Saturday, May 19, 2007

Orange and Apple Tart Recipe

Jane Grigson's recipe for an orange tart, brings sunshine to a rainy day

Venturing out of the culinary doldrums today, I decided to carry on with the fruit theme I seem to have been pursuing recently and try out a recipe from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book for an Andalusian tart. The rain had been howling horizontally outside all morning, even finding its way into the house, as the force of the wind drove it back up the corrugated roof and in through normally adequately sealed joins. Dogs moped dismally outside on the stoep, banished from the house for their damp smell and the bucketloads of sand that cling to damp coats and get redistributed around the house. Children devised elaborate rules for indoor cricket, in which youngest was grudgingly allowed to participate as fielder and then, magnanimously allowed to bat with a 10 ball grace period. The wielding of the cricket bat in front of the glass-paned doors caused a few qualms, despite the soft ball and underarm bowling, but the prospect of the alternative scenario had I banned it, of children drooping around dismally too, was enough to make me turn a blind eye. So instead I set out to bake purely for fun and interest, a novelty right now and therapeutic too.

This tart is in her Oranges section, which I was riffling through looking for a remembered recipe that I could use for the next WTSIM event, the theme of which is stuffed fruit and vegetables. (I found it – a recipe for a tangerine sorbet that is frozen in the tangerine skins. I’m going to try it out this week and will post the recipe then.) This tart jumped out at me. I love simple fruit tarts....I love pastry altogether really, but only usually make it for a treat. This recipe simply combines apple and orange in the filling, without any egg or butter, and turned out very flavourful and not too rich. The pastry holds that element of butter and richness that makes it a proper ‘pudding’ and the fruit just shows itself off to perfection. I wasn’t sure if it would be well received by the family, but they all loved it and had seconds. The only thing was that it was difficult to cut through the whole orange slices elegantly. I might try doing overlapping half slices next time.

Jane Grigson is of the old school of cookery writers who expect you know a modicum of basics and just tells you to use a sweet shortcrust pastry base and add some grated orange zest. I turned to Nigella Lawson’s sweet pastry recipe and foolproof method from How to Eat, that I use for my favourite apple tart of hers.

Sweet Pastry Recipe

120g plain flour
30g icing sugar
80g butter
1 egg yolk
grated zest of one orange

Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a dish with the cold butter cut into cubes. Put it all into the freezer for 10 minutes. Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon iced water and a pinch of salt and put into the fridge until you’re ready to go. After the 10 minutes are up, put the flour mixture into the food processor and blitz until it looks like fine crumbs. Add the egg mix and orange zest and blitz again. Cautiously add more iced water, drop by drop until the pastry starts coming together. Scoop it out and into a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for half an hour. Then roll out to fit a 23 cm flan dish.

Orange and Apple Tart Filling

500g/1 lb eating apples
2 large oranges, preferably seedless
3 tablespoons apricot jam
juice of half a lemon

I used Golden Delicious, but here they do actually have a flavour.Use any good flavoured eating apples, Jane Grigson recommends Cox’s or Bleinheim Orange.

Peel, core and slice the apples. Boil all the peel and cores in 1 cup/ 1/4 litre of water to extract the flavour. I peeled the apples straight into the water, so that by the time I’d finished coring and slicing, it had had long enough boiling and the slices weren’t sitting around going brown. Strain the water into a shallow pan and cook the apple slices in it gently, turning them in the water. Cook until they are soft and most of the water has evaporated, turn up the heat at the end if necessary. Mash the apples with sugar to taste, depending on the sweetness of the apples.

Peel the oranges to the quick, getting rid of all the white pith and the outer membrane, and slice them thinly, taking out any pips.

Blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes at 200C/400F. (Nigella has a great section on her method of doing this in How to Eat.) Spread the apple puree evenly in the case, then arrange the orange slices on top. Bake at 200C/400F for 15 minutes. While it is cooking boil up the apricot jam with the lemon juice to make a glaze. Once the pastry is nicely browned take the tart out and brush with the glaze. Serve hot, warm or cold. We had it warm with vanilla ice cream, due to a lack of cream, but I think cream would be better, though the children would definitely disagree!

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