Tarte aux pommes

Classic French apple tarts are a different thing to the British apple pie. Both are good in their own ways but I like the pastry underneath the fruit most of the time and there is something about a tarte aux pommes that just appeals to me.

You really need to use puff pastry to get the right effect, although a buttery shortcrust pastry is nice too and your apples need to be thinly sliced, a mandoline helps with getting all the slices cut neatly and to a uniform thickness.

Shop-bought puff pasty is fine, I think.

I rolled out the pastry and lined a buttered flat baking sheet with a lip at the edge. You can use a fluted tart pan with a removable base if you want a round tart.

The pastry was sprinkled with caster sugar and the apples layered on top in a kind of fish scale pattern. Then I sprinkled icing sugar on top and baked the tart at about Gas Mark 6/180 C until the pastry was golden.

Then, I used a blowtorch to sear the top, it caramelised the sugar and apple juices and gave the fruit a nice cooked look.

You can glaze the finished tart with some apricot jam diluted in hot water and sieved to make a smooth syrup or you can leave it as it is and maybe flambé the tart with Calvados before serving it with crème fraiche.

I had some blackberries, which I cooked down with sugar and some Crème de Cassis and then sieved to make a smooth blackberry coulis to serve with the tart.

Apple and blackberry is a classic combination and this was a twist on the usual way of cooking the two fruits together.

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