Tuesday 23 September 2008

Recipe: Apple and Peach Tarts

A variation on classic French Apple Tart, this was an 'invention' from several weeks ago, when I discovered at the back of the crisper drawer a single peach which had somehow escaped notice and was very clearly at the 'use it or lose it' stage of its existence. Apple tarts were on the menu for supper that night, and - Scottish blood to the fore - I merely added the peeled and diced fresh peach to the chopped apple that was being cooked down to make the purée base for the tarts....and the result was quite splendid! The peach flavour doesn't shout at you, but, as with so many great combinations of unexpected ingredients, it adds an extra dimension to the finished dish which makes it richer and more delicious, and lifts it to a significantly higher level than the penny-plain version.

For two individual tarts.

Ingredients: 2 sheets of Phyllo Pastry, each 12" x 6"; 3 oz Butter; 2 tablespoons of flaked Almonds; 2 Apples; 2 peaches; grated rind of a Lemon (or a few drops of Lemon Oil); quarter of a cup of Sugar (or equal volume Splenda); half a teaspoon of ground Nutmeg; a generous tablespoon of Brandy.


1. Melt 1 oz of the Butter; use this to brush the sheets of Pastry, and cut each sheet into two squares. Grease (or Trennwax) two individual false-bottomed tart tins, and line each with a square of pastry, tucking the edges in all around. Divide the flaked almonds between the two tart bases and sprinkle them evenly, then use the remaining squares of pastry to make a second layer within each tart tin, and again tuck them evenly in around the edges. Fill the pastry shells with weights and bake blind for five minutes in a pre-heated 200 degree C oven, then remove the weights and bake for a furter three minutes or so, until the pastry is well browned. Remove from the oven while you prepare the filling.

2. Peel and core one and a half of the apples; dice the flesh and put into a saucepan, along with the diced flesh of the peeled and stoned peaches. Cover and cook over a low heat for twenty minutes or so, stirring from time to time.

3. Once the fruit has collapsed, remove the lid from the pan, turn the heat up, and add all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the reserved half apple. Cook, stirring all the time, for about ten minutes, until a thickish purée has been achieved. Divide this between the two pastry shells. Peel and core the remaining apple, and cut in two; very finely slice the two apple quarters, such that the slices retain the shape of the un-cut apple quarter, and then fan these out, and lay each quarter on top of one of the tarts.

4. Bake in the ot oven for another twenty minutes or so, until the edges of the apple slices begin to brown.

5. Allow to cool from the oven, and serve either still warm or else completely cold, along with a generous spoonful of whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream.

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