A warm slice of apple tart can make you forget about the cold weather! But when the apple tart has a crunchy almond topping just browned in the oven over layers of gently saute’ sweet apples, well… who cares about the weather. Just enjoy it!
Apple Nougatine Tart
Ingredients for 8/10 servings:
For the sweet pastry:
- 75g (½ cup) fine polenta
- 75g (½ cup) rice flour
- 75g (2/3 cup)corn flour
- 1 heaped tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
- 150g (5 oz) butter
- 100g (½ cup) xylitol or sugar
- grated zest of 1 untreated lemon
- 1 large organic or free range egg lightly mixed with 1 tbsp runny honey and ½ tsp vanilla essence
For the filling:
- 1.4kg (3 pounds) thinly sliced organic apples with the skin still on, different variety if possible
- 100g (½ cup) xylitol or sugar
- 50g (2 oz) butter
- juice and the zest of 1 small lemon
For the topping:
- 2 large free range or organic eggwhite
- 100g (1 cup) sliced almond preferably with the skin still on
- 75g (1/3 cup) xylitol or sugar
- pinch salt
- ¼ tsp almond essence
- icing sugar
Start this recipe by preparing the pastry dough.
- Sift the rice flour, fine polenta, cornflour, xanthan gum, xylitol and salt into a bowl and mix well. Add the cubed butter and the lemon zest and rub into the flour mixture until it resemble small peas.
- Make a well in the center and carefully add the egg and honey mixture using a fork. The dough should start to come together, so discard the fork and bring into a ball with your hands. Don’t be tempted to add extra liquid at this stage. Although rather damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape in the oven.
- On a lightly rice or cornflour floured board, gently knead the dough with the heel of your hand for a few minutes to form a disk. Then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour or for up to overnight.
- To line a the tart tin, place the chilled disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking, and work quickly to prevent the dough to become warm. Lightly dust the work surface and the dough with extra flour to prevent sticking.
- Carefully transfer the rolled out pastry in the tart tin 28 inch diameter lightly greased with butter and ease it into the bottom and sides by pressing gently into place. Trim the excess dough with a knife then place the tart in the freezer for 5/10 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the freezer then line it with baking paper and fill with baking beans. To ensure better results fill the tart with baking beans up to the borders. Place in a preheated oven to 180Ã‚Â°C, 350Ã‚Â°F or gas mark4 for 20 minutes. To check how the pastry is cooking lift a corner of the paper.
- Remove the pastry shell from the oven, remove the beans and the paper and return to the oven for a few minutes more to dry the bottom.
- To prepare the apple filling start by using an heavy based saute’ pan, melt the butter on high heat, then add the xylitol and when it starts to caramelise add the apple to the pan. If you are using a smaller saute’ pan you might have to do this in batches.
- Saute’ the apple in a single layer until soft, turning them a few times with the spoon. The timing will depend on how thick you have cut the apple and from the kind of apple you are using.
- When they are softer pour them in a clean bowl then deglaze the pan by increasing the heat to high and by adding a few large tbsp of water. Scrape all the caramel and bits from the bottom, let the juice reduce and pour over the apples.
- Add the lemon juice and zest to the apples and pile them in the pre-baked pastry shell. Shake the tart to ensure an even filling and smooth the top with a spoon.
- To make the topping, combine the almond, xylitol, eggwhite, salt and almond essence in a small bowl. Spread the topping evenly over the apples, extending it to the edges of the tart.
- Bake the tart until the top is browned, about 20/25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let it cool completely before serving and sprinkle with a generous amount of icing sugar.