Toffee apples aren’t my thing. The toffee bit is great, it’s just the apple is a disappointment. So often too soft, crunchless and horror or all horrors, sometimes mealy. Bleurgh.
Imagine caramelised apples, toffee, crisp pastry and snow crunch sounding meringue and you have this Autumn pud. All the best bits of toffee apples and none of the bleurgh.
Toffee apple meringue tart
Serves 8 – 10
- 250g plain flour
- 50g icing sugar
- 125g butter
- 1 large egg
- 500g Bramley apples, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 20g plain flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 200g castor sugar
- 10g cornflour
- 1 x 397g tin caramel
Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour and icing sugar (use hands/food processor or KitchenAid on speed 1/2 using flat beater) until you have a breadcrumb like consistency. Then bind together with the egg using either a blunt knife or the flat beater at speed 1 on the KitchenAid. Once you have clumps of pastry pulling together, use your hands to gather into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry to a thickness of about 3mm and line a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin with it. (I move the pastry by laying both hands under the pastry with palms upwards and fingers spread wide.) Make sure the pastry is pushed into the corners, then run the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim the pastry edges. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans/uncooked rice or pulses. Bake in a preheated 180C/Gas 4 oven for 15 minutes then remove the beans and paper and bake until lightly golden brown and baked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool but leave in the tin.
Toss the apples in the lemon juice and set aside. Mix the flour and caster sugar together in a saucepan then pat dry the apples and tip into the flour-sugar mixture – stew on the hob for 5 – 10 minutes until the apples begin to soften but still hold some shape and the mixture begins to caramelise – by turning brown. Set aside to cool a little.
Make the meringue by whisking the room temperature egg whites to medium peaks and then adding the castor sugar a teaspoon at a time – 30 second intervals between each teaspoon as this stops the meringue weeping in the oven by ensuring all the sugar dissolves. Add the cornflour. Whisk until at stiff peaks and very glossy and white.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Tip the apple mixture into the pastry case, spoon the caramel over the top and then either spoon/pipe the meringue starting at the edges (making sure the pastry is touched by the meringue) and working inwards (or the filling will escape) then bake for 20 minutes.