Did you know?: The apples we buy as fresh have been hermetically sealed in a cold storage facility for at least a year! Cold Storage works something like this: Organic-Hermetic storage or “hermetic storage”, consists of a sealed storage system containing a modified atmosphere. This means that as a result of respiration effects there generally develops a very low Oxygen (O2), high Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The low permeability envelope maintains a constant moisture environment and stops growth or decay.
This means that the fruit we eat was picked a year ago. On Tuesday night a very good friend of mine gifted us with a box of freshly picked apples. They still have the odd leaf and the little stems were green and couldn’t just fall off or twist off in a few turns. For the first time in years I could actually smell apple. They were slightly sticky, lack-lustre and still covered in a natural waxy layer for protection.
A deep crunch as I sunk my teeth into the crispy skin followed by a sweet apple spray which landed on my nose and chest. That’s fresh. The red cheeks were perfect for eating and I included thin slices slivered into my salad. But, the green ones had to be used in a pie.
Absolutely. So out came my recipe books and then I decided to just wing it. It is mid-summer here and temperatures have soared into the 40֠C so making a short crust pastry as I would’ve like to was impossible, my homemade butter melts rapidly.
Summer Apple Pie
In the heat we experience in South Africa it’s very difficult to make a fresh batch of pastry, unless one does it in the dead of night, like my mother-in-law would’ve, I’m not that eager to please, and anyway we can purchase flaky or short crust pastry at most supermarkets. Of course homemade is probably better, if one uses excellent ingredients.
I try not to use cane sugar in my kitchen, at the moment I am using Palm Sugar which I bought in Vietnam.
I had flaky pastry in the deep freeze which I defrosted in the fridge overnight.
Preparing the Pie tin
I used my favourite tin, a loose bottomed quiche tin, ancient it is. Butter the pan. If you have a marble, granite or stone surface always work on that when working with pastry or when you're making pasta. Cool in the refrigerator. Halve the dough, return one half to the refrigerator to stay cold.
Roll the remaining piece to line the tin, make sure you have ample dough as it will shrink in the oven. I like having an overhang of about 3cm.
Line the tin.
Return to the fridge until needed. Pre-heat the oven to 180֠C
8 small to medium green apples (I like fragrant apples so would use a mix of apples not only tart Granny Smiths)
4 small to medium red apples.
15ml lemon juice
200ml palm sugar, grated (you may use your favourite sugars e.g. granulated, brown or coconut)
45ml Almond flour (you may substitute and use your normal flour)
10ml Vanilla Paste
10ml ground cinnamon
5ml freshly ground nutmeg
2,5ml ground ginger
250ml mixed nuts and cranberries (I used walnuts and almonds), blitzed, but not too finely.
1 egg, beaten for the egg wash
15ml granulated sugar (no other option)
Quarter and core apples, slice thinly, do not peel. Coat with the lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
Mix the rest of the ingredients, add to the apples. Mix well.
Spoon apple mixture into the pastry lined tin. Make sure you have the apples stacked fairly tightly to prevent holes as the apples cook and collapse. Return to the fridge.
Roll the rest of the dough to cover the top of the tart.
Cover the tart.
Brush both the edges of the dough.
Press the two layers together gently.
Fold the dough to make a decorative edge. Fold forward towards you. Make an X insition on the top for the steam to escape. With little scraps of dough make some leaves and decorated the centre.
Brush egg-wash over the top. Sprinkle the granulated sugar all over the top of the tart.
Place the tart on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for 60 minutes.
After 25 minutes cover the top of the tart with a layer of aluminium foil, shiny side out to prevent the tart from browning too much.
Remove from the oven and leave on a wire cooling rack for at least an hour before slicing and serving with a good dollop of whipped or thick cream.
TIP: Lift the cream up a notch with a dash of vanilla paste and 10ml Honey folded in lightly.
Bon Appetito my darlings.
Here is a short "how to" video, to give an idea and hopefully inspire you to bake this apple tart while apples are plentiful.