The days are getting colder and darker but autumn fruits are ripening. The trees are laden with pears, apples of all varieties and plums, not to mention quince and medlars which make wonderful amber hued jellies. And the crab apples of course, I have a lovely deep red variety growing ( don’t ask me which ) which makes a really stunning jelly in colour and flavour .
I’m from the orchard county of Armagh so for me one of the best ways to make the most of the Bramley apples is a simple but delicious apple tart with a melt in the mouth pastry contrasting with the sharpness of the apples. Bramley apples are the best for tarts owing to their softness as they cook , definitely no need to precook ! Much better to slice the apples in raw.
This is my recipe . Tried and tested for many years.
9 oz plain flour
4 ½ oz butter
1 teaspoon icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg + 1 tablespoon cold water
3 large Bramley apples
Demerara sugar about 3oz
1 x 10” plate
Preheat oven to 180C
To make the pastry put the flour in a bowl, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and salt.
Beat the egg with the water and add, mix in with a knife and bring together with your hand. It may need a little more water.
There should be just enough liquid to make the mixture come together.
Alternatively, using a food processor, blitz the flour and butter together with the sugar and salt. Add the egg mixture and blitz until it just starts coming together.
Divide the pastry in two and wrap in cling film, rest in the fridge for about 15 -20 minutes.
The resting allows the gluten in the flour to relax so that the pastry is easier to roll out.
On a floured surface, roll out half of the pastry just large enough to fit the plate.
Roll the pastry up on the rolling pin and then lay on the plate (no need to grease).
Peel the apples and slice directly on to the pastry, add the sugar and a good sprinkling of cinnamon.
Roll out the other half of the pastry, dampen the edges of the pastry on the plate with water and using the rolling pin, lay the other piece on top.
Press down around the edges and then crimp the edges together with a knife to seal.
Cut a little hole in the top.
Place on a tray and then bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes until light golden brown.
Dust with caster or icing sugar before serving.