I must have made thousands of these in my early days as a chef, and no wonder. The buttery puff pastry is topped with a luscious almond cream and thinly sliced apple, then baked until crisp and caramelised. Served with a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s hard to imagine a more delicious dessert.
2 pink lady apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 x 375 g (13 oz) roll of Carême puff pastry, thawed in the fridge
15 g (½ oz) unsalted butter, melted
1–2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)
100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
150 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 egg yolk
100 g (3½ oz) almond meal
30 g (1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1½ tablespoons Calvados (apple liqueur)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
For the frangipane, place the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg yolk, then vigorously stir in the almond meal, flour and Calvados until smooth. Set aside.
Peel the apples, then cut them in half and carefully remove the core. Cut into very thin slices (about 2 mm/A/af inch thick if you can) and put in a bowl with the lemon juice and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of cold water. Stir once, then drain the apple slices on a clean tea towel (dish towel).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to create a larger rectangle. Using an 18 cm (7 inch) side plate or ring mould as a guide, cut two rounds from the pastry. Place the rounds on the prepared baking tray and prick all over with a fork to stop it puffing up too much. Any remaining pastry can be pressed back together, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for another use.
Evenly spread 1–2 heaped tablespoons of frangipane on each pastry disc. Any leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Arrange the apple slices in a concentric circle on top of the frangipane, overlapping to create a flower shape, and place two or three half-slices in the middle to finish. Brush the apple with melted butter and sprinkle with half the caster sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed in the centre and the apple slices are pale golden.
Serve hot or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Recipes and Images from More Please! by Manu Fieldel with Clarissa Weerasena (Murdoch Books. Buy the book here.
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