My friend Kristel recently came to visit. She’s from the Netherlands, and we met in our first year at university in Sheffield, when we lived a few rooms down from each other. Despite there being countries (and sometimes continents) separating us, we have stayed in touch, and I went to visit Kristel in Boston last year (read more about that here). So then it was her turn to visit me, and we spent an enjoyable week ambling around Bristol. Baking was also inevitably going to be on the agenda, and when trying to decide what to bake on a rainy Sunday, there was only one option.
This apple tart is always going to provoke incessant bouts of nostalgia for us, since it was one of the things Kristel made during our first year at uni. We were living in a flat with nine people, most of whom had some sort of dietary requirement, from vegan to lactose intolerant. Therefore, as you can imagine, group meals were somewhat difficult. Being committed to the cause of group bonding, however, we managed to rustle something up that would suit everyone.
Our group meals usually consisted of pasta with some sort of vegetable based sauce, and this apple tart for pudding (because yes, there had to be pudding). The version that Kristel made originally was vegan, involving the genius use of tahini instead of egg to bind the pastry together. This recipe is not vegan, as it uses butter in the pastry and egg yolk to glaze the top, but we retained the tahini for old time’s sake.
You will need a 30cm diameter, 5 cm deep fluted tart tin, with a removable base.
For the pastry:
250g butter, cut into cubes
400g self raising flour
3 tbsp tahini
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
3 Bramley apples
2 eating apples (such as Braeburn)
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp raisins
2 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
To glaze: 1 egg yolk, beaten
Preheat the oven to 180C.
This pastry is really easy to make in a food processor. Pulse together the butter, sugar, vanilla, flour and salt until a dough forms. Separate in half, then wrap half in cling film and put in the fridge. Roll half of the dough large enough to fit into the tin, about 3mm thick. Line the tin with the pastry, pressing right to the edges.
For the filling, peel, core and slice the apples into slices the thickness of a one pound coin. Put in a bowl with the sugar, salt, lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom and raisins and mix everything together until the apples are well coated in the spices. Lay the apples on the pastry. Roll the remaining pastry out to a similar thickness as before, and cut into strips. Lay the strips over the apples, weaving them together to form a lattice. Brush the top with beaten egg, and bake the tart for around an hour, until the top is golden and the apples cooked.