My Mom’s Apple Tart

For many years I have thought of this apple tart as “my mom’s apple tart”and I suppose in my frame of reference this will hold true for ever after. My mom was never a keen baker but this was one of the few things she made regularly. To me this apple tart is filled with emotion: it is comforting, filled with love and happy memories and to this day, I believe the one my mother made tasted better than any of the many versions I have since eaten.

For many years I believed it was my mom’s unique recipe but I have since come across this apple tart in many old South African recipe books. I have eaten it at friend’s tea parties, I once had it as a dessert in a restaurant and our Michelin Star chef, Jan-Hendrik van Der Westhuizen, published an almost identical recipe a few months ago.

I cannot decide whether this is a true tart; it might lean towards being a dessert; but what I am certain of is that it is fabulous and definitely makes it onto my list of top 5 eats!

A friend of mine, Elzette le Roux, makes this same apple tart, but she actually cooks the apples from scratch! Believe it or not, this five-star-cook goes through the entire process of peeling, coring and cooking the apples, before she adds it to the batter and of course, hers DOES taste better! But because you don’t know Elzette, I shall offer you “my mom’s” recipe…the quick, convenient one that utilises apples from a friendly tin!

For the batter:

67ml butter

375ml self raising flour

125ml milk

a pinch of salt

3 eggs

375ml sugar

1x 410g tin of pie apples

Preheat your oven to 180℃.

Grease or spray a ceramic oven dish of about 28cm x 18 cm; it makes no difference if your dish is slightly smaller or bigger.

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add the eggs one at a time while mixing continuously, waiting to incorporate the egg before adding the next one.

Add the salt and flour to a separate bowl and pour the milk into a measuring jug. With the mixer running on low speed, alternate adding the flour and milk until everything is incorporated and you have a smooth batter.

Pour half the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread the pie apples evenly over the surface before topping it with the rest of the batter.

Put the dish into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

In the meantime, start making the sauce.

For the sauce:

250ml milk

375ml sugar

45ml butter

10ml vanilla

Add all the ingredients for the sauce to a saucepan and turn it on medium heat.

Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.

Simmer the mixture for about 2 minutes while stirring the whole time.

Take off the heat and wait for the batter to finish cooking in the oven.

Remove the tart from the oven after 45 minutes.

Reheat the sauce and pour the warm sauce over the warm tart.

If it looks as though you have too much sauce, wait a few seconds for it to be absorbed into the sponge and pour over some more. Give the tart time to cool slightly and to soak up all that buttery, sugary yumminess before serving yourself a “tester”…..after all, you are the one that put in the hard work!!

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