When we’re talking about female cooks, no other cookbook springs to mind. Kitchenella will teach you the skills of those teachers who work without books, the ‘mothers’ and the cooks who subsequently learned from them, to decisively show you the easy way to cook and shop.
‘My sister Laura has always made this quick tart fror my children when we visit, cramming it into a very small gas stove, which singes it in places, rather deliciously. In France they row about the colour of the pastry (and why not?). The rustic pastry of the artisanal peasant is darkly burnished, reminiscent of traditionally fired ovens. Golden pastry is for wimps.’
1 slab (approximately 500g/ 1lb 2oz) butter puff pastry
6 dessert apples (use juicy, tart-flavoured ones such as Gala, Cox’s or Granny Smith), cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons apricot jam/jelly
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/ Gas 8. Roll the pastry into a large rectangle and transfer to a buttered baking tray. Prick all over with a fork, so the entire surface is perforated at regular intervals. This stops the pastry puffing up in great bubbles during cooking, upsetting the rows of apple slices. Lay the apple slices on the surface of the pastry in neat-ish rows, each slice overlapping the one next to it. Bake in the oven until the pastry is crisp, brown (but not black-brown) and the apples are singed with colour. Remove from the oven and cool. Meanwhile, heat the jam or jelly with the water until it bubbles and breaks down into a liquid. Strain through a small sieve and use a pastry brush to paint a glaze onto the whole surface of the tart.
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