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Toffee Apple Tart

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of David Loftus

This is a fantastic dessert that I love to make for friends as they can’t get enough of it. The combination of toffee and apples is a fairground classic but feel free to try it with pears, bananas, even strawberries.

Serves8

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timehalf-day

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentfood processor

Mealdinner

Moodblue

Taste and Texturebubbly, buttery, creamy, crisp, fruity, juicy, rich, sweet

Type of Dishdessert, fruit, tart

Ingredients

  • Optional: 1 vanilla pod
  • 125g/4 ½ oz butter
  • 100g/3 ¾ oz icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  • A small pinch of salt
  • 255g/9oz flour
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cold milk or water
  • 2 x 397g tins of condensed milk or 2 jars of Merchant Gourmet Dulce de Leche toffee
  • 4 medium-sized cooking apples
  • 2 heaped tablespoons icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)

Instructions

Put your unopened tins of condensed milk in a high-sided pan, covered with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer constantly for about 3 hours with a lid on top. It’s very important to remember to keep checking the pan, as you don’t want it to boil dry – otherwise the tins will explode. It will give you the most amazing toffee. Put the tins to one side and allow to cool.

First of all, you need to make your pastry. Score down the length of the vanilla pod, if using, and remove the seeds by scraping a knife down the inside of each half (keep the pod for making vanilla sugar). Cream together the butter, icing sugar and salt and then rub in the flour, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and egg yolks – you can do all this by hand or in a food processor. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the cold milk or water. Pat and gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, then flour it lightly and roll it into a large sausage shape – don’t work the pastry too much otherwise it will become too elastic and chewy, not flaky and short as you want it to be. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.

Remove it from the fridge, slice it up and line a 28cm/11-inch tart mould with the slivers. Push them together, then tidy up the sides by trimming off any excess. Place the tart mould into the freezer for an hour. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4, then take the pastry case out of the freezer and bake for around 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and place to one side. Peel and quarter the apples and remove the cores, then slice finely and toss in the icing sugar. Smear the caramel from both tins of condensed milk over the pastry. Place the apples on top and pour any remaining juices over. Cook at the bottom of the preheated oven for about 40 minutes to give you a crispy base and bubbling toffee over the apples. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Beautiful!

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I made this with bosc pears and a pate brisée crust instead of the crust in the recipe. Crust ------- If you're going to substitute a different pastry recipe, remember to line the crust with foil and weights before you prebake it. Otherwise it may collapse and shrink. The pastry crust in this recipe behaves differently, I assume because of the egg yolks. I did make this crust for Jamie's Chocolate and Pear Tart, also on Cookstr, and found that it took much longer than 15 minutes to blind-bake. It remained translucent and raw-looking for maybe as long as 25 minutes. Didn't shrink or melt at all. Filling --------- My toffee did not look as thick as that in the photo, and it became even more liquid after baking; I might try boiling the tins longer next time. My tart might also have benefited from baking longer. There was no rendered juice to pour in over the pears, but I would *not* recommend doing this, even if there is. It's runny enough. Overall, I found this tart a bit too sweet. Strawberries would, I think, be overwhelmed by the toffee. Extremely tart apples might be just the thing for it, however.

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