Summer pudding

Summer pudding is an old-fashioned English pudding, made from bread, sugar and soft Summer fruits. It needs to be made the day before, so that it sets. Continue reading


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.