Sagar Tarta

Apple Tart

MORE CAKE THAN TART, THIS IS AN ASTONISHINGLY SIMPLE CROWD-PLEASER. THE PASTRY IS LIKE SOFT CRUMBLY CAKE AND THE FILLING IS PLEASANTLY TART. THIS IS ONE OF MY OWN INVENTIONS THAT I THOUGHT UP WHILE WAITING FOR A PLANE IN THE HONDARRIBIA AIRPORT. I WAS LOOKING OUT THROUGH THE LOUNGE WINDOW TO THE HILLS ALONG THE COAST. A FEW DAYS BEFORE, A FRIEND HAD BEEN DRIVING ME ALONG ONE OF THE WINDING BACK ROADS AND WAS PEERING ABOVE THE STEERING WHEEL LOOKING UP AT THE APPLE TREES GROWING OVER THE TRACK. SOMEWHERE ALONG THIS ROAD IS A PARTICULARLY GOOD TREE,’ HE SAID. THE SHEEP SLEEP UNDER IT AND I THINK THEIR MANURE FERTILISES THE TREE VERY WELL,’ HE SAID HALF JOKING, HALF POSTULATING. I PICK THOSE APPLES FOR MY WIFE AND SHE MAKES A WONDERFUL TART.’ I NEVER GOT A CHANCE TO ASK HIM FOR THE RECIPE SO HERE’S ONE FROM ME.

Ingredients

  • 6 granny smith apples
  • 115 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon calvados (apple brandy)
  • butter, for greasing
  • plain (all-purpose) flour, to dust
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar, to dust

Pastry

  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 230 g (8 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 100 g ( oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 lemon

Cider Sauce

  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) dry apple cider
  • 115 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar

Method

Peel, core and cut each apple into eight wedges, then place in a saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon zest, lemon juice and calvados. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes, or until the apple is soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, melted butter, eggs and lemon zest in a food processor and blend for 1 minute, or just until a rough, crumbly dough forms.

Lightly grease a 20 cm (8 inch) pie tin with butter, then dust with flour, shaking out the excess. Press half the dough into the base of the tin.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the apple mixture and evenly spoon the mixture over the dough. Using your fingers, coarsely crumble the rest of the dough over the top and gently press to roughly cover the apple. Loosely cover the tin with a sheet of baking paper and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven, leave to stand in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

To make the cider sauce, put the cider and sugar in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for 30 minutes, or until reduced by two-thirds.

Serve the warm tart dusted with icing sugar and drizzled with the sauce.