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French Apple Tart

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Serves: 6-8

For the pastry:
175g / 6 oz plain flour
pinch of salt
85g / 3 oz butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
25g / 1 oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk

For the filling:
9 crisp eating apples
juice of 1 lemon
50g / 2 oz caster sugar
knob of butter
175g / 6 oz apricot jam


Sift the flour and salt into a bowl or food processor. If making the pastry by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of water, then work to a dough. If using a processor, add the butter and sugar to the flour and salt; whiz for 10-15 seconds. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of water and process until the mixture forms a dough. Wrap in plastic film and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC / fan oven 180ºC / gas mark 6. Prepare the filling: peel, core and chop 6 of the apples; place in a pan. Add half the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in half the sugar and all the butter; cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring to a pulp.

Meanwhile, roll out the chilled dough and use to line a 25cm / 10 in loose bottomed flan pan. Prick the base all over with a fork. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill with a layer of beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Reduce the oven setting to 18OºC / fan oven 16OºC / gas mark 4. Peel, quarter, core and thinly slice the last 3 apples; toss the slices in the remaining lemon juice and sugar. Spread the apple puree over the pastry and arrange the apple slices on top (save the smaller apple slices for the inside circular layer of the tart as they tend to be easier to arrange). Bake for 30 minutes until golden.

Leave the tart to cool slightly, then carefully remove from the pan. Meanwhile, gently heat the jam and 1 tablespoon of water in a pan and boil for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Push the jam through a sieve into a bowl and brush this glaze evenly over the tart. Serve the French Apple Tart warm or cold.

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