Tarts are wonderful things, as unlike the majority of their pie cousins, they display their filling with pride and va va boom. This tart is no different as the thin slices of sugar-coated apples have been arranged in ever-increasing circles to give the image of a rose, and it really was all incredibly easy. Underneath, lies a layer of soft, sweet layer of almond which works well with the sharpness of a bramley apple.
Following this I went on to experiment with a peach and basil frangipane tart, which I was supposed to be taking to a dinner party at the neighbouring flat. Unfortunately, I dropped it on the way out of the oven, but from my self-pitying eating of the remains, I can tell you this flavour combination is delicious too.
For the pastry
300g plain flour
20g ground almonds
175g unsalted butter
5 tablespoons elderflower cordial
125g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
100g golden caster sugar
1-2 bramley apple
more sugar for sprinkling
1. The first step to any good tart is of course the pastry. This pastry is made with elderflower cordial to give it a sweet floral taste. Start by cubing the chilled butter, then use the ends of your fingers to rub the plain flour in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and there are no lumps of butter left. This can be done much quicker using a food processor if you happen to have one. Add the ground almonds to the mix.
2. Break an egg into the crumb mixture and using a knife, cut through the mix to disperse the egg throughout. Add the elderlfower cordial a bit at a time, until you can bring the pastry together with your hands into a ball.
3. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. To make the frangipane filling, cream the butter and sugar together. Next alternate between adding half the ground almonds, followed by an egg, followed by the second half of the ground almonds, and the last egg. Mix into a grainy, moist mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of flour to firm the mixture up.
5. Preheat the oven to 180•C and grease a tart dish.
6. Roll out the pastry until approximately 3mm thick then gently lift over the tart dish. Use a bit of left over pastry to poke it snugly into the corners of the dish. Place back in the fridge until needed.
7. I left peeling and cutting the apples until the last possible moment as apples tend to go gross if you leave them out to oxidise for too long. Take the pastry case out of the fridge and spoon the frangipane evenly across the base. Arrange the apple slices outwards in over the top, using the larger slices first.
8. Sprinkle the apples generously with sugar, then bake for 50 minutes. Give the tart a tin-foil hat when the apples start to brown at the edges.