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Please share your Irish apple tart recipes

24 replies

TurquoiseTranquility · 17/03/2016 00:16

Hi all, so tomorrow's st Patrick's day and DH is Irish. And I've never cooked any Irish food for him, ever! Except Irish coffee. Not that he ever asked but... I've decided I'll give the apple tart a go.
I've only ever tried an apple tart once, at his antie's. That was ages ago so I'm not really sure what I'm doing and online recipes differ too much. I know the pastry should be really thin, not too brown, apples barely sweetened, it should be baked on a plate rather than in a pie tin or a deep pie dish. But I'm still left with a lot at questions.
So could you please tell me:

  • do you sweeten the pastry at all? Put any salt in it? Do you blind-bake the bottom crust before adding the filling, or just assemble the whole thing and bake? I've come across a recipe with a potato crust, is that traditional or just someone trying to reinvent "authenticity"?
  • what apples do you use? Something really tart like Bramley or semi-sweet like Granny Smith (are either of those even Irish?) Do you pre-cook them or put them in raw?
  • do you use any spice? I find an apple pie with no cinnamon much too bland and many recipes do call for cinnamon, clove or even ginger. But hubby's antie's tart had no spice, or not any I could detect. So maybe you're not supposed to use spice?
  • do you use brown or white sugar? And does it even matter given the amount of it?
  • lastly, is it really blasphemous to jazz it up with some whiskey-soaked raisins? I know that's not traditional but it's St Patrick's day after all...

    TIA for any input.
OP posts:
DramaAlpaca · 17/03/2016 00:34

I don't think of apple tart as exclusively Irish, but it is certainly very popular here.

I would say that everyone has their own version and I don't know if there's a standard recipe that's typically Irish. My friend's mother makes the best one I've ever tasted and her pastry is sublime. Mine is nowhere near as good, but I do make apple tart quite often, usually with our home grown Bramley apples.

I make shortcrust pastry with a little salt and no sugar, and I use all butter.

I don't blind bake the bottom crust. I use a traditional shallow pie plate.

I peel, core and slice the apples, then part cook in a saucepan with caster sugar until they start to break down but are still slightly firm. I don't use a lot of sugar, just enough to take the edge off the tartness of the apples.

I don't add cinnamon or any spice as I don't like it personally, but lots of people do. Whisky soaked raisins sound nice though - might try that!

Happy St Patrick's Day! Shamrock

Tartyflette · 17/03/2016 00:45

I don't think I've ever seen a recipe for Irish apple tart (or pie, if it had two crusts) specifically but it sounds fairly plain from what you describe.
Muy mother used to make one that may be similar, she used a plain shortcrust pastry, no sugar, in a shallow pie dish or plate, with a top and bottom crust and a mixture of cooking and eating apples (raw, but finely sliced) in the filling with a little sugar. She also put in two or three cloves. When it was baked she would sprinkle the pie with caster sugar.

TakeMeUpTheNorthMountain · 17/03/2016 00:47

I wouldn't have said it was typically irish either.

Soda bread
Bacon and cabbage
Irish stew

An apple tart is universal. Putting alcohol in it doesn't make it irish.

Tartyflette · 17/03/2016 00:47

And serve it warm with custard. My Irish DH loves custard. Even on Paddy's Day.

TakeMeUpTheNorthMountain · 17/03/2016 00:50

Bread and butter pudding and custard. Fuck, I'm starving now.

DramaAlpaca · 17/03/2016 00:53

Oh yes, apple tart is lovely warm with custard. That's how my Irish DH likes it too.

I recently made bacon & cabbage for the first time. DH was impressed, but said it wasn't supposed to be served with carrots. Too bad, I like carrots.

DH makes fabulous soda bread. Again, it's his own recipe, adapted from his DM's.

Tartyflette · 17/03/2016 00:59

I had bacon and cabbage at DH's family place back in Ould Oireland and although it was delicious, it was somewhat challenging, consisting as it did of a large dunner plate entirely covered by floury boiled potatoes, then a generous layer of cabbage, topped by the thickly sliced boiled bacon. Actually, I could probably manage that right now.

Tartyflette · 17/03/2016 01:00

Dinner plate....

DramaAlpaca · 17/03/2016 01:03

You've made me crave bread & butter pudding now TakeMeUp.

VertigoNun · 17/03/2016 01:10

My parents are Irish with lots of siblings and I lived there so tried many irish meals. Grin

You can use a standard pie tin. Sweeten the apples for goodness sake. My mum used cloves in her pie and it has been known to have a soggy bottom Grin. I use cinnamon and blind bake. We use shortcrust pastry unsweetened. My mum sprinkles sugar on the top.

Irish soda bread is very easy to make, try it.

