Apple Tart

Ingredients

For the pastry
250g/9oz plain flour
pinch sea salt
125g/4oz unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 tsp cold water
1 medium free-range egg

For the filling
15g/½oz unsalted butter
½ tbsp lemon juice
65g/2½oz caster sugar
½ tbsp Calvados
3-4 Cox’s Orange Pippin, Worcester, Russet or Braeburn apples, peeled, cores removed, each cut into 10 segments
100ml/3½fl oz double cream
1 medium free-range egg
1-2 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting

Method

1. For the pastry, pulse together the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until you reach a sandy texture. Add the egg, water and pulse again. If you over mix the dough at this stage it will lose its flakiness.
2. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with the palms of your hands for 30 seconds, or until the dough is smooth and well combined.
3. With the palm of your hand flatten the dough slightly to 1cm/½in thickness, then sandwich it between two large sheets of cling film. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C/440F/Gas 7. Place a baking tray into the oven to preheat.
5. Roll the chilled dough, still sandwiched in cling film, to a 2mm thickness. Place a 22cm/9in diameter, 2cm/¾in deep tart ring on a greaseproof lined wooden peel or baking tray. Remove the top layer of clingfilm and carefully pick up the dough, place it into the tart ring with the second layer of clingfilm facing up. Lift and tuck the dough into the edges of the ring and discard the clingfilm. By tucking in the base you will minimise the shrinking of the dough during cooking. Trim off any excess with a rolling pin.
6. Using your index finger and thumb, pinch and press the dough until it’s 2mm above the tart ring all around the edge. With a fork, prick the bottom of the tart. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, for the filling, heat the butter, lemon juice and 15g/1oz of the sugar in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the Calvados. Set aside.
8. When the tart case has chilled, arrange the apple segments in concentric circles, overlapping the apple slices as you go. Brush the apples all over with the Calvados mixture. Slide the tart ring onto the pre-heated baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
9. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6, then continue to cook for a further 20 minutes, until the pastry is pale golden-brown and the apples have caramelised.
10. Whisk together the double cream, egg and the remaining 50g/2oz caster sugar until well combined. When the pastry is pale golden-brown and the apples have caramelised, sprinkle the tart with a tablespoon of sugar and pour the custard mixture into the tart, bake for a further 10 minutes, until the filling mixture has just set.
11. To serve, remove the tart from the oven and set aside for 1 hour to cool slightly, then carefully remove the tart ring. Dust all over with icing sugar. Serve immediately.

Fluffy American Pancakes

Makes about 4 large Pancakes (you only need 2 each!!)

The Ingredients:

  • 135g plain flour
  • 130ml/4½fl oz milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) or olive oil, plus extra for cooking
  • Maple syrup & more butter (to serve)

The Method:

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
  2. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It should be a thick batter. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Serve with real maple syrup and extra butter if that’s your thing.

Variations

  1. For extra-fluffy pancakes substitute plain flour for self-raising but still use the baking powder.
  2. Add fresh blueberries to the batter mix.
  3. Serve instead with fresh strawberries and good vanilla ice cream.
  4. For a slightly more savoury option you can switch out half the plain flour for buckwheat flour and serve with maple syrup and bacon.
  5. Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to buckwheat batter and serve with sliced caramelised apple and thick double cream.

Microwave Golden Syrup Sponge

The Ingredients:

  • 100 g self raising flour
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g sugar
  • 30 ml milk
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • few vanilla essence
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of golden syrup

The Method:

Cream the butter and sugar together. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla essence. Add the flour, milk and lemon zest.
Put the golden syrup in the bottom of a two pint bowl. Spoon the mixture on top. Place in microwave (with a plate on top). Cook for 3.5 minutes on high. Serve with custard or ice cream.
(N.B. if doubling quantitites, cook for 5.5 minutes on high).

Soft center chocolate puddings

  • First, preheat oven to 220.
  • Melt together 125g of dark chocolate & butter over a gentle heat
  • Whisk together 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks and then, when light & fluffy, combine with the melted chocolate. Add 2 tablespoons of icing sugar (or was it flour? can’t remember!)
  • Pour in to tall ramakins that have been dusted inside with chocoloate powder.
  • Cook for 10 minutes and serve immediately with extra thick cream or custard.