Monday, 7 January 2013

Apple Tart

Last week I spent swishing down the slopes in Verbier, Switzerland. Not only is this bowl-like valley beautiful, the skiing is fantastic and it is a food-lovers heaven. It takes a lot to entice me out of bed on holiday at 7:30am when it is minus degrees outside, but when I knew there were fresh pastries within a five minute stroll down a snow-lined track. Well, I pretty much leapt out of bed everyday. And my god the pastries at La Boulangerie Michellod were good – flaky pain au chocolats oozing generous rivers of swiss chocolate, dainty balls of pain au sucre, the seasonal galette du rois (complete with paper kings hat) and rows of glazed fruit tarts.

Suffice to say, coming back to grey England was a shock to the system. My body wasn’t quite ready to bypass the sweet treats I had got used to on holiday so I thought I’d take inspiration from the bakery, and make an apple tart to have after roast beef with my family on Sunday. I also dusted only the edges with icing sugar like they did out there- it makes the galletes look even more festive.

Apple Tart
(sweet almond pastry taken from Laduree: Sucre the Recipes)

For the tart base –makes 450g pastry
Place 120g very cold Butter in a mixer and work to homogenize. One at a time add the following ingredients:  70g Icing Sugar, 25g Ground Almonds, a pinch of Sea Salt, a few drops of Vanilla Extract, 1 Egg and 200g Cake Flour until it makes a dough. Refrigerate for 2 hrs.
Roll out the 350g pastry and line a 24cm tart tin. Chill for 1 hour and preheat the oven to 180C.
Bake the tart blind for 15 mins. Brush it with egg wash and return to the over for 5 minutes.

For the filling
Slice 2-3 eating Apples finely. Arrange in a circular pattern in the tart shell. Make a custard by whisking 2 large Eggs, 300ml Double Cream, 1tbsp Calvados (opt), 3 tbsp Sugar, 1 drop Vanilla Essence. Strain over the apples. Return to the oven for 30-35 minutes. Cover the top with foil if the pastry looks to be getting too dark. Serve warm with ice-cream.