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Recipe for Italian apple tart or flan avec a French tart speciality

Updated on November 9, 2016
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Italy and its food is something that Tony treasures. His recipes are filled with passion and a love of food.

with a little fresh cream
with a little fresh cream

A Delicious Sweet Surprise

Today I have for you a sweet surprise, in fact I have two, the first is an Italian favourite called torta di mele the second is a French apple tart both of them I flavoured with Calvados apple liqueur. My friend Fabio comes round most weeks and we share our recipes, his family originate in Tuscany whilst mine are all Yorkshire people. This means that we get a great variety of recipes and we both use our grandmother’s recipe books for inspiration. I’m not a great one for making sweet dishes, but most of my family enjoy sweets, and it is fair to say that my wife enjoys the puddings and the sweets more than the main dish itself.

Enjoy It together With your Family

So first, let’s start with my old friend Fabio’s dish which he calls torta di mele. When we have these cook nights we chat about all kinds of things, but mostly our childhoods and the difference between being raised in England and Italy; I think they have more sense of family than we do.

Ingredients for Your Apple Pie

So here is what you need

200ml natural yoghurt

150g plain white flour

120g caster sugar

3 eggs

3 tbsp olive oil

One lemon use both the zest and the juice.

2tsp Powered yeast

Six eating apples. Something like Cox’s pippin, or even the aromatic pink lady.

1tbsp of Calvados

Peal the apples and submerge in a mix of lemon juice and water, this will prevent them turning brown. Cube and core 4 apples and then core and slice the other apples.

The mix is easy, In a large bowl mix together the yoghurt, flour, sugar, eggs, oil, grated lemon zest, yeast and your chopped apples. Give them a good stir to make sure the apples are fully mixed in.

Grease and flour a cake tin and put the remaining sliced apples in the bottom, placing them in decreasing circles. Sprinkle them with calvados and caster sugar.

Pour the mixture on top and put in to a preheated oven at 180°C for thirty minutes or until it looks set.

Fabio said his grandmother would make four of these to accompany Sunday lunch when the local apples were just ready to pick, and not a morsel would be left by the end of the day.

ready for the oven
ready for the oven
look inside, chunks of apple in a delicious custard
look inside, chunks of apple in a delicious custard

Dust the surface with icing sugar before serving. This tart is delicious just warm, but you can also be eat it hot with vanilla ice cream, or cold with hot custard. We had some delicious fresh cream to top ours; I wonder what you will choose?

Next time it will be with vanilla ice cream, not because it is better, but I just want an excuse to cook another of these tarts.

I promised you two puddings, being a man of my word [obviously not a politician] I offer you this as a second helping.

What is Calvados

Calvados, is a French brandy, and is derived from, apples. But beware: overindulge in this fruit-flavored spirit and you may be in for a whopping headache and hangover.

So, when Fabio and I had finished making the Italian apple tart it was obvious we could use up some of the spare apples we had with another dish. When I worked a summer in Normandy France, I tried an apple brandy named after the adjacent province called Calvados. A beautiful region, which incorporates some of the Channel Islands, anyway they are well renowned for this brandy. However, beware it is a little like scrumpy made from apples it has a kick like a mule. I learned this recipe there and I have made a couple of little changes but I’m sure you will like them.

How to Make a Pastry Base

So, first of all we need to make a pastry base and for this you need to mix together;

250gm plain flour, 125gm of unsalted butter, a pinch of salt, an egg and enough water to make a dough.

Knead it all together on an oiled board until it forms a nice dough. [I use an oiled board rather than sprinkling with flour to stop the dough tightening up with the extra flour. Flatten out the dough and put it in the fridge for thirty minutes or so.

pinch the dough until it is 2mm above the tart ring
pinch the dough until it is 2mm above the tart ring

You need a flan dish, I use the ones with the removable bottom, easier and less prone to accidents than a solid dish. Grease it with a little butter and then put aside ready for the dough.

Roll out your dough until about 2mm thick and carefully lay it over your tin, make sure that you exclude any air from beneath it and that you fit it snugly into the tin. Now pinch the dough so that it stands proud of the tin by about 2-3mm, this gives you a little more depth to the pastry and helps it cook. Place it into the fridge until your filling is ready.

cut them into slices
cut them into slices

Cool Hands

Fabio is a better pastry cook than me; I think it is because my hands are too warm; you need cool hands for pastry. I usually rinse them with cold water before I start.

Another friend of mine was recently at her cottage in France and she brought me back some Calvados just for this recipe. Don’t worry if you don’t have any just use ordinary brandy instead.

In a saucepan, you need to melt about 15g of butter and add to it a squeeze of lemon juice, 25g caster sugar and the real kicker 1tbsp of the brandy. Stir until you have a smooth mix. Turn off the heat.

In a bowl mix; 1 egg, 100ml of double cream, and 30g of caster sugar.

Remove the pastry from the fridge ready to assemble your tart.

How Do I Make This Pie

Peel and core 4 apples and place in water with a little lemon juice to prevent them discolouring while you work. Cut them into segments and arrange them in circles. Then sprinkle with a little sugar and pour your cream mix over the top.

Bake in the oven for ten minutes at 220C gm7 and then reduce the heat slightly to 200C gm6 for about twenty minutes or until the pastry looks cooked.

I really do hope that you will try these two recipes and let me know what you thought of them. Please leave a comment and tell me if you like my style of writing and my recipes.

made for ice cream.
made for ice cream.

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