Caramel and Apple Tart with Caramel Ice Cream

Caramel and apples is not a new combination. People have enjoyed eating them together from whenever toffee apples were dreamed up. This is my variation on that theme and it works well.

The choice of apple is important. Cooking apples such as Bramleys are quite useless, too sour and inclined to disintegrate. A sharp but well-flavoured dessert apple such as a Granny Smith is fine. I don’t use Cox’s Orange Pippin for cooking though they are great for eating if they are ripe. We have planted both of these classic varieties in our orchard at Gidleigh Park.

The ice cream contrasts nicely with the warm tart and caramel. If you have neither the time nor inclination to make it, use a spoonful of Mrs Hurdle’s Jersey cream (or the best clotted cream you can get if you don’t live in central Devon) instead.

Don’t use ready-made pastry from a shop. It will give an unpleasant greasy aftertaste and spoil the dish.

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Ingredients

  • 6 apples

Caramel Ice Cream

  • 8 oz (225 g) granulated sugar
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) milk
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) double cream
  • 8 egg yolks

Sweet pastry

  • 8 oz (225 g) plain flour
  • 2 oz (50 g) caster sugar
  • 5 oz (150 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

Caramel sauce

  • 6 oz (175 g) unsalted butter
  • 9 oz (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 fl oz (25 ml) Calvados
  • 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream

Method

The caramel ice cream

  1. Dissolve the sugar in a little water, and boil hard until it caramelises. It will turn a light brown colour, just past golden yellow. Take the pan off the heat at this point and let it develop into a rich brown colour as it cools slightly.
  2. Pour on the milk and cream. Whisk all this on to the egg yolks in a pan.
  3. Stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens slightly, giving the consistency of thin custard. Allow this to cool, then freeze, preferably in an ice-cream machine.

The sweet pastry

  • Sieve the flour and sugar together into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter and egg with your fingertips until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Form into a ball, cover with cling film, and rest in a cool place for an hour.
  • Roll out on a floured board to 1/8 in (3 mm) thickness. Line four tart cases of 4 in (10 cm) in diameter. Rest them again for an hour, again in a cool place.
  • Put aluminium foil and beans into each tart case and then bake blind at 350°F (180°C) Gas 4, for 10 minutes.

To Complete

The object is a warm tart and warm sauce with the cold ice cream. The quicker you work, the warmer it will be.

  • Peel, core, slice and cook two of the apples in a covered saucepan with 1 tablespoon water until they start to disintegrate, about 2 or 3 minutes, then purée. Spoon this purée into the tart cases.
  • Make the caramel sauce by cooking the butter and sugar, preferably in a copper pan (which spreads the heat most evenly), until it caramelises, i.e. turns a rich brown colour. Add the Calvados and cream, and stir to blend off the heat. Take care because the caramel will spit.
  • Peel and core the remaining apples. Poach for 2 minutes in enough water to cover, then slice them thinly and fan them across the purée in each tart.
  • Place a tart on each plate. Coat with caramel sauce, and serve with a scoop of caramel ice cream.
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