I quite like to eat apples. They are especially good when eaten on a hike or out in nature. For some strange reason, they just taste better outdoors to me. Maybe its because they travel well and don’t get squashed in the bag. For the most part, I eat them because they are high in fibre, low in GI and generally a healthy option in terms of fruit. When it comes to baking with them, they totally rock my world.
Apple pie, apple crumple, apple cake, or pretty much any baked apple thing is high up on my favourite list. I remember reading about a survey that asked top chefs what their favourite dessert was and the highest vote came in at apple pie.
I generally prefer a crumble, which is more of a dessert, because I find the pastry at the bottom and the top a bit much. Id rather have more of the delicious pie filling and less of the fatty unhealthy part. Crumble tops are also much crunchier than pastry and thus offer a perfect textural contrast to the soft warm apple filling.
I love Tru-Cape Apples which are grown locally and are of the highest quality. The producers of these apples grow a wide range, some better for eating, others fantastic for baking. My all-time favourite eating apple is the Pink Lady. It’s tart and sweet and I love to bake with it too. It tends to hold its texture. Golden Delicious is the other apple variety I love to bake with.
So when Tru Cape sent me a box of apples a while ago, I was inspired to get into the kitchen.
This recipe is a little bit of a cheat, in that the puff pastry is bought. I learned how to make the stuff from scratch at Hotel School, but can’t see myself ever making this again. There really is no point when you can now get an all butter puff pastry from Woolworths. Not a lard laden, or part butter puff, but a real, all butter kind. Its lovely. Fattening, but lovely.
It comes in a box with 2 sheet squares already rolled out, so you don’t even have to thaw and unroll. You simply thaw in the fridge, take out a sheet and use it. Each box contains 2 x 250g sheets of pastry. It could not get any easier.
I wanted maple flavour with my rustic apple tart because I simply love it. Maple and pecan croissants are my all-time favourite, so I was trying to create a bit of that. The pecan nuts give another dimension and add crunch. Don’t worry that it’s a bit messy and the syrup runs all over the place, it’s rustic.
What you will need to make 2 tarts using 2 x 250g of pastry.
- 2 x sheets of all butter puff pastry
- 4 apples of your choice (I used Pink Lady)
- 4T dark brown sugar (I like treacle sugar)
- another 4 T dark brown sugar to sprinkle over the top
- about 1/4 cup of maple syrup and a drizzle more if necessary at the end. I used the real deal here
- a handful of roughly chopped raw pecan nuts
- a dusting of icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lay the thawed pastry sheets out and score them about 2 cm from the outside edge making sure you don’t cut all the way through. This is going to create the edge for your tart. Peel, core and finely slice the apples. Toss the slices in the bowl with the brown sugar and maple syrup. Arrange the sliced apples evenly over the inner part of the pastry, in roughly 2 layers.
Try and be a bit neater than what I did, the apples shrink, so it’s good to overlap a bit. You will find some of the maple syrup stays behind, so keep that for later. Scatter over the chopped pecan nuts and sprinkle the other 4 tablespoons of sugar over the top.
Bake the apple tarts for 20 – 25 minutes until the sides have puffed up. Drizzle the leftover maple syrup over the tarts, dust with icing sugar and serve.
These are perfect with maple-flavoured whipped cream dolloped on top or served with vanilla ice cream.
This is a lovely easy dessert to knock up over the holiday season.
I look forward to connecting with you again