A most delicious fresh apple tart with made with a base of sweet shortcrust pastry and a layer of a deliciously moist almond frangipane and then topped with tart brandied granny smith apples. I always delight in the use of my vintage apple peeler which before 1864, no machine or mechanical aid was heard of that would allow a kitchen worker or farm wife to peel apples quickly, this tedious task was then performed by hand with a knife. This soon changed with the labor-saving device invented by David Harvey Goodell, a man who later became the governor of New Hampshire. He called his first invention “the Lightning apple parer.” At first, a New York firm’s marketing efforts sold only 2,400 over 2 years. Dissatisfied with the outcome, David Goodell took to the road and became a traveling salesman. In less than a month, he sold 24,000 apple parers. Such a lovely story!
Sweet shortcrust pastry
240g cake flour
120g castor sugar
120g cold butter, cut into bits
3 egg yolks
- Blend the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with bits of butter no larger than peas. (Alternatively, you can process the mixture on pulse mode in a food processor.)
Add the egg yolks, and continue blending with the pastry cutter (or on pulse mode in the processor) until the eggs are evenly incorporated and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, gently press together to form a smooth ball.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten each portion into a smooth disc. Wrap with plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you prefer. The dough may also be frozen for up to two months.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. Lift and turn the dough as you work, keeping the work surface dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Fit the dough into a tart pan or a 22 cm flan ring and press it firmly against the sides and bottom without stretching it. Trim off any excess dough and then cover and chill the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes before filling and baking.
5 Granny Smith apples or any tart cooking apples
80 grams castor sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Tblsp Calvados brandy
a squeeze of lemon
- Peel, core, quarter and slice apples into thin slices.
- Toss cut apples in sugar, cinnamon,calvados and brandy, cover until ready to use.
120 g butter
120g castor sugar
120 g ground almonds
30g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
- Beat the butter, vanilla seeds and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
Crack in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until all of the eggs have been fully incorporated into the mixture. Fold in the ground almonds and flour carefully by hand, add essence.
- Top the pastry case with the almond mixture and smooth to the edges, then top with 2 layers of brandied apples in concentric circles then dust with icing sugar which will help to caramelise the apples during baking.
- Bake tart in a 180 degrees preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling has risen, and apples are pale golden brown and caramelised ontop and when frangipane is cooked through.
- Dredge with icing sugar and serve with chantilly cream.