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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Translucent apple tart

The smell when this is baking is utterly DIVINE. It's just a very simple apple tart with nothing special in its ingredients, but golly gosh and darn it if it isn't mouth-wateringly fabulous.
It's another Nigella special which, like most of her recipes, is adapted from another source: this time one of the doyennes of English cookery, Jane Grigson (her daugher, Sophie, who I find rather umm...scary, has her own TV cooking shows now).
The reason for the 'translucent' in the title is because the custard filling is made using melted butter instead of cream or milk, and is similar to what those in southern USA call a transparent pie. Rather than a chunky apple pie, this is light and delicate.
The other unusual thing about it, is that the apple is grated to make the filling, which was a bit of fun. The recipe calls for 1 apple, but I found that amount to be a bit meagre, plus I had a whole bowl of apples to use. In fact, I would consider doubling the filling next time, because it actually made a very shallow tart. Good for girls watching their calorie intake, but not for filling a hungry-hole!
You'll notice my pastry is a bit overcooked; I don't know if it's because I used Nigella's sweet pastry, which is totally delicious and I challenge you to not eat it all before you cook it (it's just like raw shortbread dough...mmmmm!). It's very high in butter, and I think my oven was a bit hot; hence the burning. If you have a fan-forced oven, maybe lower the temperature a bit for this delicate tart.
Read on for the recipe:

Translucent Apple Tart
from 'How To Eat,' Nigella Lawson, adapted from Jane Grigson's 'Fruit Book'.

1 quantity of sweet pastry, enough to line a shallow 23cm flan tin.
60g salted butter
60g caster sugar
few drops vanilla extract (or use vanilla sugar)
1 egg
1-2 apples, peeled and grated - preferably sour i.e. Granny Smith.

-Preheat oven to 210C
-Melt butter and sugar together over a very low heat, so they are barely warm. Remove from stove and beat in the egg.
-Add the grated apple and stir thoroughly into the butter mixture. You may prefer to wait until last minute to peel and grate the apple, to prevent any browning.
-Pour and spread over the pastry-lined tin and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Lower the heat for 180C and cook a fruther 15-20 minutes until golden on top.
-It is best to wait until the tart has settled a little before eating it. Warm is better than hot, but cold is also good.
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  • This looks great, Niki! But would you, please, include how to make the sweet pastry also?

    By Blogger Pene, at 8/30/2006 05:05:00 pm  

  • Pene - I'm sorry, but for copyright reasons I'm a bit wary of directly copying too many recipes from the one book, as I have done with How To Eat; I do try to change the wording of the method, but it's still a grey area of copyright law. Besides, it's a good excuse to go out and get a cheap copy of How To Eat to have in your own kitchen ;-). But, basically the pastry recipe includes flour, butter, icing sugar and an egg (I think). It's made very easily by throwing everything into the food processor.

    By Blogger Niki, at 8/30/2006 05:48:00 pm  

  • Save some for me, hehe. I'm glad you explained translucent... I was wondering what that was about!

    By Blogger Belinda, at 8/30/2006 08:11:00 pm  

  • Looks delicious! I'm sure the house smelled amazing!

    By Blogger Dianka, at 8/31/2006 04:57:00 am  

  • Wow, this look great!!! I love baked/cooked apples and apple tarts/pies!
    Your description and thinking about the smell when it baed just made me droll, now I want to make this tart soon!
    I do love summer, but fall is coming and so are the nice apples! Fall screams apples to me, and on the colder days they are awesome baked! yum!

    By Blogger Ana, at 8/31/2006 06:09:00 am  

  • That's interesting - I've never heard of translucent pies before (I do consider myself a northerner, so maybe that explains it!) It sounds delicious though, and unlike anything I've ever had. It's interesting that there is so little flavoring (i.e. no spice and just a splash of vanilla).

    By Blogger Cathy, at 8/31/2006 10:47:00 am  

  • Hey Niki!

    Looks great! I've made this too, and really loved it. It's the best apple pie in HTE, in my opinion.

    Yeah, I think one normal apple's not enough because Nigella says to use Bramleys, which are like massive mamma apples. I usually use 2-3 normal granny smiths for 1 bramley.

    xox Sarah

    By Blogger Sarah, at 9/01/2006 02:31:00 am  

  • This tart looks so much like the one my grandmother used to make. She passed away last year but would be her apple tart to EVERY dinner. I never could get the recipe so I am thrilled about finding yours. I love your blog and we loved the Nutella cake!

    By Blogger Helene, at 9/01/2006 03:14:00 am  

  • Bramleys are way bigger than Granny Smiths.

    I like Sophie! She has the strength of her opinions ;)

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