225 g Granulated or caster sugar
150 ml Armagnac or brandy
1 ts Natural vanilla essence
900 g Ripe Golden Delicious
-apples; peeled, cored and
; thinly sliced
100 g Unsalted butter; melted
15 Sheets filo pastry
The day before you intend to eat the tart, make the Armagnac syrup.
Put the sugar into a pan with 150ml water, stir over a medium heat
until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Draw off the
heat and stir in the Armagnac and vanilla essence. Leave to cool.
Peel and core the apples, then slice very thinly. Set aside 4
tablespoons of syrup and pour the rest over the apples, turning the
slices gently. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature
Next day, brush a 25cm tart tin with butter. To prevent the filo
pastry drying out as you work, pile up the sheets, cover with a sheet
of greaseproof paper and lay a tea towel wrung out in cold water over
the paper. Put a metal baking sheet in the oven and pre-heat it to
Take the first sheet of filo, brush lightly with butter, fold in half
and lay in the tin, one corner inwards so that it covers about one
third of the base with the ends trailing over the side. Do the same
with a second sheet, laying it at right angles to the first.
Repeat with a further 6 sheets of filo (making 8 in all so far),
gently pressing them down so that they line the tin. Take a 9th
sheet, brush with butter and lay it over the entire base, without
Now fill the tart with slices of apple, making sure that they lie
flat. Spoon over 2-3 tablespoons of their soaking syrup. Flip the
trailing ends of filo over to cover the filling, smoothing them down
nicely but still leaving an inch or so hanging over the edge. Brush
another sheet of filo with butter, fold in half and lay it over the
top. Trim off the edges close to the tin with a sharp knife or a pair
Time for a bit of artistry. Taking a sheet of filo at a time (no need
for butter here). Scrunch it up gently in your hands, then lay it on
top of the tart so that it balloons up in crumpled waves, covering
about one fifth of the surface. Repeat with another 4 sheets. To
finish with a casual looking arrangement of elegantly scrumpled filo
covering the entire tart. Dip the brush in melted butter and flick it
over the pastry. Don’t try to brush on the butter or you’ll flatten
those chic waves.
Set the tart on the hot baking sheet (this gives an instant blast of
heat to the underside so that it cooks more crisply) and bake for 15
minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/350F/gas 4 and bake for a
further 30 minutes (cover loosely with foil if it threatens to burn).
As soon as it comes out of the oven, brush with the reserved Armagnac
syrup. Work lightly so as not to crack the filo, but be generous and
use it all up. Serve warm (it can be reheated briefly in the oven).