Toffee Apple and Raisin Tart

Caramelised apples, toffee sauce, sweet crumbly pastry. What’s not to like? This is a wonderfully sumptuous tart, but still quite rustic. It takes a while to make, but worth every minute.

Makes: 10 – 12 slices

Time: 2 – 2½ hours + chilling time

Level: Probably a step up from “Easy”

Equipment: A 23cm/9” loose bottomed fluted tart tin

Credits: Adapted from a “Love Food” recipe in “Baking: 100 Everyday Recipes”

Pastry Ingredients

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 200g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g ground almonds

Filling Ingredients

  • 1.3kg Firm apples (ideally eating apples, or cooking apples with extra sugar later)
  • Lemon juice (enough to sprinkle over the cut apples to avoid them going brown)
  • About 40 – 50g unsalted butter
  • 100g Soft light brown sugar
  • 20ml apple juice (or use water)
  • 100g raisins (or sultanas, if you prefer)
  • 210g granulated sugar
  • 80ml cold water
  • 150ml double cream

Directions

1. For the pastry, put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes to soften then add the sugar and vanilla. Beat some more, until well combined.

2. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time then stir in the flour, salt and ground almonds.

3. Lay out a piece of cling film nearby then briefly and lightly knead the dough, just enough to bring it together. Tip onto the cling film and use it to gently squeeze the dough into a flat round. Wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

4. Lightly butter the tart tin, paying attention to the indentations if it’s fluted.

5. Let the pastry come to room temperature then roll it out on lightly floured work surface and line the tin with it. (NB It’s a very rich pastry dough and breaks very easily. Laying a sheet of cling film over it when using a rolling pin may help. You may also need to do a lot of “patching” within the tin, so don’t discard any pieces of the dough. Use a small ball of spare dough, floured, to push the rest into the corners.)

6. Roll the rolling pin over the edge of the tin to remove any excess dough neatly. Put the tart tin and dough into the fridge again for 20 – 30 minutes to firm up. During this time turn the oven on to 190C/Fan 170C/375F/Gas 5.

7.  Line the tart case with crumpled baking parchment and fill with dried beans or similar. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tin to the oven for a further 5 or 6 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, peel and core four of the apples and cut into slices. Try to get 10 – 12 from each apple, but not too thin. Coat them in the lemon juice.

9. Melt the butter in a medium sized frying pan and sauté the apple slices until they begin to caramelise and brown at the edges. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

10. Peel, core and dice the rest of the apples and put them in a large saucepan with the soft light brown sugar, the apple juice and the raisins. Cook for about 20 minutes until soft.

11. Pour the mixture into a sieve, but retain the liquid; you may need to bolster the liquid content later.

12. Put the softened apples and raisins into a mixing bowl and mash lightly, just to break them up. We don’t want a puree. If necessary, put the mixing bowl into a sink of cold water to cool the contents.

13. When cool, pour or spoon the mashed apple mixture into the pastry case and arrange the reserved apple pieces on top in a circle. Bake for about 30 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pastry in case it begins to burn or darken too much. Be ready to turn down the temperature and/or cover the tart with foil.

14. Towards the end of the baking period, make the toffee sauce. Put the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. If necessary, use a pastry brush to brush down any sugar granules on the side of the saucepan.  

15. Boil to form a caramel. Don’t stir the sugar, just swirl the saucepan gently to move the contents around a little. Keep a close eye on it as it could suddenly become “overdone”. When it’s a nice light caramel colour take the pan off the heat and add the cream, stirring quickly and constantly to combine into toffee.

16. Remove the tart from the oven if you haven’t already done so and pour the toffee sauce over the apples. As soon as the tart has cooled place it in the fridge for at least an hour.