28 July 2012

Apple, Orange & Thyme Tart

Pastry....one of my kitchen nemesis.  It has always seemed the realm of my mum, my gran or the expert baker. I may be getting better but an expert baker I am not! My first foray was this gruyere pastry which turned out a treat, it is rich, short and cheesy and perfect for all sorts of creamy fillings. 

To take my nemesis head on I jumped at the chance at a pastry making class at Cook at Cook the Books.  I highly recommend it if you are like me a little pastry shy. We covered off shortcrust pastry with lard (yes lard!), Italian chocolate pastry and this cream cheese pastry.  It is so easy!! 3 ingredients and the result is a short, crumbly delightfully light little buttery pastry.  If I can make it anyone can and it really does taste better than the bought stuff.  There will be no more of that for me. Added to that versatility as it is perfect for savoury or sweet.  Sweet prevailed today with a simple apple tart.
Apple, Orange and Thyme Tart
Serves 4-6
Cream Cheese Pastry
115g / 4oz / 1 stick butter
85g / 3oz cream cheese
125g flour / 4.5oz
Apple filling
3-4 apples
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
Zest of 1 Orange
Juice of half an orange
1 tsp thyme leaves plus extra to garnish
2-3 tsp raw brown sugar
A round or rectangular tart tin buttered or sprayed with a little oil.

For the pastry
Bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature and place in a food processor.  Blend together and then add the flour and mix until combined. Turn the pastry out on to a floured surface and gently knead until it comes together.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate overnight or chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
When ready to use roll out the pastry on a floured surface until a about 3mm thick and then place in your prepared tart tin and trim the edges.  Chill the pastry again for 20-30 minutes before baking.
While the pastry is resting and chilling pre heat your oven to 190C / 375F and prepare the apples.
Peel, quarter and slice the apples and place in a large saucepan with the butter, sugar, honey, vanilla essence, zest and juice.  Warm over a low heat for  10 minutes.  Add the thyme leaves for the last 5 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and carefully layer the apple slices, reserving the syrup.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, before slicing and serving.

The pastry is light and wonderfully short and buttery, it just melts in the mouth.  The apples are sweet, with a hint of orange and the thyme provides a lovely herbal note that just takes the edge off the sweetness. Perfect with a cuppa on a lazy afternoon or as dessert with with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the syrup.

This is my entry for Sweet New Zealand being hosted Bridget by over at After Taste.

If you like this you might like this Chocolate Caramel Tart
One year ago Salmon and Dill Tart
Two years ago Supper Club


  1. I like your unusual combination of flavours, sounds lovely. Wish I'd known about the pastry class - think I'd better get on their mailing list. I have made cream cheese pastry before though and loved it.

    1. Thanks Lesley & yes I am in love with the cream cheese pastry, check out the Cook the Books website....pretty sure there is another pastry class scheduled :)

  2. Oh fabulous pastry crust recipe! Why do I always use the same sweet pastry crust recipe for every tart and pie I make when adding something like cream cheese, gruyere (!!!) or herbs or chocolate would absolutely kick up the final dessert. This is one great tart! And beautiful! Keep baking, baby!

    1. Thanks Jamie....your kind words mean a lot!! And you must try the gruyere pastry it is heavenly!

  3. Gruyere pastry, how delicious! The tart looks lovely Mairi :)

    1. Thank you! And yes you should try the gruyere pastry :)

  4. Love the fillings in your tart, nice and simple but also great flavours. I've never made cream cheese pastry but then I come from the old fashioned French training, looks beautiful and crumbly

    1. Thanks Alli....my new favourite pastry....well actually my first favourite!

  5. This looks delicious. I can't say I've ever considered thyme for sweet dishes. Baking in general is my nemesis. Increasingly frustrating due to the talents of both my mother and sister in this department. Oh well, we can't have it all.

    1. Thanks! Oh & yes baking not really my thing either! But I am enjoying the journey....friends & neighbours seem to even enjoy the not so successful baking escapades!!


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