I bought myself some baking beans yesterday, so I needed a pastry recipe to test them out. I chose a French Apple Tart recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, photos and spiel of which is below.

Ingredients:

For the Pastry
350g plain flour
150g diced butter
2 large egg yolks
a splash of water

For the Filling
900g cooking apples
50g butter
2 tbsp water
4 tbsp apricot jam
50g caster sugar
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
225g eating apples
a few squirts of lemon juice
a sprinkling of caster sugar

For the glaze
4 tbsp apricot jam

Method:

Start with the pastry, measure the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub it in your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Add the egg yolk, (and a glug of water if necessary) and bring the dough together into a ball. Wrap the ball up and leave it to chill in the fridge for half an hour.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Preheat your fan-assisted oven to 180c.

Once the pastry has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured work surface. The slower you take when rolling it out, the more chance you have to keep it all in one piece.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Use the flour to line a 20cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Cover it with baking parchment and pour on your new baking beans. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes, then remove the paper and continue to bake for another 10 minutes until the pastry at the base of the flan dish has dried out. Remove the pastry from the oven but leave the oven on.

Now to start preparing the apple filling.

Start by chopping the unpeeled cooking apples, removing the cores.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the prepared apples, followed by the butter and water, and cook gently for 15 minutes until the apples are soft. Rub the apples through a sieve into a clean pan, add the apricot jam, sugar and lemon rind.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Cook on a high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously, until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the apple mixture is thick. Set aside to cool.

Spoon the cooled puree into the tart casing and level the surface.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Peel, core and quarter the eating apples, then slice them very thinly. Arrange in neat overlapping circles over the puree, brush them with lemon juice and sprinkle over sugar.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Return the tart to the oven, and bake for 25 minutes until the edges of the apples and pastry are lightly browned.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

For the glaze, heat some apricot jam in a pan until it’s runny and brush it over the apples and pastry.

NBBO - French Apple Tart

NBBO - French Apple Tart

NBBO - French Apple Tart

Overall, it was a bit sloppy and my apple slicing could be better. This is a very sweet tart, and would be amazing eaten with some posh vanilla icecream. It’s pretty good with a brew as well to be honest!

7/10

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