Friday Food

Chapped lips, red noses, stiff fingers - yeh baby, it's getting to winter.
Which can only mean -
Bramleys, Cox's, Royal Gala, Pink Ladies, Russetts, Golden Delicious', Braeburns, Granny Smiths'....

Yes, you might get them through the year, but 'tis truly winter that allows apples to really show off their versatility. How so? Thus so:

Stewed apples, apple tarts, apple pies, apple crumble, Danish apple cake, apple strudel, rhubarb-and-apple strudel, apple-and-plum cake, apple-and-parsnip soup, spiced apple jam, apple-and-plum jam, apple-and-fig jam......oh yummmmmmmm. Expect some of these recipes in the months ahead.

French Apple Tart
Time Needed
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes

Keep Ready:
2 green apples, peeled, chopped
1 green apple, unpeeled, thinly sliced semi-circles
Puff pastry
Light muscovado (or nearest brown equivalent) sugar

Put the chopped apples in a small pot with some cinnamon and a couple of tablespoons of water. Cook on a low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, till apples turn into a soft mush. Roll out the pastry into a circle, and brush all over with butter. At this point, you can choose to make a raised ridge around the edge, or just leave it flat.

Spread the apple mush on the base. Then arrange the sliced apple semi-circles over the mush, first laying them around the outside, then moving to the middle. Brush all over with butter again, sprinkle with sugar, bake at 220C
for 25 minutes (or till the apples just start to singe).

Serve hot, with thick cream, or vanilla ice-cream.

What's nice about it:
It's an apple tart! What more do you people want?

..ok fine. It's one of the easier baked apple dishes to make, because there's no making a batter and fuss (although that is much fun too). You can get ready-made puff pastries, and that cuts down half the work. And it's the simplicity of the dish that makes it wonderful - the softness of the apples, the crisp base, and the sheer prettiness of the dish.

Focus on:
1) Using green apples - Bramleys are the best (these are the huge 'cooking' apples).
2) Getting the sugar-tartness balance right. You want to let the natural taste of the Bramleys come through, but not so much that it feels like your teeth are melting.
3) Brown sugar is preferable to white. Gives more flavour.
4) If you're not using tart apples, forget the sugar.
5) Just a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Ok, enough. Go away and make some. And if you don't - suffer, because one is sure to make some for oneself. Apple tarts this weekend! Yayayayayayayayayayay!!....ahem ... done now.

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