As pastry’s my favourite thing to make, it seems appropriate that it’s in my first real post. This particular tart came about when I was trying to figure out what to do with some leftover hazelnut pastry that I’d made to go with Simon Hopkinson’s chocolate tart (Like Julie, I found the recipe in The Art of the Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis). Googling “hazelnut and” brought back lots of results, including some with apples. Happily, someone brought a load of windfall Bramley apples to work the same day I found this out. Decision made! I’ve made loads of apple tarts before, so I wanted to be brave and try making up my own. Unusually, I made it med-week, after a particularly stressful day at work.
I looked at The Art of the Tart for inspiration again; it has a whole section on apple tarts. But I decided I would be adventurous and try something wholly my own this time. *Ahem* Possibly a bad decision… Anyway, I borrowed the idea for half-cooked, half-uncooked apples from Day-Lewis, and started by making a bit of applesauce, just adding cinnamon and nutmeg.
Then I rolled out the pastry and blindbaked the pastry. One of the things I am worst at is lining the pan – I always, always have holes and tears from moving the pastry off the counter and into the pan, so there are always patches, etc in the final pastry case.
I added a layer of uncooked sliced apples, and then for whatever reason decided I wanted to add a bit of caramel. This is when things started to go a bit wrong. I thought I wanted a bit of apple flavour in it as well, so made the not-so-brilliant choice to attempt making a caramel sauce in a saucepan with apples. Top tip: don’t do this!
Unsurprisingly, I think this added a lot of moisture, which meant that the caramel didn’t set at all. I also added loads of brown sugar and a couple of teaspoons of caster sugar, so the whole tart was much too sweet. On the plus side, the apples absorbed some of the caramel, which made them quite yummy. Here’s what the final tart looked like:
I know it actually looks decent, but the reason it’s so brown is purely down to the amount of sugar I used. You can also see the liquid around the edge, which never did disappear or set. This made for some quite soggy pastry!
Okay, it’s not a complete fail, but it’s definitely not what I was trying to make. I’ve been eating it in a bowl with double cream. It’s too sweet to eat on its own, really, but it is nice with the cream. With all the liquid, there is no chance of eating it in actual tart form. That’s probably the most disappointing part – you can’t taste the hazelnut pastry at all.
The next time I try this, I will be much more precise, take the time to look up a caramel recipe, and use a lot less sugar.