Tarte aux pommes

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A post-Apple day excess of fruit can feel over-whelming. This Normandy tarte aux pommes will use up three large or six small apples. Boskoop, Reinette or Granny Smith on a pleasingly thin crust.  Boskoop, originally from the Netherlands where it began as a chance seedling in 1856,  is a good apple to use here if you can get them – they are not too sweet and hold their shape well (Reinette and Granny Smith are also good). Serve the tarte on its own, just warm from the oven, or  with thick cream

 Makes 1 x 26cm (10in) tart

  • 125g (4 oz) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 125g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) our, plus extra for dusting
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons chilled water
30g (2 tablespoons) butter, melted and still warm
  • 3 not too big (about 550g) apples, such as Boskoop, Reinette or Granny Smith
  •  60g sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Calvados

To make the pastry, put the butter, flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water and mix it in until the pastry comes roughly together.

Roll out on a floured surface to a neat rectangle of about 20 x 30cm (8 x 12in). Fold one third over from the short end to cover the middle third, then fold the remaining third to cover that, as you would fold a letter. Now fold the block of pastry in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Roll out again to a 20 x 30cm (8 x 12in) rectangle and repeat the folds once more. It is now ready to use or can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days, or frozen.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

Brush some of the melted butter over the base and sides of a 26cm (10in) pie or springform 
tin and sprinkle with flour. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a circle a few centimetres (1 inch) larger than the tin diameter. Using your rolling pin to assist, lift the pastry into the tin, easing the sides down and pressing them gently against the sides of the tin. Neaten the edges of the pastry; the sides should be no more than 2cm (3⁄4 in) high.

Peel, halve and core the apples. Slice the halves into 2mm half moons and arrange over the pastry elegantly in concentric circles, starting from the outside and overlapping the slices, working tightly in circles toward the middle.

If necessary flatten the slices out with your palms and fill any spaces with left over apple slices.

Gently brush the surface all over with the warm melted butter, taking care not to drag any of the apples away from their spot. Scatter the sugar evenly over the top. Bake (with a tray underneath if using a springform tin) for about 35 minutes, until golden and caramelized in some places.

Remove from the oven and splash the Calvados here and there over the top. Bake for a further 
10 minutes or so, until burnished on the edges and glossy looking. Remove and gently loosen any sugary edges that may have stuck to the sides, using a knife.

Serve the tart warm, in slices. The pastry is fragile so take care when cutting and lifting the slices