Friday, August 27, 2010

A Tart For My Husband

My lovely husband is staying in tonight to babysit, so as a little thank you for letting me have a rare night out(he would say not so rare), I made him a rather messy but delicious apple tart using bramley apples topped with a toasted walnut and pecan crumble.  I think it was messy because he could not wait until it had cooled sufficiently to try it,  and, as a result it ran its sweet cinnamony lava everywhere, but hey who cares, this is not a tart for public display, its one for home alone where you can dip in your fingers, pick the nuts off the top, slurp it up and let the cream ooze down your chin....delicious, he thought so anyway!

You will need:
1 23" blind baked sweet pastry case.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

For the filling:
8 large bramley cooking apples, peeled and sliced
juice and grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
100g caster sugar
2 tsps ground cinnamon
50g unsalted butter
2 tblsps cornflour

For the crumble topping:
75g granulated sugar
75g soft brown sugar
45g plain white flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
40g toasted walnuts
40g toasted pecans
50g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Make the Filling:
Peel, core and slice the apples and toss them in the lemon juice to prevent them from going brown.  Sprinkle over the sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest.
Melt the 50g butter in a large saucepan, add the apples and cook them for approx. 125 minutes until they turn to mush.  If there are a few lumps left, don't worry too much about them.  Keep stirring to prevent sticking and until all the juices have evaporated and the fruit is slightly dry.  Stir the corn flour into a very small amount of water, (4 tblsps), just enough to dissolve it and add this to the apples.  Cook for a further few minutes and then taste.  If you think that you would like more sugar, add it at this stage but, bear in mind that the crumble topping is sweet in itself and the contrast between this and a slightly tart apple is, in my mind, better. 

Make the crumble:
Spread the nuts evenly on a heat-proof plate and place them under the grill to toast and brown slightly.  To remove the skin from the walnuts, roll them in a clean tea towel, rubbing them slightly.  Chop or break the nuts up into small pieces.
Place the chilled cubes of butter into a bowl and add the flour.  Work it with your fingers so that it is the texture of fine breadcrumbs.  Add the sugars, cinnamon and nuts.  Chill again until required.

I had already made my pastry case in advance and frozen it, so I placed the fully defrosted case it into the hot oven for five minutes, took it out and brushed the inside of it with an egg yolk and water mix (1 egg yolk/2 tblsps cold water).  This will seal the case and prevent the filling from making the base soggy.

Pour the entire apple mixture into the base, leaving a little room for it to bubble to the top.  Sprinkle over the crumble and bake for about 15 minutes until it is golden.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream ....

Its late ...
I am home now finishing this post and I am glad to see that there is some left for me ...  its waiting quietly in the kitchen for coffee time tomorrow.  I will tell you about my dinner in Rustic Stone tomorrow, I simply do not have the energy now ...

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