I have not met one -not one!- person, who doesn't like this cake, that should probably tell you all you need to know about the cake. It's also my go-to cake when I need to make something quick.
The delicious mix of crunchy pastry, apples and the custardy vanilla sauce that covers the apples like a blanket is just amazing. It's a simple cake, but it's my absolute favourite cake (and also Mr. L's favourite). I learned how to make this cake from the amazing French cooking teacher, Di Holouigue at The French Kitchen in Melbourne.
French Apple Tart
100g butter, softened
200g plain flour
1 egg yolk
2,3, or 4 tablespoons sugar, the more sugar you add the crunchier the pastry will become, but it also gets harder to roll out.
Approx. 3 tablespoons water (less or non if you make the pastry in a food processor)
2-3 apples (e.g Granny Smith)
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
350ml cream at 35% milk fat
a solid dash of vanilla extract
(Don't use an electric mixer, you'll end up with a really tough dough). Process the dry ingredients in a food processor first, then add the egg yolk and butter. On a hot day, with soft butter, you may succeed without water, but a little water makes it easier to roll. Add the water (less than in the usual recipe) slowly down the funnel until the pastry balls above the blades of the processor. Roll the dough into a ball and cover with cling wrap, rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Processor pastry needs longer resting in the fridge to roll successfully. It is possible to increase the butter content up to 120g.
If you don't have a food processor, simply mix by hand, starting by rubbing the butter into the flour and sugar, then carefully incorporating the egg yolk.
When ready to bake, roll out and line a tart mold with the rolled pastry, poke a few times with a fork. There's no need to blind bake though.
For the filling, peel and cut the apples into thick segments (each apple in about 8 pieces). Lay these in the base of the tart mold. In a bowl mix together the egg yolks and sugar, then the flour, then whisk in the cream and vanilla essence, pour over the apples. Bake the tart in a 180°C oven until set and golden coloured (about 25-30 minutes), then remove and cool on a cake rack.
Serve at room temperature, if you want you can sprinkle it with icing sugar just before serving.