Polvorone Tartlets with Apple and Cider Custard
375 ml (13 fl oz/1 1/2 cups) cream (whipping)
125 ml (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) milk
8 egg yolks
60 ml (2 fl oz /1/4 cup) sweet Spanish sidra , or other sweet alcoholic apple cider
80 g (2 3/4 oz /1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
11/2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
11/2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon whole aniseeds
40 g (1 1/2 oz /1/4 cup) pine nuts
60 g (2 1/4 oz /1/2 cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar
200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
2 teaspoons oloroso sherry
30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter 8 small crisp, sweet apples (such as fuji), peeled, cored and cut into eighths
100 g (3 1/2 oz /1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz /1/3 cup) sweet Spanish sidra , or other sweet alcoholic apple cider
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz /1/3 cup) clear apple juice
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz /1/3 cup) cream (whipping)
To make the cider custard, pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and just bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, cider, sugar, vanilla, flour and cornflour in a heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture until smooth, then pour into a clean, heavy-based saucepan and place over low heat. Using a balloon whisk, stir continuously for 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and smooth and clearly holds a ‘ribbon’ shape when drizzled from the whisk onto the custard. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until completely cold.
To make the pastry, put the flour, aniseeds, pine nuts and icing sugar in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Process until the nuts are finely chopped, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms crumbs. Put the egg yolk, vanilla extract and sherry in a bowl and mix together well. Using a flat-bladed knife and a cutting action, mix the liquid into the flour until it forms clumps. Gather together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into eight equal portions, then roll each one out between two sheets of baking paper to 5 mm ( 1/4 inch) thick. Remove the top layers of paper and invert the pastry over eight 10 cm (4 inch) individual tart tins with removable bases. Fit the pastry into the tins, trim the edges and freeze for 1 hour. Save any leftover pastry for making into shortbread biscuits (cookies).
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before releasing them from the tins.
While the tart shells are cooling, prepare the caramelised apple. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium–high heat and sauté the apple for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden — if your pan isn’t quite large enough you may need to work in two batches. Remove the apple from the pan and stir in the sugar, cider, apple juice and cream. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Mix the apple through, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, or until the apple is soft but not falling apart, and the sauce is golden and glazy. Allow to cool slightly. Fill the tart shells with the custard, top with the warm apple and serve at once.
Copyright of Jane Lawson. Recipe from Cocina Nueva - the New Spanish Kitchen by Jane Lawson, published by Murdoch Books. Image by Photographer Steve Brown.