An elegant, crowd-pleasing classic made from simple ingredients. You can substitute peaches or nectarines now they're in season, but cut the slices a bit thicker and don't cook for as long.
375g puff pastry (homemade or bought)
3 Golden Delicious apples
juice of half a lemon
40g softened unsalted butter
90g castor sugar
plain flour for rolling
Cut pastry into a 25cm square and place on a baking paper-lined oven tray. Cut a border 10mm from the edges and 1mm deep into the pastry. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Peel the apples, cut in half and core. Toss in lemon juice to stop them from discolouring. Place an apple-half on the bench and cut the ends off so they are flat. Cut into 2mm-thick slices. Repeat with other apple halves. Take the pastry out of fridge and carefully overlap the apple slices along the top of the pastry. Do the next row, overlapping the top row slightly as well. Continue until the apples are all used up to create a single layer of well-overlapped apples.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Dot 20g of softened butter over the apples and sprinkle on 50g sugar. Place in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. Add the rest of the butter and sugar and cook for another 20 minutes. The pastry should be crisp and cooked, the apples caramelised.
Remove the tart from the oven and place on a cake rack to allow the air to circulate and to stop the pastry from sweating.
Cut the tart into pieces and serve with vanilla bean ice-cream.