I still use her basic pastry recipe, here with a slight variation of egg and a little icing sugar to make it a slightly sweet and richer pastry than her recipe which is a half-pound of flour to a quarter-pound of butter or margarine, and a little cold water to bind.
There is something very satisfying and a little virtuous in cooking with fruit from the garden: seeing it through from blossom in May to harvest in Autumn, picked by yourself (or hubby or son!) and safe in the knowledge that no airmiles were harmed in the making of this wonderful treat!
- I always bake pastry in a metal pie dish or flan tin rather than in a glass or ceramic dish; something to do with better heat conduction and it certainly makes the pastry base crisp and prevents soggy bottoms - always desirable in pies and children!
- You don't need to bake the pastry base "blind" before adding the apples.
- When assembled, bake immediately or put uncooked pie in the fridge (refrigerator) to ensure perfect pastry.
- Remember - minimal handling and cold ingredients are keys to perfection - that's why purists will use marble rolling pins and pastry slabs - I don't go to such lengths but there's method in such madness!
Apple Tart (with Sweet Shortcrust Pastry)
1. Add butter to flour, chop up with knife and rub in with fingers to crumbly texture.
6. Fill pastry base with sliced peeled cooking apples - Bramleys are best I think!
7. Add 5-6 whole cloves if you like the flavour.
9. Roll enough pastry to cover the tart - use water on edges to stick pastry top to base.
12. Decorate top with pastry leaves if you feel creative!
13. Bake in top half of pre-heated oven (190 degrees Centigrade/375 degrees Fahrenheit) until golden brown, then move to lower half, reduce heat and bake for another 15-20 mins., totally about 35-40 mins.
Photo: Ready to pop in the oven!
Serve hot or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy guilt-freely and don't think about counting calories!!!