Sunday, 21 June 2009

Toffee apple and almond tart

Today is Father’s Day so my baking took on a CCD-friendly (Caked Crusader’s Da) twist. The CCD likes toffee, apples and, unsurprisingly, toffee apples so this tart looked a winner for him. I adapted the recipe from one of Richard Corrigan's so knew it would be good!

None of the stages of this recipe are difficult but there are a lot of stages so make sure you have enough time to make it. The pastry is buttery and delicious. I thought it was going to be tricky to work with as it was a sticky dough but it was incredibly well-behaved; it didn’t tear at all. Look at the buttery colour of it:

The bed of almond sponge puffs up around the apples when it cooks and takes on the juicy flavour of the dulce de leche. It really is a treat for the tastebuds. I think this tart was professional standard – you’d be delighted to get this in any restaurant or patisserie.

I used apples from the fruit and veg box kindly provided by Abel & Cole. As these were sweet red apples, I mixed them with some Granny Smith’s to increase the tartness of the apples.

As always I like to provide serving suggestions.....

....and a ‘spoon shot’:

For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge and cubed
50g caster sugar
2 eggs

For the almond cream:
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g ground almonds
25g plain flour

For the apple layer:
4 dessert apples, peeled and cut into slices (I cut each apple into 8 wedges)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
4 tablespoons dulce de leche

For the topping:
35g unsalted butter
15g plain flour
65g Demerara sugar
25g ground almonds
Handful of flaked almonds

To serve: custard or thick spooning cream

How to make:
- Start by making the pastry. Place the flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs. (You can do this by hand with the old rubbing the butter into the flour method)
- Add the eggs and blitz again.
- Tip out onto a sheet of clingfilm and, with a little extra flour if necessary, bring the mixture into a dough.
- Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/fan oven 130°C/300°F/Gas mark 2.
- Roll out the pastry between two sheets of clingfilm until it is large enough to line a 25cm loose bottomed flan tin. There is no need to grease the tin as the pastry is so buttery. I found the pastry behave really well and there was no tearing thus no patching needed. Leave any surplus pastry hanging over the edge
- Line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill with baking beans and bake blind in the oven for 45 minutes. This sounds a long time but the light is very low so the pastry won’t burn.
- Remove the paper and beans and, when cool enough to touch, trim away the excess pastry.
- Increase the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Now make the almond cream: cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then the ground almonds then the flour. Put to one side.
- Now cook the apples. Place the apple wedges in a pan and cook over a high heat so that they soften and release some juice.
- Add the sugar and ensure that the apples are all coated. They will start to caramelise.
- When the apples are soft and golden, but not falling apart, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool a little.
- Now make the topping: rub the butter into the flour until you have breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the sugar and almonds.
- When the apples are cooled stir in the dulce de leche.
- Now assemble the tart for final baking. Spread the almond cream into the pastry case. It will look like there is too much but, with careful spreading it will easily fit.
- Arrange the apples on top making sure you scrape all the lovely dulce de leche out of the pan as well.
- Sprinkle the topping over the apples along with a handful of flaked almonds.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, making sure the topping doesn’t burn. Mine took just over 40 minutes.
- Serve either warm with custard or at room temperature with cream.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Cakelaw said...

Gotta love a nutty apple tart and pastry that doesn't tear (especially that last one - it's tricky!).

Michelle said...

This looks picture perfect! I think the combination of toffee, apples, and almonds sounds just fabulous, almost like a candy apple! This one is going on my list, for sure!

Margaret said...

Great tart! I love making things where you really have to 'get stuck in'.

Katie said...

Oh my it looks divine - I adore all things apple-y so this tart is my idea of heaven. Nice photo shots too. The rum and raisin cake above sounds fab too. You truly spolit your dad

Sue said...

This is a must try for me,it looks delish, like all you cakes. Thanks