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Besancon Apple Tart with Crème Anglaise

Besancon Apple Tart with Crème Anglaise

A delicious homely dessert that everyone adores!



Pastry (you can use shop-bought but I much prefer making my own)

285g/ 10 ozs plain flour

175g/ 5 ozs  butter

pinch of salt

1 dessertspoon icing sugar

a little beaten egg



2-3 golden delicious apples

1/2 pint (300ml) cream

2 large or 3 small eggs

2 tablespoons castor sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 x 12 inch (30.5cm) tart tin or 2 x 7 inch (18cm) tart tins


Crème Anglaise (Custard Sauce) 

600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) milk 

vanilla pod (If you don’t have a pod use a ½ tsp of vanilla essence.

6 egg yolks

50g (2oz/1/4 cup) sugar



Make the  pastry

Sieve the flour and salt and icing sugar into a large bowl.

Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and then rub in with your fingertips. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop. 

Whisk the egg or egg yolk and add some water. Using a fork to stir, add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then collect it into a ball with your hands kneading slightly, this way you can judge more accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. 

The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper, shorter crust.

Flatten into a round, cover the pastry with parchment paper and leave to rest in the fridge for 

30 minutes. This will make the pastry much less elastic and easier to roll.

Roll out and line a tart tin with a removable base and chill for 10 minutes. 

Line with paper and fill with dried beans and bake blind in a moderate oven180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, brush the tart with a little egg wash and return to the oven for 5 minutes.


For the Filling

Peel the apples, quarter, core and cut into even slices about one-eighth inch thick. Arrange one at a time as you slice to form a circle inside the tart, the slices should slightly overlap on the inside, fill the centre likewise. (I like to do mine a little different more like fans of apples placed but up to you how you’d like to decorate!)

Whisk the eggs well, with the sugar and vanilla extract, add the cream. Strain this mixture over the apples and bake at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4, for 35 minutes. 

When the mixture is set and the apples are fully cooked, I sprinkle some castor sugar over the apples and place under grill watching closely until nice and golden!


For the Crème Anglaise (Custard Sauce) 

(You can easily make this in advance to have it ready for when you are serving up) – Serve Cold

Bring the milk almost to the boil with the vanilla pod. In a Pyrex bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and light. Whisk in the hot milk in a slow and steady stream. 

In a clean saucepan pour in the mixture and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens slightly. Your finger should leave a clear trail when drawn across the back of the spoon.

Remove from the heat at once and strain. Cool, cover tightly and chill. The custard can be kept up to 2 days in the refrigerator. 


Serve a slice on each plate with a delicious pour of the Crème Anglaise!

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