I experimented with this recipe so many times in my little kitchen in London to get the perfect result. It’s such an easy recipe to make, but you need to follow the steps to make it perfectly. Cook the caramel until it is light golden and then immediately place the apples on top followed by the puff pastry, and then put it straight into the oven. You can make it a few hours ahead and just let it sit on the side, then reheat it in a low oven. I love to serve mine with a dollop of crème fraîche. Try swapping out the apples for plums, pears or peaches at other times of the year.
- 165g caster sugar
- 100ml water
- 65g unsalted butter
- 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves, plus 6 sprigs, to decorate
- 4 dessert apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- 3 sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry
- Crème fraîche, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place a cast-iron or ovenproof frying pan over a low heat, add the sugar and water and heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
Increase the heat to high and simmer for 12–14 minutes or until the syrup is a light golden brown colour. Then stir in the butter and chopped thyme and cook for a further 2–3 minutes or until you have a caramel consistency.
Arrange the apples cut-side up in the pan and slightly overlapping to ensure that the caramel is completely covered with the apples. Place the puff pastry sheets on top of each other and roll out so that they combine and are large enough to cover the apples in the pan, with enough excess to tuck in around the sides of the pan.
Place the pastry on top of the apples and fold the edges downwards to tuck them in then use a sharp knife to make three small slits in the centre of the pastry top. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pan from the oven. Wearing oven gloves, carefully invert the tart onto your serving dish. Cut into wedges, decorate each serving with a thyme sprig and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons by Clodagh McKenna, Kyle Books, £20. www.kylebooks.co.uk Photo © Dora Kazmierak