Crisp and Aromatic Apple Tart

I love upside-down tarts (excuse the suggestive description!) and cannot stop making different variations. This one is made with sugared and spiced filo pastry and the apples are cooked gently until they go a beautiful shade of pink. Serve with cream or crème fraîche. The tart can be made in advance up until the second cooking stage or cooked beforehand and reheated.


  • 100 g/4 oz butter
  • about 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1.1 kg/ lb dessert apples
  • finely grated rind of 2 oranges
  • 3 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 rounded teaspoon ground cloves
  • 400 g/14 oz filo pastry
  • a little quince, apple or redcurrant jelly (optional)


Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Smear the bottom of a 26-27.5 cm/10-11 in round earthenware flan dish with 25 g/1 oz of the butter and sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the caster sugar evenly on top. Core the unpeeled apples and thinly slice them into half moons. Arrange a neat layer of overlapping apple slices on top of the caster sugar in the dish. Sprinkle with half the grated orange rind and then arrange the remaining apple slices on top, evenly but not so neatly this time.

Sprinkle with the remaining orange rind and cover with foil. Bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 1½-2 hours, until the apples are tender, then carefully pour any apple juice into a saucepan and boil fiercely until syrupy. Pour back over the apples and leave until cold.

Gently melt the remaining butter in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Put a rounded tablespoon of caster sugar in a small bowl and stir in the ground spices. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on top of the apples, folding the edges in to fit the dish. Brush with melted butter and scatter lightly and evenly with a little of the sugar and spice mixture. Lay another sheet of filo pastry on top and repeat the butter, sugar and spice procedure. Continue until all the filo pastry is used up, just buttering the last piece and sprinkling it with sugar.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and put the tart on the centre shelf. Cook for 25 minutes, then turn down the heat to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes, until the pastry is a deep brown. Put a large, flat serving plate on top of the flan dish and turn them both upside down. Give a shake and turn the tart on to the serving plate, carefully lifting the dish off. For extra gloss, brush with a little melted quince, apple or redcurrant jelly. Serve hot or warm.