Is it apple pie or is it "pie" in general that is such a comforting idea⁄ I am not sure. I do not think that the more European apple tart carries the same "homey" feel, although it is equally delicious. Having just returned from travelling in England, France and the United States, I can report that apple pies and tarts are still on almost every menu.
3 tbsp sugar
12 large crab-apples, quartered, pips removed, skin left on, or 4 dessert apples, each cut into sixths, peeled, pips removed
1 sheet pre-rolled butter puff pastry
2 x 12cm diameter tartlet tins without loose bottoms
Preheat oven to 220C.
Invert tins onto the pastry sheet and cut around them for the base of the tarts.
Melt butter and sugar together in a small pan, stirring until sugar has dissolved and is a light caramel colour. Tip in apples and cook over low heat, covered, for about 3-5 minutes for crab-apples (or 8-10 minutes for dessert apples) until just softening at the edges and shiny. Spoon pieces of apple, rounded side down, into the tins. Top with another layer of apple, rounded side up. The tins should be tightly packed with fruit and the top should be fairly level. Spoon over all caramel juices from the pan.
Lay on pastry rounds and tuck edges down the sides of the tins. Place tins on a tray and in the oven. After 10 minutes reduce temperature to 200C. Bake a further 10 minutes or until pastry is deep-gold and thoroughly cooked. Remove tarts from the oven and allow to settle for at least five minutes. Place serving plate over tart and invert carefully. Lift off tin. Serve with the best cream.
This recipes is featured in the book, Autumn which is available now in all good bookstores RRP $34.95. To order direct call 1300 656 059 or visit www.smh.com.au/store