The French are famous for their pâtisserie and desserts – Tarte Tatin, Clafoutis, Crème brûlée, Crêpe Suzette, Mille-feuille… and as lovely as they are to eat, it is not only their pronunciation that are challenging. Often, the average home cook find the French baking techniques quite hard to master – especially when you usually bake choc-chip cookies from a pre-mix box…
But in the spirit of the Franschhoek Valley’s annual Bastille Festival, we are going French. Everyone needs to impress someone at some stage… Try our recipe for a buttery and crispy Apple Croustade. It is French, no question, but we cheat a little here and there to make it easier without compromising on the delicious flavours. And to make it even more authentic, serve this delight with a glass of our Culinaria MCC Sparkling wine to complement the apple and pastry flavours!
150 ml unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
½ cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
1⁄3 cup brandy
7 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted if frozen
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup sugar, salt and apple wedges. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wedges are slightly caramelised (about 20 minutes).
Remove pan from heat and add brandy. Carefully ignite with a match. Return to heat and cook until flames subside and liquid is reduced by half (about 3 minutes). Let cool.
Heat oven to 200 °C. Grease a 23-cm springform pan with butter and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in microwave and keep warm.
Lay 1 sheet phyllo on a work surface, brush with some melted butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Fit into prepared pan, allowing corners of dough to hang over edges.
Repeat, using 3 more sheets phyllo, laying each sheet at a 45 degrees turn from the last.
Spread apples over dough in an even layer. Cut remaining sheets of phyllo in quarters and, working with 1 piece at a time, pinch at the centre and flip over, so that the corners are pulled together and facing up. Place over top of tart.
Repeat with remaining pieces phyllo until top of tart is covered. Drizzle with remaining melted butter, then bake until golden and crisp (about 30 minutes). Let tart cool completely in pan, then unmould and transfer to a serving platter.
Serve with vanilla ice-cream if you want to add to the sweetness, but we recommend a glass (or two) of our Culinaria MCC Sparkling Wine – it’s a match made in heaven!
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