Eighteenth-century Creamed Apple Flan
This recipe is a nostalgic one for me as it's one of the first I tried after some research into eighteenth-century British cooking at the British Museum, and it prompted me to do a whole lot more.
|For the filling:|
|1 lb 5 oz (600g) large Bramley cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced|
|2 oz (50g) ratafia biscuits (or amaretti)|
|2 oz (50 g) butter|
|2 tablespoons golden caster sugar|
|grated zest of 1 small lemon|
|2 tablespoons brandy, sherry or cider|
|whole nutmeg for grating|
|5 large egg yolks|
|2½ fl oz (65 ml) double cream|
|For the pastry:|
|11/2 oz (40 g) softened butter, cut into smallish lumps|
|11/2 oz (40 g) softened pure lard|
|5 oz (150 g) plain flour, sifted, plus a little extra for rolling out (or 8oz/225g shortcrust pastry, made with butter)|
|icing sugar, for dusting|
|Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).|
|Oven temperatures and Conversions|
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|You will also need a loose-based, fluted tart tin 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, 1¼ inches (3 cm) deep, lightly greased.|
This recipe first appeared in The Delia Collection: Puddings.
Mix the pastry by rubbing the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then add 1-2 teaspoons of water to make a dough that leaves the bowl clean. Pop the pastry into a polythene bag and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tart tin. Prick the base all over with a fork and brush with one of the egg yolks. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the sliced apples in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and cook gently until they are pulpy. Transfer the fluffy purée to a large mixing bowl.
Now crush the biscuits – the best way to do this is to lay them flat inside a polythene bag then roll them with a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs.
Add the butter and the caster sugar into the apple purée, followed by the lemon zest, crushed biscuits, remaining 4 egg yolks, double cream, brandy and a good grating of nutmeg then whisk everything together thoroughly.
Pour the whole lot into the partly cooked flan case, then bake in the oven for a further 30 minutes until it's springly to touch in the centre.
Allow to cool, then chill for a couple of hours in the fridge before serving, dusted with icing sugar, and some chilled pouring cream.
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This is from a French recipe called tarte Tatin – it's baked, chilled and then served upside down.
This is without doubt the easiest apple pie in the world. No special pie tins needed, no lids to be cut and fitted, no tiresome fluting of edges. It's also a beginner's dream because, somehow, the more haphazard the whole thing looks, the better.
Crumble has to be one of the best desserts going, and it's so quick and easy to make, especially if you use a food processor to make the topping. This is a true classic…
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