Time for yet another try at the apple tarte! This time, I decided to go experimental (next time, I’m definitely trying out the recipe in my new English cookbook). This tarte takes an Italian influence with a rather heavy citrus taste (lemon juice, zest, and orange juice), but keeps traditional elements (apples, cinnamon, nutmeg) to make a crumbly confectionary pleasure once settled within a gooey almond oil-flavoured whole wheat crust. Here’s the step-by-step surgical procedures:
- The filling is quite simple: zest a lemon rather vigorously, then add in its juice (roll it first to release the juices); add a tablespoon of orange juice. Sprinkle in a 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 tablespoon cinnamon (I went, as per usual, a bit overboard on the cinnamon- so 1/3 – 1/2 tablespoon is much safer than the whole one I put in!), 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and 3/4 tablespoon honey. Sprinkle in between 1/3 – 1/2 cup large black raisins (or sultanas, if you prefer… we were out at the time). Very thinly slice apples (I used 1 large braeburn and 3 smaller granny smith) and add to the mix. Cook on medium until the mixture becomes soft and a bit creamy- there should be a slight bite of crisp left to the apples.
- Make a crust- I followed David’s french tarte dough recipe again for the basics but this time made some changes: I used 1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour and the “rounding” of the cup as white whole wheat flour. I also used all soy-butter natural spread, and put in 5 tablespoons of it instead of 6. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons of almond extract.
- I cooked the crust for 6 minutes unfilled, then removed it from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Fill the crust with the apple filling, making sure to add it evenly and spread it so that the top is completely flat (or as flat as can be made)- then while that is sitting (and settling), thinly slice one more apple (or two, if needed) and arrange in the shape of a flower on top of the filled tarte.
- Brush the apple slices with a bit of melted soy-butter spread with a pastry brush, sprinkle on a tiny bit of sugar, and put back into the oven for 10 minutes (still on 410 degrees).
- Remove tarte from oven and brush on apricot jam/jelly evenly with a pastry brush. Put tarte back into oven at approximately 200 degrees for another 30-40 minutes (until crust edges are golden-brown and fully cooked (lift edges of tarte pan slightly to check- the filling will make this process take quite a long time)). It’s important to reduce the temperature so as to not char the apples on top.
This was an unnecessarily complicated way to do this, but I was experimenting with filling times based on different degrees of crust bakedness. To make this easier, you can fill the tarte when the crust is almost completely cooked (after being in the oven for 12-14 minutes) and either a) not add apple slices on top, or b) pre-cook them and then add them on top.
It was melting and coming apart last night when it was hot (the boyfriend took seconds despite the crumbliness) and had a number of distinct flavours. Some bites had a strong lemon flavour from the zest (I zested it roughly, so there are some large zest pieces in the filling) while others had a strong, biting almond taste from the crust. After a day of refrigeration, the flavours have melded together much more. It’s enjoyable either way, but makes an interesting study in the effects of time and cooling upon the flavours’ relationships… something worth looking into!
In any case, it’s a rather yummy tarte, and fun to make. Try it out with your own variants and see what works best for you! As Melissa on Food Network would say, the possibilities are endless! :)
Lastly, if you do follow this recipe as I did- using the soy-butter spread- this becomes a vegan-friendly dessert! No animal products or by-products. Cheers!