The apple tart is a classic, it’s easy to make and puts a smile on almost anybody’s face. In this recipe however, I gave it a twist by adding a layer of brittle, or nougatine, at the bottom and sprinkling some more on top. The sweet, nutty flavours of the brittle perfectly balance the tartness of the apples. I made this brittle and apple tart as a treat for my birthday, there were only two of us at the party and, surprisingly (?), there wasn’t much tart left at the end of the day.
To make a brittle and apple tart, you need:
- 2 dessert apples
- 250 g plain flour
- 50 g icing sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 150 g butter, cut into cubes at room temperature
- 175 g granulated sugar
- 150 g nuts of your choice (I used macadamia nuts, peanuts and walnuts because that's what was left in my cupboard)
- Flavouring of your choice (I used a few drops of vanilla extract but this is optional, e.g. cinnamon to add a christmassy twist)
For the shortcrust pastry
- Sift together the flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Make a well in the middle and add the butter. Rub with the tip of your fingers until you get a sand-like texture.
- Add 3 tablespoons of very cold water and form into a dough in the bowl. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. You can also make the dough the day before.
To make the brittle
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a saucepan, put together the sugar, flavouring (if using) and 6 tablespoons of water. Heat gently on a low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Once the sugar has melted, increase the heat to high and let the sugar bubble for around 10 minutes until it turns to a medium golden brown colour.
- Add the nuts to the sugar and swirl the pan around (rather than stirring) until all the nuts are covered with the caramel. Be careful because the caramel will be very hot.
- Pour the mixture onto your baking sheet and let it rest for at least 30 minutes until cold and rock solid.
- Once it has set, break the brittle into the little bits and put them in a food processor. Blend until the brittle has become a fine dust.
To assemble the tart
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Lightly dust a piece of baking paper, large enough for a 24 cm-diameter tart, with flour.
- Roll out the dough on the paper and then place an app. 24 cm-diameter plate on it and cut around it to get a regular circle (if you have a lot of dough left over, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days and use it to make individual tarts or use it straight away to decorate your tart).
- Spread about 3/4 of your ground brittle on the dough.
- Peel and core 2 apples. Slice them finely and arrange them, any way you want, on your dough. You might need 1 more apple to cover the whole tart.
- Gently slide the tart onto a baking tray and bake for around 30 minutes until it starts going golden.
- Once baked, sprinkle the remaining ground brittle on top and serve warm.
I actually believe that this tart is best served slightly warm without any custard or ice cream. But I understand if the temptation is too big...