Apples with a little sharpness are perfect for this custard tart.
For the pastry
- 225 gm (8 oz) plain flour
- 50 gm (1¾ oz) caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 125 gm (4¼ oz) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1 medium whole egg
- 1 medium egg yolk, beaten
For the filling
- 1 large bramley apple (see Note)
- 4 golden noble apples (see Note)
- caster sugar, to taste
- 20 gm (¾ oz) unsalted butter
- 3 medium egg yolks
- 2 medium whole egg
- 15 ml (3 tsp) clear honey
- 600 ml (22 fl oz) double cream
- 1 small red apple (see Note)
- Icing sugar
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp ground star anise
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 25 gm (1oz) butter
- a splash of brandy
- whipped cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time for pastry: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 10 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mk 4.
Rub the flour, sugar, vanilla seeds and butter together gently with your fingertips until they resemble breadcrumbs (or pulse in a food processor).
Lightly beat the whole egg and pour it onto the breadcrumb mix. Stir in with a spoon, and then bring everything together with your hands to form dough. Cover with clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Lightly grease a 20cm /8 inch loose-bottomed tart tin. Roll out the pastry into a circle 3mm / ⅛ inch thick, and 23cm / 9 inch wide. Gently ease the pastry into the tin, pressing down so there are no air bubbles. Leave 2.5cm /1 inch pastry overhanging the edge. Chill for 10 minutes.
Place a baking sheet in the oven, on the middle shelf, to preheat
Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Put the tin onto the preheated baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the paper with the beans and bake the pastry case for a further 5 minutes, so the pastry no longer looks glassy.
Carefully trim off the overhanging pastry edge level with the top of the tin, and then brush the inside of the case with the egg yolk to seal the pastry. Put the pastry case back into the oven for a further 3 minutes to cook the yolk, then remove from the oven.
For the filling, reduce the oven temperature to 170°C / 325°F / Gas 3. Peel, core and roughly slice the bramleys. Place in a pan with 1 tbsp water.
Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Sweeten with sugar to taste and beat to a puree then place the apple puree in the bottom of the pastry case.
Neatly slice the noble apples and arrange over the top of the puree.
In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks, and whole egg and honey. Place the cream in a small pan and bring to the boil. When boiling, whisk the cream into the egg mix, beating all the time. Pour into the pastry case, over the apple, and bake for 20 minutes, until the mixture has set and is golden brown. Allow to cool.
To serve, heat a non stick pan over a medium heat, and add the butter.
Slice the apple 6mm (¼ inch) thick. Once the butter begins to bubble add the apples then the spices and a little sugar and allow to cook for 2 minutes, until it begins to caramelise, then add a splash of brandy remove from the heat and serve alongside a wedge of tart and a dollop of cream.
• You could substitute Granny Smith apples for the bramleys and golden delicious or other sweet cooking apple for the golden noble. For the compote, a variety with intense flavours works well.