From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
150 g butter
100 g icing sugar (sifted)
25 g plain flour
100 g ground almonds
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 vanilla pod (split and seeds scraped out)
large pinch ground cinnamon
450 g cooking apples
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbsp apricot jam
for the pastry:
100 g butter (diced)
175 g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
50 g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tbsp cream
softly whipped cream and caramel ice cream, to serve
The best way to arrange the apples in the tin is to start at the perimeter, in a pinwheel fashion, filling the middle after a full circle of slices is in place. It is important that they are tightly packed and pressed down gently into the filling or they are in danger of 'springing' during in the cooking process.
To make the pastry, place the butter in a food processor with the flour, salt and sugar and pulse until just blended. Add the egg yolk and cream and blend again briefly. Be careful not over work or the pastry will be tough. Cover with clingfilm and chill for one hour to rest.
To make filling, place 100g (4oz) of the butter and the icing sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy, using an electric hand beater. Beat in the flour and almonds and then gradually beat in the eggs, scraped out vanilla seeds and cinnamon. Continue to beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5).
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed flan tin. Chill again for 15 minutes to allow the pastry to rest.
Peel the apples and cut into quarters to remove the cores, then cut into thin wedges.
Tip into a bowl and toss in the lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
Spread the almond filling in the pastry case and carefully arrange the apple slices on top in a fan shape and then gently press the apples down into the filling. Dot with the remaining 25g (1oz) of the butter.
Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and the apples are golden brown.
Remove from the flan tin and transfer to a plate.
Melt the apricot jam in a small pan or in the microwave and brush over the tart.
To serve, cut the tart into wedges and serve warm or cold on serving plates with a good dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of caramel ice cream.