Remember my search for the perfect dessert?
Well here’s tart No.2 from a recipe from chef Alex Herbert in this month’s ‘delicious’ magazine – an apple crostata (I didn’t have any quince paste handy so I used a luscious Lynwood Cafe fig jam instead. The crostata was surpringly light and tangy with a melt-in-your-mouth sugar pastry crust. It gets 8 1/2 out of 10. Perfect with a dollop of cream and an afternoon cuppa.
APPLE AND FIG JAM CROSTATA (serves 8)
3/4 cup fig jam
2 granny smith apples, peeled,cored, and thinly sliced
Icing suagr to dust
Thick cream to serve
200g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
2 cups (300g) plain flour, plus extra to dust
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
grated zest of one lemon
1 tspn vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
For the pastry, combine chilled butter, flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor and whiz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add lemon zest, vanilla, 1 egg and extra yolk, and pulse until dough comes together to form a ball. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently but very quickly until smooth. Enclose in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170 c and grease a loose-bottomed tart pan.
Separate two-thirds from the dough portion, then return remaining third to the freezer. (It’s important to work with the pastry while very cold.) Roll out dough on a large sheet of baking paper to 5mm think and use to line the pan. Prick base all over with a fork than freeze for 30 minutes.
Line tart case with baking paper, then fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Blind-bake for ten minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake for a further 8-10 minutes until light golden. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile on a lightly floured sheet of baking paper, roll out remaining pastry to a 25cm x 18 cm rectangle. Cut into 1.5cm- wide strips. Carefully transfer the baking paper and pastry to a tray and freeze until needed.
Spread most of jam over cooked pastry base reserving some for glaze. Lay apple in a circular pattern, starting at the edges and working towards the centre. Arrage pastry strips in a lattice pattern over apple then trim to fit.
Beat remaining egg, then brush a little over the pastry. Place pan on tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden.
Glaze the crostata with the remaining fig jam and dust with icing sugar, then serve warm with thick cream.