Updated: Jun 27
28 September 2021 is a special day in Norway; it's Epledagen or Apple Day, a celebration of Norwegian apples. When apple season starts in the late summer, I can't wait to start using them. I always start with jams and jellies, wine and cider. But when I've filled up the vats and jars with produce that we can enjoy throughout the winter and spring my thoughts turn to pies and tarts.
I've experimented with countless variations of apple tarts over the years and this one has constantly been given the seal of approval from my family. It's light and classically simple and I owe it to French chef, Raymond Blanc. For those aren't familiar with Raymond Blanc he is a French chef who has spent the last few decades living in England building up a formidable arsenal of restaurants, TV shows and books. His take on the traditional French style of cooking with just a few carefully chosen and high quality ingredients really appeals to my own classic French training and surprisingly it's also very similar to the very traditional dishes that you find in Nordic cooking.
You can use any kind of apples in this dish except the big, very tart Bramleys (which are generally found in the UK), simply because they don't hold their shape when cooked. I happily use whichever apple I have to hand from those from 100 year old trees to modern varieties like Pink Lady.
The apple tart is at it's very best served at room temperature with a dash of cream or some vanilla ice-cream, but it will keep very well until the next day and still be absolutely delicious.
Raymond Blanc's Apple Tart (serves 8)
For the pastry:
250g / 9 oz plain, all purpose flour
125g / 4.5 oz butter, diced at room temperature
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon caster sugar
4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
In a large bowl rub together the butter, flour and a pinch of salt with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Using a blunt knife gradually work the flour into the egg and gently knead it together into a ball. If you have had very dry weather you might need a little water to bring the pastry together. Cover with filmwrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C /425F
You will need an 18cm / 8in tart tin with a removable base, but if you don't have one a pie dish is just as good, although you won't be able to remove the tart from it.
On a floured surface roll out the pastry into a circle a little wider than your tart tin. To get it into to the tin roll it over the rolling pin and gently unroll it into the tin. Push it carefully into the edges and trim the excess pastry from around the top. If you like you can flute the edges of the pastry case by using a pinching motion.
Mix together the melted butter, lemon juice and caster sugar.
Arrange the apple slices in an attractive pattern. I like to use a classic French concentric pattern starting from the outside edge. Brush the apples with the butter mixture and dust liberally with icing sugar. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1o from minutes then reduce the temperature to 200C /400F for about a further 20 minutes, or until the apples are starting to turn a golden brown and the pastry edges are browning slightly. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing from the tart tin to serve. Serve on a pretty plate with a little jug of cream or a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Recipe from Raymond Blanc
Vær så god!
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