Right folks, I am determined to start the year as I mean to go on, which is to get more organised, more focussed and keep this bloomin’ blog up to date with delicious recipes.
Before I start, I must wish everyone a very Happy New Year, hopefully all your holiday plans went smoothly and you have some happy, cherished memories to look back on.
My new year started with me forgetting to take the joint out of the freezer on New Year’s Eve so my eating plans for New Year’s Day were altered completely. My car broke down on the 1st (new fuel pump required, just what I needed in the financially dry month of January) and my son had to to go back to the doctors to try and get to the bottom of a cough that has still not cleared up, even after two prescriptions of antibiotics. However, I’m not superstitious so thankfully I will not read anything untoward into this rather insalubrious start to 2017. Onwards and upwards I say, this year is going to be a great one!
I am going to start my blog in 2017 with one of my favourite things I cooked last year which was this unusual apple tart from a recipe book nearly as old as me called simply Good French Cooking. Written by the beautifully named Comtesse Guy de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose pen name was Mapie, it is one of my most treasured cookery books. The inscription inside, penned I assume by the giver of this festive gift to a loved one reads ‘ Christmas 1968. For better or worse, I will always eat your poison. G.P.Barnes.’ .
I often wonder who both the lucky recipient and G P Barnes were (or are) and why the book ended up for re-sale, although I am pleased it ended up on my bookshelf where it lives, happily squeezed in with the other well-loved tomes, when it’s not being read or used.
The tart is very easy to make and has the bonus of not requiring the pastry case to be baked blind. Whilst cooking, stand the tin on a baking tray which will help give your pastry bottom a nice firm crust. I must admit I was a little nervous about the recipe at the first as it seemed rather strange to be making a custard without any milk or cream, but the result is nothing less than a wonder. I would urge you to make the pastry as per the recipe, the texture compliments the filling perfectly. Remember to leave the pastry to rest in the fridge for at least an hour before using.
As it is an old recipe and ovens are all so different, 30 minutes cooking time should be used as a guideline. Allow an extra 5 minutes or so if you think it is not cooked, it should be lovely and risen when cooked, with the tart shell just shrinking away from the sides of the tin.
The only thing I have changed in the recipe is the amount of apples which originally asks for two. This did not seem enough to me, perhaps Mapie’s apples were a lot larger than mine!
- 11 ounces sifted plain flour
- 1¼ ounces sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 4½ ounces butter
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 10 ounces caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 3-4 crisp, sharp eating apples chopped into cubes
- icing sugar to finish
- Preheat oven to 400F 200c
- Make the pastry in the normal way (I whizz mine up in the food processor) and after leaving to rest roll out and line a deepish 9" buttered tart tin.
- Put the sugar into a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat until it just starts to turn brown. Pour over the sugar, stirring well then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour and beat until smooth.
- Put the diced apple in the pastry case, spread out evenly and pour over the egg mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.