Like apple pie? Then you’re going to love these. Light, crisp choux pastry with a buttery spiced topping filled with sweet apple cream served with a rich sticky toffee sauce. I like to think of them as apple pie version 2.0, for when you want […]
I’m slowly but surely working my way through the fruit that’s weighing down the branches of my apple tree. This recipe only used a few apples but they made all the difference to a classic treacle tart recipe. It basically becomes a toffee apple tart – and who doesn’t want to eat that?!
You can add more apple roses if you like but my favourite part of a treacle tart is the golden crust on the surface so I didn’t want to totally cover the top of mine. The roses can be a little bit fiddly (not hard, just fiddly) so if you’d rather just lay some apple slices over the top instead then no one will judge you!
I prefer not to use a sweetcrust pastry for treacle tart as I think it’s already sweet enough but you can use one if you prefer.
180g plain flour
splash of cold water
zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half
150g golden syrup
3 tbsp creme fraiche
100g white breadcrumbs
25g ground almonds
big pinch of seasalt
juice of half a lemon
Start by making the pastry. Sift together the flour and cornflour and then gently rub the butter into it until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add a tiny splash of cold water and use this to bring the crumbs together to form a nice ball of dough. Flatten it a little, wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and lightly grease a loose bottomed tart tin.
Gently roll out the dough so that it’s a few millimetres thick and then use this to line your pie tins. Prick the base with a fork, cover it with grease-proof paper and fill it with baking beans.
Pop the pastry case in the oven for 20 minutes to blind bake. Remove the baking beans and paper from the pastry case and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until it’s baked through and lovely and crisp. Set aside whilst you make the filling.
Zest the lemon and put that and half the juice in a saucepan. Add the golden syrup, butter and creme fraiche and melt it all together. Stir in the breadcrumbs, almonds and seasalt, making sure everything is well combined. Spread the filling over the base of the pastry case. Increase the oven temperature to 190°c .
Now for those apple roses! Fill a large bowl with water and the juice of the remaining half a lemon. Slice the apples as thinly as you can and pop the slices in the water. Microwave the apple for a couple of minutes until they become flexible but not so soft that they break up.
Pat the apple slices dry and lay them out in long rows of about 12, overlapping them as you go. Roll the rows up to create the roses and then gently push them into the tart filling.
Bake the tart for 25 minutes, until it is lovely and golden and the roses are just starting to caramelise a little around the edges. Leave to cool a little before serving with clotted cream or ice cream.
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway.
So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you come across tomatoes like these, or are lucky enough to be green fingered and grow your own then you’ll know they’ll be packed with flavour and worthy of a bit more love than just tossing them into your Bolognese!
Look at how pretty the colours look in this tart, it’s a picture perfect summer dish. It tastes pretty wonderful too. The fennel seeds in the buttery pastry crust really bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. Delicious!
150g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
splash of ice cold water
5-6 heirloom tomatoes (different varieties if you can)
3 tbsp polenta/semolina
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
seasalt, black pepper and fresh oregano
Whisk together the flours and then lightly rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix through the salt and fennel seeds and then use a little splash of water to bring it all together to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. If you prefer then you can do all this quite quickly and easily in a food processor, which also means there’s less chance of over-working the dough and ending up with tough pastry. Wrap the dough in some cling film and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 230°c and cover a large baking sheet with some baking parchment. Wash, dry and slice the tomatoes, so that the slices are about 5mm thick. A serrated knife is the best thing to use here.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have a large roundish shape, a few millimetres thick. Carefully place this on the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the polenta or semolina (whichever you’re using) over the pastry, leaving a few centimetres gap around the edge. This will help soak up all those lovely tomato juices and stop the pastry becoming a soggy mess. Arrange the tomato slices on top, overlapping them as you go. Season really well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and then dot the surface with a little butter. Sprinkle over the parmesan and a little chopped fresh oregano. Carefully fold up the edges of the pastry, gathering it a little where you need to.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 190° and baking for a further 25 minutes. The pastry should be crisp and slightly golden when it’s done. Leave to cool to room temperature before serving.