Tarte aux Pommes Normande – Open Apple Tart

La Tarte Aux Normande

My mum’s apple pie was the perfect way to end a Sunday roast. As were her apple crumble and custard and apple sauce cake. This Elizabeth David recipe for apple tart was one she sometimes used too. Hard, sweet eating apples are best; they don’t go soft and mushy like sour English cooking apples.

It’s all a matter of taste, but Elizabeth David says peel the apples, while my mum prefers not to, she thinks not peeling them holds the apples together and stops them falling apart during cooking. For the same reason she also doesn’t cut the apples too thinly.

The recipe is written as per Elizabeth David’s instructions, feel free to improvise.

For the apple filling
675 g (1½ lbs) hard, sweet eating apples
60g (2 oz) unsalted butter
3 or 4 tablespoons of vanilla-flavoured castor sugar

Peel and core the apples. Slice evenly and thinly. Melt the butter in a frying pan.
Then put the apples into the pan and cook gently until they are pale golden and transparent.
Turn the slices over carefully so as not to break them. Give the pan a good shake to separate them.
When the apples have cooked on both sides remove from the pan and put to one side.

For the pastry
This is a crumbly pastry, or pâte sablée.
170 g (6 oz) plain flour
85 g (3 oz) butter
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 – 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
A little thin cream or milk

Pre-heated the oven to 200˚C / 400˚F / Gas Mark 6.
Mix the ingredients except the cream or milk; use your discretion as to how much water you add. The less water you use the more crumbly and light your pastry will be.
Shape the pastry into a ball and immediately, without leaving it to rest or even rolling it out, spread it with your hands into a lightly buttered 20 cm (8 inch) flan tin.
Brush the edges with thin cream or milk.
Arrange the apples, without the juice, in overlapping circles, keeping a nicely shaped piece for the centre.
Bake with the tin on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
Turn the tin round once during cooking.
Reheat the buttery juices.
Remove the tin from the oven, pour in the warm buttery juices, sprinkle with more sugar.
Return to the oven for another minute.

Although this tart is best hot it won’t go soggy even when cold. Goes well with custard, cream or ice cream, but personally I think it’s nicest on its own.

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