About three weeks back (maybe further) Mr CC requested something with pastry that could be served hot with custard. Inattentive wife that I am, I’ve only just got round to it. He requested apple and blackberry so the recent fruity theme of the blog continues for another week!
By placing some of the blackberries underneath the frangipane sponge, the finished tart is similar to a bakewell i.e. almond sponge hiding fruitiness beneath; however, the apple slices on top differentiate it. I left my apple slices quite chunky so that they contributed texture as well as flavour.
Here’s what lies beneath the frangipane, apple puree and blackberries:
Initially, I planned on placing only blackberries under the sponge, but when Mr CC came home with a huge bucket full of Bramley apples grown by a work colleague, I made apple puree and put some of that in too:
I made a huge batch and only used some of it in these tarts. The leftover puree went in the freezer and will be used in a future apple crumble! My method for apple puree uses more water than those I found online; having followed these in the past I find them too dry. Using more water seems to make a lighter, fluffier puree.
I decided to revisit the pastry from Raymond Blanc’s apple tart. It worked so well with apples and had the time saving bonus of not needing to be blind baked in advance of baking the filling.
My flan tins were called “mini flan tins”, but as you’ve probably noticed they were actually quite large – about 10cm across. Anything called ‘mini’ instantly means a single serving to me...I don’t tend to use my eyes in such situations. In truth, half a tart would’ve been plenty!
Pastry, fruit and custard together are the holy trinity of puddings, as far as I’m concerned; add almond sponge into the mix and I’m in heaven! Whisper it softly, but I actually prefer the thicker, darker…dare I say, lower end, type of custard, the kind that coats the back of the spoon with a viscous layer of yellow goodness. The soft vanilla aroma that wafts up from a jugful of custard surely contains endorphins (or something, I’m not a scientist) as it makes everyone happy!
I end with a confession. Having admitted half a tart would’ve been a generous portion I still dished up a whole tart each. The following is photographic proof of why I am The Caked Crusader G.G. Hons (Greedy Guts) – my bowl is on the left; a mortal’s is on the right:
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, diced
1 teaspoon milk or water (I used milk)
For the apple puree (puree is never an exact science so make whatever quantity you wish – it freezes brilliantly):
Sugar – to taste
For the filling:
140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
1400g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8s – I used Granny Smith apples
Start by making the pastry: pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until you have crumbs.
Add the egg and milk and pulse again until the pastry clumps but does not form a ball – be careful not to overwork it.
Tip the dough onto a sheet of clingfilm and kneed it just enough to form a ball. Flatten, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the apple puree. Take a saucepan of appropriate size – roughly so that the apples will half fill the pan.
Cover the bottom of the pan with water – ideally about 2cm deep.
Peel, core and thinly slice the cooking apples.
Slowly simmer until the apples break down and you have a puree; if the pan looks dry add some more water. You can speed this up placing the pan lid 3/4s over the pan.
Personally, I like my puree with some apple chunks still in it; if you don’t cook until smooth.
Add the sugar right at the end – this is totally to taste so add gradually until you have the right sweetness for you.
Roll out the chilled dough between two sheets of clingfilm. I didn’t need to add any extra flour. Use one sheet of the clingfilm to lift the pastry to line a 20cm loose bottomed flan tin or 4 individual tart tins (mine measured 10cm across). Press the pastry into the tin and use the rolling pin to roll over the top and cut of any excess pastry.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan oven 180˚C/390˚F/Gas mark 6
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the apple puree into the pastry case and arrange the blackberries on top.
Place back in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Beat together the butter and sugar until it’s pale and smooth.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, if it looks like it might curdle add some of the flour.
Stir in the almonds, flour and, if using, the extract.
Spoon into the pastry case and level the surface; take care not to disturb the blackberries too much as they need to be evenly distributed.
Arrange the apple slices on the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the almond sponge is cooked – test with a skewer, the same way you would for a cake. If the skewer comes out clean it’s ready.
Leave to cool, in the tins, on a wire rack.
Serve either at room temperature with thick cream, or warm with custard.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.