill the pastry case.
13. Add slices of the last apple onto the top. Sprinkle with soft brown sugar or demerara and add the nutmeg, if using.
14. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes. Be ready to cover with foil if the pastry edges darken too much.
15. Leave in the tin for a while until it firms up. (After ten minutes, it could go in the fridge for a while) Then dust with icing sugar, cut and serve. Better still, cut and eat.
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