I can’t remember screwing up a dessert and so I don’t know why I don’t do them more.
(Of course, it’s possible that desserts always work no matter what, because butter, sugar, cream, chocolate in any combination and baked any which way are going to be fine!)
When I do cook dessert, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing the dessert early in the morning when I’m fresh and have plenty of time for the entrée and main.
Otherwise, if I did the dessert last, I’d probably never get to it in lieu of getting the meat and vegetables right.
What I have resolved about desserts is that simple desserts can work just as well as sophisticated desserts: whilst I’d love to make a vanilla bean mascarpone ice cream every time to accompany said 17 types of chocolate Gordon Ramsay dessert, a simple tart with some pouring cream is still bloody good.
This particular dessert is very simple and while you probably wouldn’t see it in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, you might find it in my bistro if I had one.
Try it. You’ll be very happy you did.
120g digestive biscuits (Milk Arrowroot etc)
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs plain flour
190g caster sugar
1kg small, sweet apples (I used Fuji, though Pink Lady or Gala would be fine)
40g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
Icing Sugar to dust
Pure (thin) cream to serve
1 ½ cups plain flour
125g chilled, unsalted butter, chopped
- For the shortcut pasty, place the flour and ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor and whiz together. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With the food processor running, pour 3 tablespoons iced water in through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a ball around the blade.
- Tip the dough onto a board and shape into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc and tightly enclose tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for 50 minutes until dough is firm.
- Preheat the oven to 200c and line a pizza tray or baking tray with baking paper.
- In a food processor, whiz the biscuits to fine crumbs with the cinnamon, flour and 1 ½ tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
- Peel, halve and core the apples. Slice very thinly into half moons, ideally with a mandolin.
- Melt the butter in a large frypan over a medium-low heat. Ad 2/3 cup sugar (150g) and stir to combine. Add the apple and vanilla and cook for 2-3 minutes until the apple is coated and slightly softened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan.
- On a floured board, roll out the pastry into a round, 2-3mm, 28cm ring (or to fit tray); it should be 5cm longer than the end of the pizza tray (or baking tray) so that the pastry can be overlapped a small way back over the apple.
- Press the dough into the corners of the tray. Spread the biscuit mixture evenly over the base.
- Pile the apple mixture evenly over the biscuit mixture including any juices. Gently fold the overhanging dough over fruit. Sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons over the pastry rim.
- Bake for 35 – 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
- Leave to cool for 40 minutes and transfer to serving plate. Sift and dust lightly with icing sugar.