Bake with Michelle Darmody: Sweet and savoury tarts

Sometimes simple is best. A warm apple tart with a spoon of lightly whipped cream is one of my favourite desserts and one I do not make often enough.

I simply forget how good it is until the next time I taste it. 

While I do love a sticky, upside down Tarte-Tatin, the simple apple tart that my grandmother made is still top of my list. 

She would always fill it a little too much and the hot juice and sugar would seep through the edges and bubble to form a hard sticky toffee. 

This was my favourite part of the tart, I would gently pull it from the edges leaving a damaged looking pasty top in my wake. She never seemed to mind too much however. 

You can add cinnamon and some raisins to the apple tart as well as the zest if you wish. 

I sometimes mix the apple with some leftover mince that I need to use up, post Christmas. It works really well. 

Alternatively make use of apples and mince by coring a cooking apple and stuffing it with the mince then bake it in the oven until soft.

Another old fashioned tart recipe that continues to delight years later is the Bakewell Tart. 

Here I have included a standard version that has raspberry jam but you can substitute this for apricot jam to get quite a different result.

Lest not forget tarts can be savoury too. 

This twist on a French Tarte aux Moutarde is a great weekend snack.

Bakewell tart

  • 225g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 140g of cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 55g as well as 125g of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g of butter at room temperature butter
  • 125g of ground almonds
  • The zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp of almond essence
  • 1 tbs of raspberry jam
  • a handful of slivered almonds

METHOD

Mix the flour and salt together and rub in the cold butter until it looks like rough breadcrumbs, do not over mix.

Stir the 55g of sugar into one of the eggs, mix it lightly until it begins to dissolve. Add this to the flour with a fork. 

Bring everything together with your hands then rest the pastry for an hour in the fridge or over night.

Heat your oven to 200C and prepare a 9in round tin.

Roll the pastry to fit the tin and gently press it into the base. Cover with a layer of parchment and some beans to weight it down. 

Bake blind for a quarter of an hour and remove, set aside to cool a little. 

Cream the 125g of soft butter and 125g of caster sugar together until pale.

Add the ground almonds, one egg, the orange zest and the almond essence and mix together well.

Spread the jam over the pastry case and then spoon the almond mixture on top, level out with a palette knife. 

Sprinkle with the slivered almonds and bake at 180C for 30 to 35 minutes until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Old fashioned apple tart

  • 225g flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 140g of cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly sliced
  • Approx half a tablespoon of golden brown sugar, to taste
  • The zest of 2 oranges

METHOD

Mix the flour and salt together and rub in the cold butter until it looks like rough breadcrumbs, do not over mix.

Stir the sugar into the egg, mix it lightly until it begins to dissolve. Add this to the flour with a fork.

Bring everything together with your hands then rest the pastry for an hour in the fridge or over night.

Heat oven to 200C and prepare a 7in round tin.

Roll out half the pastry to fit the base of the tin. Place the apple slices on the base, sprinkle with the sugar and zest.

Roll the remaining pastry and gently lay it on top. Pinch the pasty in ridges towards the centre.

Dampen the edge of the base pastry with cold water to seal, press it into the pastry from the base and trim any excess. Cut a cross in the very centre of the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden on top and the apples have completely softened.

Tomato and mustard tart on puff pastry

  • 300g of puff pastry
  • 3 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 5 tbs of grated Comte cheese, finely grated - you can substitute this for parmesan
  • 8 anchovies - optional
  • 8 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • a few pinches of dried oregano
  • a drizzle of olive oil

METHOD

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.

Spread the puff pasty onto a 10 inch tin lined with baking parchment. Pinch the pastry up at the sides.

Mix the two mustards with the honey and some seasoning. Spread it on the pastry base. Sprinkle with the finely grated cheese.

If you are using anchovies lay them out on top of the cheese.

Arrange the tomato slices over the base and sprinkle with the dried oregano and some seasoning.

Lightly drizzle with some oil and bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the tomatoes are cooked.



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