This past Christmas I was given a glorious present. A copy of Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth. This bright and cheerful book certainly won’t hide amongst the masses when you put it on your bookshelf. It’s bright green cover, pink edges and gilt will certainly see to that! But it’s a good thing… as really you won’t want to put the book on your shelf in the first place! You’ll want to bake from it every day; waistline be damned.
I picked Lily’s Spiced Apple Custard Tarts to adapt so as to make them edible to my celiac self. I fell in love with the recipe as it contains what has to be the richest custard I’ve ever seen, apples cooked in caramel, a shortcrust base and then a crunchy crumble topping. Like all the best bits of apple pie and crumble combined!
I took the result to Sunday lunch with friends. The silence around the table punctuated only by low hums of delight, multiple demands for the recipe and requests for seconds mean this recipe has now become a fixture in my dessert rotation.
For those of you who want a glutenous version, I’ve found it online here.
Otherwise, below is the gluten-free version I made. I’ve adjusted the quantities to make one tart rather than the individual ones in the book.
- Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (recipe below)
- Egg wash containing 1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 25ml of milk
- 25 grams of unsalted butter
- 100 grams of demerara sugar (brown sugar being exceedingly hard to get hold of here in Switzerland)
- 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced.
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Simple Thick Custard (recipe below)
- Oaty Crumble (recipe below)
- A few dried edible flowers for decoration
Make Sweet Shortcrust Pastry.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
Roll out the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry to 3mm thick on baking paper. I place my pastry back into the fridge for 10 minutes after rolling it out as I’ve warm hands and this pastry can get warm and sticky very quickly due to the large butter content.
Then I line my tart plate with the pastry. Trim off the remaining pastry and place back into the refrigerator for a further 3o minutes.
Line with baking paper and baking beans and blind bake for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is starting to brown. Remove baking paper and baking beans and brush with the eggwash mixture. Bake for a further 2 minutes or until golden brown. Place aside to cool.
Place butter and demerara sugar in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add sliced apples and cinnamon and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the apples are soft but hold their shape. Place aside to cool.
Make Simple Thick Custard
Make Oaty Crumble
Assemble the tart by layering the cooled custard into the base of the pastry shell. Drain the apples (keep the sauce, it tastes delicious poured over ice-cream with a little extra crumble mix!) and layer over the custard. Then sprinkle with the crumble mix and decorate with edible flowers.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 250 grams of gluten-free flour (I use Schar Patisserie Mix C Gluten Free flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon of guar gum
- 100 grams of icing sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 150 grams of unsalted butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt together onto a cool, clean and dry surface. Add in the butter and rub into the flour until it resembles rough breadcrumbs. Don’t overwork you dough, handle it as little as possible.
Whisk together the egg yolks and egg and add to the mix. Gently mix together. Again, be careful not to overwork the dough.
Roll into a flattened ball, lightly coat with flour and wrap in clingwrap. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.
Simple Thick Custard
- 45 grams of caster sugar
- 3 tablespoons of cornflour
- 4 egg yolks
- 390 ml of double cream
- 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla (I use Taylor & Colledge Pate de vanille)
In a metal bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks by hand. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then whisk again, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a pan, warm the cream and vanilla over a medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
Pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continually.
Place the metal bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double boiler. Stir continually until thick and creamy.
Place into a sink or another bowl filled with cold water, stirring continually for about 3 minutes to cool the custard quickly. Place in the fridge until needed.
- 55 grams of unsalted butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
- 55 grams of gluten-free oats (oats are naturally gluten free but are usually milled on the same machinery as the poisonous stuff and so are heavily contaminated. Gluten free oats are available from your health food store or if you’re in Switzerland, from Britshop)
- 55 grams of gluten-free flour (I use Schar Patisserie Mix C Gluten Free flour)
- 55 grams of demerara sugar (brown sugar being exceedingly hard to get hold of here in Switzerland)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together until it resembles a chunky form of bread crumbs.
Spread the mixture out on a baking tray covered in baking paper and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. I took mine out after 10 minutes to mix with a fork as it had started to blend together. Placing it back in the oven for the remaining 5 minutes. Then allowing to cool before breaking the mix up ready to place on your tart.