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
Cream Cheese Pastry
115g / 4oz / 1 stick butter
85g / 3oz cream cheese
125g flour / 4.5oz
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.
If you like this you might like this Chocolate Caramel Tart
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