Caramelized Apple Tarts
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
225 g/8 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon icing sugar
½ teaspoon salt
150 g/5 oz unsalted butter, chilled and diced Pastry cream
2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 strip of lemon zest
1 tablespoon Calvados
40 g/1 ½ oz butter
1 tablespoon caster sugar
3 Cox's apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
icing sugar for dusting
To make the pastry, beat the lemon juice and egg with 2 tablespoons iced water, then chill until thickened. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a bowl, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the chilled liquid and stir until the mixture binds to form loose dough. Turn out and knead lightly until smooth. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.Roll out one-third of the pastry (chill or freeze the rest for later use) and use to line four individual fluted tart tins. Bake blind for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
To make the apple puree, stew the Bramleys gently in a heavy-based pan with the sugar, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon water until the apples collapse and form a dry, thick puree. Add the Calvados, then taste and add a little more sugar if necessary.
Turn the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7.
To make the apple topping, heat the butter and sugar in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon water until dissolved. Bring to the boil. Add the apple slices and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft and coated with syrup.
Divide the pastry cream between the tart bases and top with 1 tablespoon of apple puree. Overlap the apple slices on top. Bake for 10-12 minutes. If the edges are not golden brown, dredge lightly with icing sugar and caramelize with a blow torch or under a hot grill. To serve, dredge lightly with sifted icing sugar.