Brendan’s Normandy Apple Tart

Posted on October 29, 2012

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Last week I visited Seasoned Cookery School on the beautiful Catton Hall estate, Derbyshire, for a baking course hosted by Brendan Lynch, finalist in 2012′s Great British Bake Off.

I must say, the day started off very well with a big slice of Brendan’s homemade granola bar and a cup of tea. Then after introductions we made pastry for this Normandy Apple Tart.

Making this has encouraged me to consider spending a little more care and attention on dessert. I would normally take the easier route and make a quick apple pie. But I liked how a little more thought made this into such a pretty pudding that I would be proud to take anywhere. You know how I often take my desserts out for the evening.

My favourite thing about the course is that you get to concentrate on the cooking, because the Seasoned team bring you pre-weighed ingredients and all the utensils that you need, then they whisk away dirty pots and apple peel and wipe down the surfaces whilst you move on to the next demonstration. This is possibly the best way to cook ever and if I won the lottery it is how all future meals would be made.

Next we made bread dough for Chelsea Buns, then we sat down to lunch, made by Clare, founder of the cookery school. We quizzed Brendan on his experiences of GBBO as we ate, but I couldn’t possibly divulge any of the behind the scenes stories about Mr Hollywood, Ms Berry, Mel and Sue. Brendan has so much baking experience he is a mine of information, perfect for this course.

I quietly snuck away to take a few photos of the school’s stunning new location, whilst Domestic Jules kindly took over the baking of our blueberry muffins.

Seasoned Cookery SchoolBrendan Lynch by Claire Sutton Images 

I managed to grab a few images in the fading Autumn light before I left for a mad dash back across Derbyshire to take George to Halloween Scout Camp then on to be ‘Mystery Customers’ for a local restaurant. I was glad that we had those Chelsea Buns in the bag for breakfast the next morning.

I digress…back to the tart. It has a lovely crisp buttery pastry a layer of rich frangipane and slivers of tart eating apple glazed with apricot jam.

This one is Jules’ which I think looked prettier than mine with its flowery centre.

I’ll definitely be making it again. Here is the recipe but do hop over to Brendan Bakes blog too.

Brendan’s Normandy Apple Tart (shortened a little bit)

Pâte Brisée Pastry

250g plain flour
150g soft butter
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1 egg
A little milk

Almond Cream Filling

170g unsalted butter
85g caster sugar
85g ground almonds
2 teaspoons flour with 1.5 tsp cornflour
1 large egg and an egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 small eating apples

Mix flour, salt, caster sugar in a bowl, then rub in the butter.
Add the egg and milk and bring together into a soft dough, cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
Grease a 9″ fluted tart tin and roll out pastry to the thickness of a pound coin.
Line the tin and leave a small overhang of pastry.
Line with parchment, fill with baking beans/rice and bake for 12 minutes at 180 degrees C.
Remove the paper/beans, prick the base with a form and brush with a lightly whisked egg white.
Bake again for another 10 minutes then cut the excess pastry from the edge and allow to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar well for the filling, add the almonds and mix again.
Add the flour mix and beat, then the egg and beat again.
Spread this mix across the pastry case.
Peel, quarter and slice the apples and arrange in overlapping layers around the base.
Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Heat some apricot preserve with a splash of water in a pan, brush this over the hot tart when it comes out of the oven.

If you like the look of Seasoned cookery school here is a link to the next Brilliant Baking Course in December.