Caramelized and Glazed Apple Tarts

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Ingredients

  • teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons iced water
  • 1 egg
  • 250 g/8 oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 75 g/3 oz cooking fat, chilled
  • 75 g/3 oz butter, chilled

Apple Purée

  • 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 twist of lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon Calvados

Pastry Cream

  • ½ split vanilla pod
  • 300 ml/½ pint single cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Apple Topping

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 40 g/ oz butter
  • 4 Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Method

To make the pastry, beat the lemon juice, water and egg and chill until thickened.

Sieve the dry ingredients, then rub in the fat and butter. Add all the liquid and stir until the mixture binds into a loose dough. Turn out and knead lightly until smooth. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Line 4 individual fluted tart tins with one-third of the pastry. Bake blind in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) Gas Mark 5 for about 20 minutes. Cool.

To make the apple purée, stew the Bramleys gently in a heavy-based pan with the water, sugar and lemon zest until the apples fall to a froth. Continue cooking to a dry, thick purée. Add the Calvados, then taste for sweetness.

To make the pastry cream, scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream, add the pod, then bring the cream to the boil. Blend the yolks, flour, cornflour and sugar in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot cream on to the yolks, return to the rinsed pan and cook gently, stirring, until thickened. Place buttered greaseproof paper or clingfilm on top to prevent a skin forming.

To cook the apple topping, heat the water, sugar and butter in a pan until dissolved. Bring to the boil. Add the apple slices and cook for 2–3 minutes until soft and coated with syrup.

Fill the tart bases with pastry cream and add 1 tablespoon of apple purée. Overlap the apple slices on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C (425°F) Gas Mark 7 for 7–8 minutes until the edges are a deep golden caramel.

Top with a tiny bay leaf, dredge gently with sieved icing sugar, and serve with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and a hot caramel sauce.