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Recipe: How to make apple and almond tart

Food writer John Duxbury shares the steps for making this tart's buttery pastry case, soft almond filling, and thin crisp toffee-apple and almond topping.

Recipe: How to make apple and almond tart
Apple cake. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

The Swedish name of this tart (Äppeltårta med mandelfyllning och tosca) translates as ‘apple tart with almond filling and tosca’. Tosca refers to the fact that the topping is based on the topping from Toscakaka, a Swedish cake created in honour of Puccini’s opera.

Based on a recipe by Maud Onnermark.

Summary

Serves: 10-12

Difficulty level: Moderate

Preparation time: 25 minutes (plus time for the pastry to chill)

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Total: 60 minutes

Tips

. The tart looks more attractive when made with red-skinned apples. Swedes like to use Ingrid Marie, a variety popular in Scandinavia, but other varieties that work well include Aroma, Frida, and Discovery.

. Liquid glucose (sometimes called glucose syrup) is widely available, although if you can’t find it you could substitute with corn syrup, but NOT glycerine, which is entirely different.

Ingredients

Pastry

180 g (1 ¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

50 g (3 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar

125 g (½ cup) butter, cut into small cubes

1 egg yolk

Filling

75 g (⅓ cup) butter, softened

100 g (⅝ cup) ground almonds

100 g (7 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar

1 large egg

1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice

2-3 red-skinned apples

Topping

50 g (3tbsp) butter

1 tbsp flour

50 g (3 tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar

2 tbsp liquid glucose (glucose syrup)

50 g (½ cup) flaked (slivered) almonds

Method

1. Make the pastry by putting the flour and sugar in a food processor and giving it a few whizzes. Add the butter and whizz for 10-15 seconds until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

2. Add the egg yolk and process for a further 20-30 seconds until the pastry clings together. (If it doesn't, add a teaspoon or two of cold water.)

3. Roll the pastry out and use it to line a 25 cm (10″) loose-based tart tin. Chill for 30 minutes.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas 6, fan 180°C).

5. Prick the base of the tart and bake for 12 minutes.

6. Whilst the case is baking, mix the butter for the filling with the ground almonds, caster sugar, a large egg and the zest from the lemon.

7. Put the lemon juice in a large bowl.

8. Core and slice the apples very thinly and toss the slices in the lemon juice to prevent them from going brown.

9. When the case is baked, spread the almond filling over the base and then top with the apple slices.

10. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling is set.

11. Meanwhile, melt the butter for the topping and then stir in the flour, sugar, liquid glucose and flaked (slivered) almonds. Keep stirring the mixture on a low heat until it starts to simmer.

12. Spread the mixture over the filling and continue baking the tart for a further 10 minutes, until the topping is a light brown toffee colour.

Recipe published courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.

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DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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