When I was at primary school, I remember wrapping my fruit roll-up around my apple, and biting into it pretending I was eating a toffee apple – toffee apples were always a treat saved exclusively for the annual school fête. Nowadays, I don’t have a much of a sweet tooth so I’m not a huge fan of desserts, but when friends come over for a meal they’re gonna get dessert. I’m not a very confident ‘baker’ of sweets, but I like this one as it’s really only something you ‘half-bake’, meaning any stuff-ups in the baking process can be nicely covered up and swiftly forgotten about.
I recently saw a recipe on taste.com.au where you put a couple of tins of unopened condensed milk (labels removed) in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 hours (making sure they are always covered with water) then cool, and open tins to find gorgeous, gooey caramelly toffee. Too easy. Until I ran out of time and spied the ready made variety on the shelf at my local Harris Farm.
The actual pie filling is scarily easy if you can find a couple of jars of Dulce De Leche (directly translates in Portuguese to “candy of milk”), or if not try the method at the link above. The filling is not surprisingly REALLY sweet and the apples give a nice crunch (switching with bananas would make an awesome (famously Americano Banoffee pie if you like that kind of thing), but easily the best thing about this recipe is the flavour in the pastry, and the genius method (borrowed, again, from Jamie Oliver) for lining your pie mould with the pastry.
- vanilla beans from 1 pod or 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
- 125g salted butter
- 100g icing sugar
- a small pinch of salt
- 255g flour (gluten free works fine)
- zest of ½ a lemon
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbs cold milk or water
- 2 jars of Dulce de Leche toffee (or 2 x 397g tins of condensed milk cooked via the method mentioned above)
- 3 medium-sized granny smith apples
- (optional) 2 heaped Tbs granulated panela (unrefined cane sugar – can find in health food stores) or brown sugar.
- Pre-head oven to 180 degrees C
- In a food processor, cream together the butter, icing sugar and salt, then add the flour, vanilla, lemon zest and egg yolks.
- When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the cold milk/water and process until the mixture all comes together into a doughy mixture.
- Take the mixture out of the processor and gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, then flour it lightly and roll it into a large, fat sausage shape.
- Wrap the dough in cling-film and place in the fridge to rest and harden for at least an hour.
- Remove from the fridge and unwrap, then slice it up into discs a little thinner than a centimetre wide
- Here’s the genius part: Line a 28cm tart mould (I used a small oven-proof fry-pan) with the pastry disks, then push them together until they all join up. Place in the freezer for an hour.
- Peel and quarter the apples and remove the cores, then slice finely and toss in the icing sugar.
- Take the pastry case out of the freezer, prick all over with a fork and bake blind in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until is brown.
- Remove the pastry base from the oven and smear the caramel from both tins of condensed milk over it.
- Arrange the apples on top and serve straight away while the pastry is still warm.