6 large crisp apples, (I used Braeburn)
60 grams butter
¼ cup caster sugar
6 medium bay leaves
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
zest 1 lemon
¼ cup golden or dark raisins
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
raw sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Peel, quarter and core the apples then slice into 1 cm thick wedges.
Heat the butter in a large sauté pan and add the sugar, 2 of the bay leaves, nutmeg, raisins and the apples. Cook over a high heat for 12-15 minutes until the apples are tender but still holding their shape. Combine the cornflour and lemon juice until smooth then tip onto the apples and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute to thicken the juices. Remove and discard the bay leaves and set aside to cool completely.
To assemble: Cut out 4 x 16 cm circles of pastry and place on a lined baking tray. Divide the apples with their thickened juice between the circles, leaving a 2 cm border around the edge. Brush the border with beaten egg then fold the pastry up to contain the apples and pinch the edges together to pleat. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar then tuck a bay leaf into the apples leaving part of it poking out. Place the tarts in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up the pastry.
To cook: Bake for about 25 minutes until the pastry is well cooked, puffed and golden.
To serve: Place the tarts on plates and dust with icing sugar. Serve with a bowl of mascarpone or crème fraiche and a jug of pure maple syrup. Makes 4 tarts
Cook’s tip: If using dried bay leaves, soak in a dish of hot water for 10 minutes to slightly rehydrate them and help prevent them burning when in the oven.