Almonds are one of my favourite ingredients, whether straight from the shell, roasted, sweetened, spiced or grounded. If you could associate foods with emotions I would link almonds with love and romance: they conjure up warm night, long dinners outside and glowing full moons.
200g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp brandy
60g melted butter
4 dessert apples, peeled, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
180g cold butter, cut into cubes
75g icing sugar
2 eggs yolks
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface
To make the pastry
1. Place the butter, icing sugar, egg yolks and flour in a food processor. Whizz briefly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then turn out onto a floured surface and form a ball. wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6 and place a baking tray in the oven. Grease a 24cm tart tin.
3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use it to line the tart tin. prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and then pour some baking beans on top.
4. Place the tart tin on the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, discard the beans and the baking parchment and return the tart case to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before filling.
To assemble the tart
5. Mix all of the filling ingredients, except the apples, in a bowl until smooth. Spoon this almond paste over the bottom of the tart case and spread it out evenly with a palette knife.
6. Arrange the apple slices in a pleasing pattern on the almond paste and then bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden brown. Serve with cream.
This recipe comes from the award-winning cookbook What’s for Dinner? Second Helpings by Romilla Arber. The proceeds from the book sales help fund Romilla’s Food Education Trust that awards grants to schools, groups and institutions to help them promote the benefits of home cooking.