Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Italian Apple tart - torta di Mele

Preparation time: 40 minutes for the preparation, 1 hour for the baking.
Details: approx. €20 to serve 6 people

apple tart, Italian apple tart, home made apple tart
There's only one remedy for the sudden end of the summer: welcome in the next season with open arms! Yes, we have to convince ourselves: Autumn is great and full of romance. 

Last Sunday the rain was falling slowly upon the fields, trees were losing their leaves, the sky was grey and gloomy.  And shops were closed. I could not think of a more depressing moment, so I started looking for a solution. And what's better than an Apple Tart to start the Fall/Winter Season 2012?

Looking at different Italian Apple Tart recipes, I found this one which is the right mix between tradition and innovation. Of course, the Italian Apple Tart is very different from the American Apple Pie (there is no pastry cover) and the British Apple Crumble (no butter crumbs).

Aprons on! Get ready with:
  • 280 gr. plain flour (00)
  • 160 gr. Butter
  • 500 gr. Apples (Gray Pippin Apples, or "Mele Renette")
  • 300 cl. Milk
  • 100 gr. Sugar
  • 80 gr. of Rich Tea Biscuits
  • 40 gr. of Raisins
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 3 Tablespoons of Apricot Jam
  • 1 Lemon
  • 3 Tablespoons of Marsala liquor (€ 12,99/bottle at Best of Italy Shop)

Short-crust Pastry:
Mix together 250 gr. of flour with the butter (still cold), cut into small pieces. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and mix until the pastry became smooth. Cover it with cling film and put in the fridge for at least one hour. After that, roll it (3 mm height) over a spring-release tin (previously greased and covered with baking paper) and riddle it with holes. 
Keep in the fridge the extra dough.

apple tart ingredients, shortcrust pastry

Marsala Italian-style Custard:
Whisk 2 egg yolks with 50 gr. of sugar, then add 3 tablespoons of Marsala and the remaining flour. In the meantime, heat the milk up with the Vanilla Bean, carved along the side. Pour the hot milk into the mixture and put everything on the stove, mixing well, until it  thickens.

Apple Tart:

Crumbles the biscuits and spread them over the pastry in the tin. Cover it with the cream and make another layer of crumbled biscuits and raisins (previously softened up in the Marsala). Keep a spoon of raisins aside, for later.
Peel off and cut into slices the apples: position the apple slices on the top of the tart.
For the central decoration: take a regular shaped apple and peel it, removing the applecore. Put it into a saucepan and cover it with water, adding some lemon peel and 20 gr. of sugar. Let it cook for 10-15 minutes; drain it and cover it with shortcrust pastry strips. Fill the central hole with the remaining raisins and a tablespoon of apricot jam.
Brush the pastry over the central apple with the remaining yolk; heat up the remaining jam and spread it over the apple slices, sprinkling the sugar over the whole tart.

Cook in the pre-heated oven at 180° for 50 minutes or until the pastry gets dark.

Apple Tart, Italian apple pie, home made Apple tart



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