I've been reading this fabulous book that I got from the Chester Library entitled Everyman's England, by Victor Canning. My parents were big fans of Canning's novels; he was a prolific author, but this is my first and far-too-brief acquaintance with his writing. Its a collection of essays, comissioned by the Daily Mail and written by the author during the years between WW1 and WW2. I have to say I am truly enjoying it, gobbling it up like a feast. These elegant, humorous, essays about random destinations take the reader back to a kinder gentler England, when the English countryside was still what Richard Askwith would call rural.
There was a particular passage the other night that called to my culinary soul and had me laying bed as I was reading it, literally drooling. He had come across a pub after a walk across the Yorkshire Dales . . . and this is what he wrote . . .
"It was at this inn that I got, for a ridiculously small sum, a lunch which more than ever endeared me to Wharfedale, for after a man has had a morning full of beauty there is no better cap to it than a lunch which in itself is a thing of beauty. There was a rich, dark soup which was not only hot, but full of the flavour of vegetables, then turkey with thyme and parsley stuffing, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, a fruit tart with a crust it was a shame to break and a joy to eat, a portion of Wensleydale cheese and a cup of as good a coffee as you could expect in England."
I just had to recreate this meal . . .
And so I did . . . it was a bit of work, but what a wonderful experience I had both cooking it and then enjoying the labours of my efforts. For the first course I did a half recipe of my Hearty Vegetable Soup, which is delicious in it's own right. We each had a small bowl. Then followed Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast, which I served with Sage and Onion Stuffing, steamed sprouts and my Classic Roast Potatoes. (with Gravy of course) What followed that was this delicious Toffee and Apple Tart and then a wedge of Wensleydale Cheese with apricots and some disgestive biscuits.
We could not fit in the cheese.
That is one hefty
As delicious as it was, you would need to be hiking the Dales in order to get a true appreciation of all of it and take it all in. But a tiny bit of each was really delicious, not the least of this fabulous Toffee Apple Tart!
He hadn't said anything about what kind of fruit tart he had eaten, only that it had a crisp pastry and was delicious . . . this Toffee Apple Tart is just that.
This is a tart that will have every man's mother sighing and reaching for just one more tiny sliver. It has a beautifully crisp buttery pastry, which you fill with sweet and silky Dulce de Lait . . . so easy as you use ready made toffee unless you are so inclined as to make your own. I always keep a tin in my cupboard. This is topped with thinly sliced apples and glazed with an apricot jam/lemon glaze. Altogether this is lovely. Simple and easy to make, and just gorgeous. A tart you will find yourself seeking at 2 am, wanting just one more tiny sliver . . .
*Toffee Apple Tart*Serves 6 to 8
Heat the jam and the lemon juice together and keep warm. Peel and core the apples. Cut into thin slices. Spread the dulce de lait in the baked pastry shell in an even layer. Arrange the apples over top of the caramel. Brush the top with the apricot jam and lemon juice mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes until piping hot and golden brown in spots. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes prior to serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yes, I did top our slices with a small dollop of Clotted Cream. In for a penny in for a pound. Decadent, but so, so good. Bon Appetit!