You will need
- 6 loose-bottomed tart tin 7cm
- Rolling pin
- Small bowl
- Large baking sheet
- Piping bag
- 6 halves of red apples
For the sweet pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 125g sugar
- 125g butter, room temperature
- 2 medium size free-range eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
For the vanilla custard
- 250ml milk
- 1 large free-range eggs
- 2 tbsp of caster sugar
- 1½ tbsp of plain flour
- 1½ tbsp of cornflour
- ½ vanilla pod
- Pinch of salt
- To make sweet pastry sieve the flour onto a clean work surface, add sugar and butter. Using your fingertips, rub in the batter until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixture and gently work it together until dough forms. Don’t work the sweet pastry too much at this stage. Flour it lightly ready dough and wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge till needed.
- To prepare the vanilla custard filling, pour milk into a saucepan, add vanilla pod together with seeds and gently heat until it just boiling.
- Meanwhile whisk the caster sugar, plain flour, cornflour and egg in a bowl until they are pale.
- Gradually pour egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking until it is all incorporated. Simmer over low heat, whisking for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean jug.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Gas mark 4.
- Cover each pastry case with baking paper, fill with rice or dried beans, and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Take out sweet pastry cases from the oven. Remove the rice or beans and take out the lining. Put the cases back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Take the cases out and let them cool down completely on the wire rack.
- Spread vanilla custard into the cooled pastry cases up to ½ of their high.
- Cut each half of apple crosswise into thin slices. Gently press each apple half to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped. Slide spatula under apples and transfer carefully on the top of filling. Place tarts on the baking sheet in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Take out French tarts from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Remove tarts from the tins and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.