Taffety Tart

This next is a recipe dating back to at least Elizabethan times; variations on the theme occur in cookbooks over a period of a hundred years or so. The combination of lemon, rosewater and aniseed is exquisite, and the tart is very easy to make.


  • 250 g (½ lb) puff or sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 2 medium Bramley apples, or 4 dessert apples, if you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed, or aniseed
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter, softened


Roll out the pastry, and cut 4 circles from it. Transfer them to a buttered, floured baking sheet.

Peel, core and slice the apples and arrange on the pastry, flavouring them with half the rosewater and sugar, the fennel seed or aniseed, and the lemon zest. Brush with some of the butter.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and raise the heat to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 4.

Brush the tarts with the remaining butter, scatter on the remaining sugar, and sprinkle on the rest of the rosewater. Return the tarts to the oven, and let them glaze and brown for 5 minutes.

Serve hot or warm, plain, or with clotted cream, apple sorbet or vanilla ice cream.