I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a fruit tart and this is a super-simple one to make that tastes just delicious. I’ve made different versions of this as a light summer dessert or as part of an afternoon tea and there’s never any left over! Using bought ready-rolled puff pastry takes the hard work out of it and by changing the base layer with a puree of quinces, apples or even pears and the glaze with apricot or marmalade, you can create lots of interesting versions of this simple crowd-pleaser. This will feed six to eight and takes about half an hour to prep and half an hour to bake.
- A pack of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
- 1 large cooking apple
- 2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar
- 4 dessert apples (I used Braeburn but any crisp sweet apple will work)
- 1 tablespoon of smooth apricot jam (I’ve also used marmalade to good effect)
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- Optional: 3 tablespoons of quince paste (Membrillo)
- Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Unroll the pastry onto the baking sheet, trim it a little if necessary so that it doesn’t hang over the edge. With a sharp knife, lightly score a rectangle within about 2 cm of the edge of the pastry. Be careful not to cut right through the pastry as, once in the oven, this 2cm edge will rise and form the edge of the tart. Lightly prick across and along the inner rectangle of the pastry with a fork a few times. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the base for the tart. The first time I made this, I had quince paste leftover and used that, this time I made with apple paste and it was also lovely. Peel the cooking apple and cook on a low heat with a splash of water. Cook it down until it forms a thick paste – this will take about 5 minutes. Sweeten to taste with about half of the caster sugar and allow it to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and spread a thin layer of the apple or quince paste onto the inner rectangle – this adds flavour and a base for the apples to stick to so make sure it’s not too thick and that it’s evenly spread.
- Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Quarter the dessert apples and then slice them thinly. Add them to the bowl of lemon juice as you go – this will stop the apple slices from going brown until you want to use them.
- Now you can start layering the apple slices onto the tart base. The apple pips should have dislodged when the apples were sliced but if they haven’t just remove them quickly with the tip of a sharp knife. Overlap each layer slightly as the apple slices may shrink a little during the baking process. You should have enough to make about 3 layers across. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the remaining sugar.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. The pastry should be raised around the edges and golden, the apples cooked through. Give it another five minutes if it’s not cooked but be careful not to let it burn. Remove from the oven when it’s ready.
- Whilst it’s baking, prep the apricot glaze. Melt the jam with a splash or water in a small non-stick saucepan over a gentle heat until it becomes slightly runny. Lightly brush the edges of the pastry and the apple slices with the glaze. The tart is best served at room temerature with a little cream or ice cream.
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