Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)

Dutch Apple Tart
I first tried appeltaart in Holland earlier this year and loved it. It's not traditionally served at Christmas, but I think it makes a good alternative to either Christmas pudding or mince pies.

Although I'm not very good at making pastry, this sweet pastry is quite forgiving, as you can just smooth over any holes or bumps, and you don't need to bake it blind. I've tried out two different versions; one with the traditional butter and egg enriched pastry and one with a vegan pastry. Both turned out well, so use which ever recipe you prefer.

Serves 8

Enriched pastry
  • 200g/8oz sr flour
  • 100g/4oz chilled block butter
  • 100g/4oz sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Vegan pastry
  • 200g/8oz SR flour
  • 100g/4oz chilled vegan/dairy-free spread/butter
  • 100g/4oz sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 kg/2 lbs cooking apples (unpeeled weight)
  • 50g/2oz soft brown sugar
  • 75g/3oz raisins/sultanas/mixed dried fruits
  • ½ tsp each cinnamon and mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
Make the pastry by rubbing the dairy-free spread or butter into the flour. Add the sugar and cinnamon and either an egg or a splash of dairy-free milk or water to bind. This should make a soft, but not sticky dough, so add a touch more flour if the mixture is sticky.

Chill pastry for 30-60 minutes.

Grease a loose-bottomed round 7"/18cm cake tin.
On a well-floured board, roll out the pastry to around ½ cm thick.
Cut out a circle of pastry to fit the base (use the base of the tin as a template).
Put the circle of pastry into the bottom of the tin.

Re-roll the pastry and cut 3"/7.5 cm wide strips to fit around the sides of the tin; I did this in 2 sections. Join the pastry sides to the base, by gently smoothing them together with your hands, so that no gaps can be seen. Save any scraps for later.

Peel, quarter and slice the apples, fairly thinly.
Mix the apples, dried fruit, sugar, spices and custard powder together in a large bowl.
Tip as much of the fruit as possible into the (raw) pastry case - you should have a slight dome of fruit in the centre as it will sink a little after cooking. Press down lightly.

With any scraps of pastry, roll thin strips and criss-cross these across the top of the tart. 

Bake at 190C/180C Fan/Gas 5/375 f for 50 mins-1 hour, until the apples are browning and the pastry looks quite a dark golden-brown.
Sprinkle with an extra 1 tsp sugar when it comes out of the oven.
Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before removing. Serve warm or cold. 

Suitable for freezing.

Dutch Apple Tart
Christmas/luxury version: 
Soak the dried fruits (or a mixture of luxury dried fruits and flaked almonds) in 2 tbsp brandy for at least 2 hours. Add 4 tbsp of custard powder to the apple mixture, to soak up the extra juices. 

Cut out holly leaves from the pastry scraps and lay these on top of the apple. 
Bake as above.

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