Tarte fine aux pommes (thin French apple tart)
( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Tam West
I will keep publishing a recipe for this classic French apple tart forever, as it is a great addition to any cook’s repertoire. It is simple to make and looks like you got it from a patisserie in Paris. It has only three ingredients: pastry, apples and apricot jam. When something is this simple, the ingredients need to be of the best quality you can find because there is nowhere to hide. I use the Paneton brand of pastry. It is traditional French-style flaky puff pastry made with butter and is real quality. Use eating apples that hold their shape when cooked and buy a jam with at least 50 per cent fruit in it (and not much else apart from sugar).
You can pre-make this tart up to the brushing of the jam stage and with a preheated oven you’ll have a hot apple tart in 10 minutes. The pastry needs to be very well cooked, maybe a bit more than you think, just don’t burn it. I like to cook the tart on a pizza stone to make sure the bottom is crisp. An inverted cast iron frying pan will also work as a pizza stone. Put either one in the oven when you preheat it.
I like this tart with what we always call clotted cream. It isn’t. Real clotted cream is the unctuous skimmings off slowly simmering cauldrons of cream in Devon or Cornwall. But for a different version, add lemon juice to cream, don’t stir for a while, then stir slowly and the cream thickens. Tastes like very fresh creme fraiche.
- Heat oven to 210C. Put in pizza stone, if using one.
- Roll the pastry out into a 30cm diameter disc. Brush the edge of the pastry with water and fold the edges in all around at 2cm. Prick the inside of the tart with a fork.
- Place the apple wedges evenly inside the raised edge of the tart. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until very well cooked.
- Remove from the oven and generously brush the jam over the tart, leaving no gaps. Place the tart back into the oven for a few minutes until bubbling and browned.
- Meanwhile put the cream into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, don’t stir, but reserve for 10 minutes then stir slowly. The cream will have thickened.
- Remove tart from the oven and serve hot or warm, dusted with icing sugar and with the cream.