I am doing boiled bacon, potatoes and cabbage tomorrow.

TakeMeUpTheNorthMountain · 17/03/2016 02:16

I'm having chipper tomorrow. Dirty big greasy chips with a lash of salt and vinegar.

Sorry Drama... I'm craving it now too. Is it too late to bake at 2AM?

TurquoiseTranquility · 17/03/2016 13:25

Thanks for all your tips, folks Shamrock
TakeMeUp, no, of course a bit of shortcrust pastry with an apple filling, whether it's a pie or a tart, isn't exclusively Irish. But various cultures may have their own ways of making ubiquitous dishes. I got the impression, from eating DH's antie's pie and from reading lots of online recipes (or rather comments from Irish people slagging off recipes for being to fancy and not Irish enough) that the way the Irish do it is by making it thin, not too sweet, yes sugar on the top and served with custard or thick cream. The responses I got seem to broadly confirm that.
Sure, putting whiskey in food doesn't make it Irish, that was just me trying to jazz things up Blush There's beauty in simplicity but in my book, cooked apple with no spice in it is unjustifiably bland, so if people told me I'm not supposed to use spice whiskey would be my next bet.

Sadly, tho I come from the nation of cabbage-eaters, sticking cabbage in everything doesn't float my boat and the smell of boiled bacon puts me off life entirely Grin
As for bread, I have a batch of no-knead sourdough living in my fridge. DH likes my bread and says it reminds him of his granny's. I'm sure his granny would probably have baked soda not sourdough, but he's happy and that's good enough for me.

Might try potato farls though. Again I wouldn't say they are so different from potato patties from other cultures (including my own) as to make them quintessentially Irish but hey, I don't have time for Irish stew tonight Grin

OP posts:
VertigoNun · 17/03/2016 13:38

Have an Irish coffee if you want to justify alcohol. Please stop saying the Irish do not add cloves to apple pie when you only tasted one they do.Grin

Bunbaker · 17/03/2016 13:48

DD made this for me on Mothering Sunday. It was delicious. She doubled up on the pastry ingredients because there were three of us.

ootsideinbacktaefront · 17/03/2016 13:54

Go to Morrison's they have a selection of Irish goodies , save yourself the hassle 😁

Bunbaker · 17/03/2016 15:32

But they won't taste as good as a freshly baked home made apple tart.

ootsideinbacktaefront · 17/03/2016 16:49

Agreed but I don't think apple pies very Irish I would buy kimberley .

TurquoiseTranquility · 17/03/2016 17:29

lol I didn't say no cloves, I was asking

OP posts:
TurquoiseTranquility · 17/03/2016 17:29

and I don't live near a Morrisons...

OP posts:
TurquoiseTranquility · 17/03/2016 17:33

I did do an Irish stew in the end, BTW. Which I have to say is so non-descript I'm not even sure why it's called Irish... nothing different from what half of Eastern Europe might cook. Still, DH likes a stew so that's that.
I'm making that apple pie too though, if not today then tomorrow.

OP posts:
FrozenPonds · 17/03/2016 17:42

I have an apple pie question, if the OP will forgive the hijack!

When we had apple pie years ago, there used to be a slightly burnt looking brown syrupy bit bubbling around the edges.

It would dry/set dark brown, like syrup.

No matter what I do, my pies are not the same.

I add sugar to the filling, I've tried adding it to the top, nothing works.

Is it that my oven is just not a range? Grin Sad

TurquoiseTranquility · 17/03/2016 19:52

Good question, Frozen!
(eagerly awaits the experts' verdict)
I can only hazard a guess that perhaps the pie was overfilled with apples and either there was no steam vent in the top, or the edges weren't sealed properly. The filling doesn't have to be sickly sweet for a syrup to form, but there does have to be a certain amount of sugar (or the apples need to be sweet). I also suspect the tart you ate was baked in some sort of a heavy dish with good thermal mass, like a cast iron skillet or a very thick ceramic dish.

Actually baking a pie in a cast iron skillet is a good way to prevent a soggy bottom if you're not doing the blind bake.

OP posts:
Tartyflette · 20/03/2016 01:36

Perhaps a metal or enamel pie plate/shallow pie dish might help achieve the desired sticky effect, Frozen. (Conducts heat better) You could also try using brown sugar?
When I make a fruit crumble it often goes toffee-like around the edges, and I usually use brown sugar in those.

cjbk1 · 28/03/2016 12:41

I need to say- growing up in Ireland from age 11 I don't think I've ever not been offered 'Apple Tart' by the lady/gent of the house! Armagh apples and all that! however I wouldn't know the particular Irish way as we didn't do it in Home Ec and Mum is English Confused enjoy!

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