This is inspired by a wonderful apple tart that I had at L’Auberge De La Mole back in the summer in St Tropez. I have since dreamt of this delicate, beautiful tart that had a super-fine pancake-like base. It was so simple but really hit the nail on the spot! Here I have tried to recreate it from memory and I have added in a salted caramel sauce with a few crunchy pine nuts for good measure. This is a great dinner party dessert as it can be made ahead of time and thrown together just before serving.
Makes 4 tarts Ingredients: For the spelt crepe: 200g spelt flour 3 tbsp almond flour 500ml whole milk 1 tbsp unrefined caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 medium free-range eggs 30g butter and extra sugar for frying
For the apples: 6 medium cooking apples, peeled 70-80g unrefined caster sugar 1-2 tsp cinnamon powder Zest of a lemon
For the salted caramel sauce: 150g unrefined caster sugar 150ml double cream pinch of sea salt
20g toasted pine nuts for garnishing Unrefined icing sugar for dusting Vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on the fan setting.
Start by making the crepe batter. In a large bowl add the spelt, almond flour, sugar, vanilla extract and mix together. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs mixing together with a wooden spoon. Then slowly pour in a little milk into the centre and mix. Continue adding the milk and mixing careful to avoid lumps. You will need to beat it quite hard at the beginning and keep adding until all the milk is incorporated. Heat a large non-stick frying pan to a medium to high heat with a little butter and once hot spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the batter into the centre of the pan. Try to keep the pancake thin, small and round so avoid moving it around the pan too much. Just before you turn it over add a little more butter to the pan and a good pinch of sugar. Then use a spatula to flip it over trying to make sure some of the sugar gets underneath the pancake. This will caramelise and crisp up the bottom of the pancake a little. You should only need to cook it for 1-2 minutes on each side before placing on a cooling rack. Continue to make 3 more in the same way and you can have pancakes in the morning with any leftover batter.
Next line two oven trays with baking parchment and use a sharp knife to slice up the apples into neat half-moon slices. They should be around 2-3mm thick and it is important that they are neat so that they look pretty on the tart. Lay out the slices spaced out on the baking sheets and sprinkle over the sugar evenly onto the apples followed by the cinnamon and lemon zest. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes until they are soft but still are holding their shape. Remove from the oven and leave to one side.
While the apples are in the oven start with the salted caramel sauce. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the sugar. Let the sugar melt and turn to a medium dark caramel colour and this will take about 7-10 minutes depending on the heat. You will have to keep an eye on it all the time to avoid it burning. Use a whisk to brake up any large sugar crystals and stir the caramel if needed. When you have reached a caramel colour remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in a little of the double cream and whisk everything together. The sauce may steam and spit a little so be careful and wrap your hand in a tea towel to avoid burning yourself. Continue adding a little double cream in with the caramel until everything is mixed in. Stir in the sea salt.
To plate up, set out 4 large plates and put the crepes in a hot oven for 10 minutes to warm up. Place a crepe onto each plate and neatly lay out the apple slices in the centre of each crepe in a circle, sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and spoon over the caramel sauce. Add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and dust over lightly with icing sugar. Delicious!