Listen to the “Cook-off before kick-off here” (for some reason the volume is a little low, you may need to turn up your speakers! To skip through, just click in the white bar):
For the final round of the World Cup “Cook-off-before-kick-off” on Lorna Milton’s BBC Three Counties Show, I had to choose between Spain, Holland, Germany and Uruguay, all of whom were playing at the weekend. I plumped for Holland – which was not necessarily the easy option because, in spite of boasting one or two of the finest restaurants in the world, it was not too easy to find an easily recognisable national dish. Thankfully, my twitter follower and friend, Michelle De Haan, came up with an absolutely marvellous Apple Tart recipe.
The best thing about this recipe is the pastry. The dough is too soft to be rolled out so it has to be literally sculpted into the baking tin. It is, in effect, a crumble mix which is tightly squashed together. This makes for the most buttery, lovely crust you could hope to have in a tart.
Although Michelle said it was an easy recipe, it did require some moderately lengthy preparation. But – and it’s a big BUT – it was so very worth it. So much so, in fact, that Jo said it was one of the best desserts she had ever tasted – and that IS saying something.
Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes for the pastry to chill in the fridge
Serves – lots!
For the pastry:
225g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
8 bramley apples
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
You will need an 8 inch round cake tin
- Using your fingertips, crumble the butter together with the flour, sugar and salt. Once everything is well mixed together, bring all the ingredients together tightly into a ball. Refrigerate the pastry for about 30 minutes in a plastic bag.
- Butter your cake tin. Using approximately 2/3 of the dough, create a base for the tart. You will not be able to roll the dough out. Put pieces of it in the tin and, using your fingers and palms of your hands, flatten it to create a pastry case. Do the same for the sides of the tin too.
- Put the cake tin in the fridge for a few minutes while you peel, core and thinly slice the apples.
- Fill half the cake tin with layers of the apples and sprinkle half the sugar and cinnamon over the apples. Then fill the tart with the remaining apples and sprinkle the rest of the sugar and cinnamon.
- Now you need to top the tart off with pastry latices. Very generously flour your worktop and your rolling pin. I found it also helped to add a little flour to the remaining dough to make it a touch drier. Very gently roll the dough out to a thickness of about 6mm and cut 1cm wide strips of the pastry, very carefully lifting them on to the apples and creating a criss-cross latice effect.
- When you have finished the latices, add some 1.5cm strips all round the edge of the cake tin too, pressing down gently to seal the edges. I found I needed several small strips in order to go all the way round the circumference of the tin.
- Brush the pastry with egg yolk.
- Bake the tart for 20 minutes in a hot oven (220C/ 425F/ Gas Mark7), then reduce the heat to 200C/ 400F/ Gas Mark 6 for a further 40-60 minutes, until the top of the tart is golden and the apples are soft.
- Leave the tart to cool down in its tin, before serving with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream.