Apple Amber

A shortcrust pastry flan is filled with a cooked apple filling and topped with meringue.

Apple Amber

6 servings
  • Preparation time: 45 minutes
  • Chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour

  • Ingredients
  • For the shortcrust pastry
  • 225 g (8 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1¾ cups)
  • pinch salt
  • 55 g (2 oz) butter, cubed (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
  • 55 g (2 oz) shortening, cubed (¼ cup)
  • 3 tbsp cold water

  • For the filling
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) water
  • 100 g (3½ oz) sugar (½ cup)
  • 450 g (1 lb) granny smith apples (about 3 medium)
  • strip of lemon rind
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 28 g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
  • 2 egg yolks, reserve the whites for the meringue
  • For the meringue
  • 2 egg whites
  • 115 g (4 oz) caster/superfine sugar (½ cup)

Equipment

  • You will also need a 20.5 cm (8 inch) loose bottomed flan case and a baking tray/sheet.


  • Method
  • For the pastry
  • Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl.

  • Rub the butter and shortening into the flour until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.

  • Now sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if the water is added unevenly, it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Then, using a pallet knife, bring the mixture together.

  • Once it starts to clump together, remove from the bowl and knead lightly to form a firm, smooth dough.

  • Pop in a plastic bag or cover with cling film/plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (225°C) (gas 7).

  • Now, on a floured surface, roll out the pastry in one direction only, turning it occasionally, until there is a round that is 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the flan case. Line the flan case and trim the edges to neaten. Prick the base of the pastry with the tines of a fork to make sure no air gets trapped underneath the pastry.
  • Bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 300°F (150°C) (gas 3).

  • For the filling
  • While the pastry is cooking start preparing the filling.

  • In a medium-sized pan make a sugar syrup by gently dissolving the sugar in the water over a low heat.

  • While the sugar in dissolving, peel, core and cut the apples into small chunks.

  • Once the sugar has dissolved, add the apples along with the strip of lemon rind and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples have softened but still hold their shape.

  • Drain the apples and then add the butter. Stir to melt the butter into the apples, mashing them slightly. Now add the egg yolks and mix in.

  • Once the flan case has cooled, carefully remove the pastry case and sit it on a baking tray/sheet. Fill with the apple.

  • For the meringue
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

  • Pile the meringue on top the apple, making sure it completely covers the filling. Finally pull the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife.

  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The meringue will be crisp and lightly browned on the outside but still soft on the inside.
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