Bank Holiday Bramleys

Bramley apple tree, Norflok
Lovely fruit ready to be picked from the tree

The weekend before last we visited my boyfriend’s parents in the Norfolk countryside. Like always, this involved copious amounts of wine, late night chatting and lovely food. On this occasion we were treated to local sweetcorn, plums and Cromer crab. As diverse as East London is and the variety of food available to us, it’s not always easy to source seasonal British produce like we had in Norfolk at a reasonable price. We were definitely spoiled.

I was also lucky to be given a generously sized bag of Bramley apples freshly picked from a tree in their garden. Previous gifts have included elderflowers with which I made a batch of cordial earlier in the summer. We are unfortunately coming to the end of our final bottle and will have to wait until next year to replenish our supply.

Haul of Bramley apples
My haul of Bramley apples

We returned to Hackney on the Sunday evening and due to the usual work/yoga/gym commitments during the week I was not able to put the apples to good use until Friday when I used Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for an apple and olive cake to take over to a friend’s place. It’s a tried & tested recipe that I found on another food blog called Eat the Right Stuff and has yet to disappoint.

Ottolenghi's apple & olive oil cake
Ottolenghi’s apple & olive oil cake

But I also wanted to make something new and decided on trying an apple tart. I cheated slightly by using ready made puff pastry, but I had some in the freezer calling out to be used (maybe next time I’ll try making my own). Other than the peeling, coring and chopping of the apples it was relatively straight forward. In future I will probably use one more apple for the topping than I did this time as I think the slices could do with being more densely packed. I took it over to my parents for lunch on Sunday and we ate it warm with vanilla ice-cream.

Apple Tart (serves 6 greedy, or 8 non greedy people)

Bramley apple tart
Bramley apple tart
320g puff pastry
8 small/medium Bramley apples
Juice & zest of 2 lemons
140g demerera sugar
1 free range egg
Large knob of butter
1-2 tbsp demerera sugar for sprinkling

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Peel, core and roughly chop 5 of the apples. Place them in a large saucepan with the juice and zest of the lemons, and the demerera sugar. Cover and place on a medium heat, bring it to the boil and then simmer until the apples are soft and falling apart. Take off the heat, and whisk to a puree. Check the sweetness, and add more sugar if too tart. You don’t want it too sweet if eating with ice-cream. Leave aside to cool.

Place the puff pastry on a lined or buttered baking sheet. Roll out beforehand if necessary to a thickness of 4-5mm. Score lightly with a sharp knife 1cm inside the pastry edge. Separate the egg, beat the yolk and brush the pastry with this. Wait a couple of minutes and repeat. Beat the remaining egg yolk with half the white and whisk this into the warm apple puree.

Peel, core and thinly slice the remaining 3 apples. Put the knob of butter in a small pan and while it’s melting spoon the apple puree onto the pastry keeping inside the scored edge. Arrange the apple slices on top, brush with the melted butter and finally sprinkle with demerera sugar. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the apples are golden.

Once out of the oven, you could heat some apricot jam with water to make a glaze for a more professional look, but I was out of time and it tastes the same either way!


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