Why is it that when you want to make something sound posh, or chic, you give it a French name? I wasn't aiming for chic with this pudding - although I have to admit it did look lovely - but rather I wanted something that didn't use huge amounts of cream.
I'd volunteered to make a pudding for our Book Club meeting last night. An easy task I'd thought... but I was quite surprised how difficult it was to find recipes that didn't involves too much dairy produce. This wasn't because of any allergies, or indeed health reasons (as if!), simply that dairy products here are hard to find. They're all imported from Australia or New Zealand and they're a) expensive and b) sometimes not-quite-right, not quite what you're expecting, often because many of them are UHT.
I've recently acquired the excellent Nigella Kitchen book, and thought I'd make my first recipe from that... but nothing inspired me, mainly because every recipe in the 'My Sweet Solution' section included 300ml double cream, or 500g mascapone. So I turned to Nigella Express, a book that I rarely use, and sometimes have twinges of guilt about. (Do you ever feel like that? Guilty that you don't use certain cookbooks enough?) Anyway, I discovered the Tarte Fine Aux Pommes (Fine Apple Tart perhaps?) and decided that it fit the bill perfectly.
The recipe can be found here and I made no alterations, other than to increase the caramel sauce a little - I used a heaped tablespoon of both the butter and sugar. It was also quite slow to take on the caramel colour so I gingerly spooned in a little of the lemony water that the apples had been soaking in. It bubbled up madly - so be careful - but it did the trick, loosening the sauce a little and helping it magically to brown.
I thought that I had bought a block of puff pastry, but when I defrosted it it turned out to be 10 squares of pastry instead. I put them together like a jigsaw, sealing the edges with some beaten egg, and slicing some up to make a raised border. You can see the joins as the edges rose - all very rustic!
I cut up all 3 apples that I had bought (I used Granny Smiths) but found that 2 was plenty. The other apple was eaten uncooked, using the wedges of it to scrape the leftover caramel sauce out of the pan... Mmmmm!
We had a lovely evening at Book Club (despite no one except me liking Eat Pray Love..!?! Ah well!) and there was food galore - gorgeous curries, and several puddings. I really didn't mind having leftovers to take home though - I enjoyed a generously-cut oven-warmed slice of it this morning with a cup of coffee. It was fabulous, rather like a Danish pastry, and definitely much nicer warmed than cold. I can't honestly say that I could taste the caramel sauce very distinctly, but I think it just added to the sweet butteryness of the filling - a lovely contrast to the crispy flaky pastry. I'll definitely make this again.