Growing up, we always had apple tress. I would eat so many apples that I would end up covered in hives. I never cared at all though as I loved coming home from school and going up to pick apples. My Mum used to make great use of the big Bramleys. They were used for tarts, apple sauces, apple snow – the list goes on. We never had any need to buy apples at home in the autumn, they were so versatile and tasty. Now we have all flown the nest but the apple trees continue to provide a bountiful crop. The last weekend I was home. I took a huge bag of juicy Bramleys back to Dublin. There had been a slight frost, which my Dad said would make them even tastier. These apples wouldn’t have passed any EU inspection as they were all misshapen with a few brown spots and each one with their own distinctive character. I really wanted to do these beauties justice. Stewed apple and homemade custard was the first thing that came to mind. I used to love this dessert as a kid. The super hot stewed apple and creamy custard straight from the stove was a favourite of mine after school on a cold winters day.
But then I thought perhaps it should be something more special like an apple and custard pie. Then my imagination ran wild and I thought of an apple and custard and meringue pie. And so this desert was invented. I had made Portuguese custard tarts before and used this as the basis of the recipe. Then I topped with some stewed apple and a meringue topping. Believe it or not this is a really delicious and lighter alternative to the Lemon Meringue pie. I deliberately didn’t add too much sugar to the apples so they retained a bit of tartness which works so perfectly with the sweet home made custard. These were a treat to make and a worthy dessert for the beloved Bramleys.
– 3 egg yolks
– 115 g caster sugar
– 2 tbsp cornflour
– 230 ml cream
– 170 ml milk
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 300g rolled puff pastry
Begin by making the custard. Place the egg yolks, caster sugar, and cornflour into a saucepan. Whisk together over a medium heat. Slowly whisk in the cream and milk. Gently bring to the boil, stirring all the time, until the custard has thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the vanilla extract. Leave aside to cool and cover with Clingfilm so it won’t form a skin.
Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
For the pastry, I know it’s kind of cheating but I bought puff pastry for these. Try and get an all butter puff pastry, if buying. Lay the pastry sheet on a floured surface. Cut the pastry in half, lengthways, so you have two long strips of pastry. Lay one length on top of the other. Now, place the shortest side of the pastry closest to you and roll towards the other end. You then end up with a short stubby roll of pastry. (It will all become clear when you do it.) Cut the roll into 12 discs. They should be about 1cm in thickness. Now, with a rolling pin, roll out each individual disc until it reaches a diameter of 10cm. This sounds complicated, but it’s really not. I would recommend using a ruler for the first one to get it all accurate. Once your pastry discs have been rolled out, gently place each one in the muffin tin. You should find they fit perfectly.
Once you have put the pastry shells into the muffin tin, spoon the cold custard into each one. Place the filled tarts into the oven and cook for 20-25mins until golden brown on top. Leave to cool slightly and then place the pies on a wire rack. Keep the muffin tin aside as you will need it again.
– 200g of Bramley apples
– 1 dessert spoon of water
– 25g of sugar
Peel, core and slice the apples into even slices. Place in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with the water over a low heat. Cover and cook over a low heat. As soon as the apples start to break down and become soft, smash them with a wooden spoon. Next, add the sugar. You may need to add more sugar depending on how tart the apples are. However as they will be going with a very sweet meringue and custard, I think it’s nice to leave the apples a little tarter than normal. Leave the apple to cool slightly.
By now the custard pies should be quite cool. Spoon a dessert spoon of the cooled stewed apple on top of the cooled custard and place the pies back in the muffin tin.
– 2 organic egg whites
– 100 grams of castor sugar
Begin by whisking the eggs in a large clean bowl. Once they begin to get fluffy add half the sugar, continue to beat this in and gradually add the rest of the sugar as you whisk. Keep whisking until the eggs form stiff peaks. Use a piping bag to pipe the egg white on top of the apple. Bake in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) until golden brown and just set. It should take about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the tin and place on a wire rack. Cool slightly before serving.