Sunday, 20 November 2011

'Sorry Autumn' Toffee Apple Tart.

Hellooooo, how's things? Is it still Autumn? I hope so. I'm not quite sure what official season it is at the mo but am hoping Autumn is still around because I think I've been neglecting him recently. 

Since seeing mountains of fake snow appear in shop windows and hearing Wham! (that's right, I included the exclamation mark) as I wander around supermarkets, I think I've been swept away on a wave of Christmas excitement, meaning Mr Autumn, in all his glowey orange goodness, has lain a bit forgotten. 

So here is my final fling with good ol' pumpkin carving, leaf crunching, nose chilling Autumn before all things sparkling and snow topped take over, it is 'Stir up Sunday' today after all. This is a perfect pud for a dark November evening, and in fact was the perfect pud for our dark, chilly November 5th.

So sorry Autumn, for getting carried away and forgetting about you, because actually you're pretty lovely, especially when it comes to food. Please forgive me and keep being beautiful at sunset and delicious after dinner... because honestly, I'm not quite ready for leafless trees and 18 hour darkness, so please keep the glowey orange glowing for a bit longer.

Toffee Apple Tart
Adapted from Sainsburys Magazine

A few notes:
  • This is not a dainty dessert, its charm is in its wonkyness and the fact that it sticks to the grease-proof paper so you have to serve to straight off it. Just a warning, so you don't get disheartened by messy edges.
  • The original recipe calls for 100% eating apples but I used a mixture of both cookers and eaters, which means you get a filling that's got firm and mushy bits. Feel free to mix it up how ever you feel, but I think you need to include at least a few eaters, it's the sort of pie that needs a bit of bite.
  • As usual I made my pastry in my trusty food processor, but if you don't have one just mix the dry ingredients together, rub in the fat with your fingers and bring together to a dough by hand.
Makes one big pie, enough for at least 8
You will need

a large baking sheet, lined with grease-proof paper

For the pastry
250g plain flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon
100g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
125g cold butter
1 egg

For the filling 
100g butter
150g soft brown sugar
splosh vanilla extract
150ml double cream
juice 1 lemon
3 medium sized cooking apples and 3 eaters, peeled, cored and sliced
50g ground almonds
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

  • First let's make the pastry by whizzing together the flour, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest in your processor.
  • Next whiz in the butter followed by all but a tablespoon or so of the egg.
  • Bring together to a nice dough, shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c.
  • We need to make a toffee sauce by gently heating the butter, 120g of the sugar and vanilla in a small pan so the butter melts.
  • Turn up the heat and bubble for a minute or so, then pour in the cream. 
  • Keep stirring until it looks smooth and toffeeish then add a squeeze of the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
  • In a nice big bowl toss the apple slices with the rest of the lemon juice, the rest of the sugar and half the toffee sauce.
  • Now it's time to roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 35cm round.
  • Transfer to the lined baking sheet and sprinkle the almonds over the centre of the pastry.
  • Top with the apples, leaving a 4-5cm border.
  • Now fold and press the edges of the pastry around the apples to create a ramshackle looking pie.
  • Brush the pastry with the leftover egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  • Bake for 40min until the pastry is golden and the apples are soft.
  • Serve with the rest of the toffee sauce and something else lovely, we went for clotted cream.

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