Dice one apple (or two, if quite small) and gently pan-fry on a butter-greased pan with the sugar, only for a couple of minutes, till they soften and start to glaze. Let them cool down.
Meanwhile, make the frangipane, mixing together custard, almond flour, and ground cinnamon in a bowl.
Stretch the shortcrust pastry to your tin size (I used a squared tin, 23 cm side), leaving about a border 1.5 cm tall, in order to create the edges of the tart. Dock the pastry base with a fork. Add the cooked apple to the frangipane and cover the pastry base with this mix.
Slice the rest of the apples as evenly as possible and place over the frangipane mix. You can arrange them either by length to recreate a visual effect similar to Hasselbacken potato, or layer the apple slices like I did in the single serve tart, pictured above.
Bake in hot oven at 180°C fan (400°F) for about 26 minutes–the tart is ready when the pastry is golden. Finish off with an additional sprinkle of ground cinnamon and even some lemon zest.
This is such an easy recipe, fast, and a guaranteed success. This tart is fun to assemble and the apple slices’ decoration offers a great chance to express one’s creativity. You should try this at home!
Frangipane apple tarts are now a staple at home and at the deli in Camden (The Camden Grocer) where I am working and cooking as their food consultant. If you are passing by the Market, don’t be shy and come get yours!
Warm up the oven to 160ºC fan (350ºF). While it gets to temperature, put the pecan nuts inside with a pinch of salt and sugar for about 10 minutes; let them cool down once done.
Mix the vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs in a large mixing bowl until you obtain a smooth mix. Add the flour, soda bicarbonate, salt, and ground cinnamon to the mix, keeping it as smooth as possible. Grate the carrots over the mix, add the toasted nuts and the zest of 1 orange. Pour the mix inside a lined round tin (26 cm/10″ diameter).
Bake in hot oven at 160°C fan (350°F) for 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool down outside the oven inside the tin for about 10 minutes and then another 10 minutes without the tin.
Prepare the buttercream: mix the softened butter with the sugar first, add mascarpone and cream cheese (if you haven’t got access to mascarpone, you can use 350g of cream cheese), and place in two piping bags in the fridge to chill–you can do this operation while the cake bakes and cools down.
Slice the cake horizontally into two discs. Use one of the two buttercream piping bags to cover the bottom disc, cover with the second disc, and decorate the latter with the second piping bag of buttercream. I also add a thin rim of 1 freshly grated carrot on the edge to complete the decoration.
The first time I wrote this recipe, I was nervous about the feedback, because here in UK you can never go wrong with a carrot cake, as long as it is perfect! I first tested it with a few friends who grew up in West London and had carrot cake often enough to judge every aspect of it, mercilessly. Luckily, my cake passed the test with full marks.
With this recipe, the cake is moist yet with a good spongy bite. You can feel the carrots’ texture, as they are grated fresh into the mix. The pecan nuts are well balanced and add that yummy crunch here and there in the dough, while the cinnamon and orange perfumes intertwine in the nose. My Italian-tainted buttercream, made with a part of mascarpone, was also happily received, and it does work well without any vanilla, just the way it is. Try the recipe and let me know! Success is guaranteed!