Provence: Thyme and Tarragon Apple Slice
France has about fifty varieties of apples grown throughout its various regions. It produces two million tonnes of apples per year, of which fifty percent are exported; so the remainder are used locally in a variety of ways. The French use apples to create delectable desserts, and the recipe I share with you today has an unusual combination of ingredients, which a number of other European countries also use when baking apples.
This slice consists of three layers but give yourself time to prepare it.
- 2 kg green apples
- 120 gr sugar
- 1 heaped tblsp butter
- 1 tblsp vanilla paste or 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 1 tsp dried thyme
Pastry for base
- 150 gr plain flour
- 100 gr potato flour (rice flour is also fine to use)
- 1 egg
- 60 gr sugar
- 150 gr cold butter
- 100 gr plain flour
- 50 gr rice flour (adds a slight crunch to the topping)
- 100 gr desiccated coconut
- 60 gr sugar
- 130 gr cold butter
Orange marmalade for spreading
- 150 gr orange marmalade (I have used fig jam here and it also works well)
- Line with baking paper a rectangular baking tin.
- Start with preparing the base first. Sift the flours and sugar, then add the chopped butter. Combine in food processor till crumbly and then add the egg. Quickly knead, roll it into a ball and then put dough into a plastic bag before placing it in the fridge for an hour.
- After you remove dough from the fridge, roll it between two sheets of baking paper until it becomes the size of the baking tray. Transfer the dough onto the tray and prick the pastry with a fork before returning it to the fridge for another half an hour.
- Sift the flours and sugar, add coconut and then add pieces of cold chopped butter. Rub the butter with the dry ingredients until resembling crumbs. Refrigerate till required.
- Peel and quarter the apples (removing the core) and cut into small pieces about 2 cm square.
- In a large frying pan melt the butter. Add the apples and sugar, mixing the butter through the apples. Add vanilla and cinnamon and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes. Add tarragon and thyme and stir these through the apples, then turn off the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and spread jam over the uncooked base. Put the apples over the base evenly, then put the topping over the apples. Bake for about 50 minutes or till a golden colour and remove from oven.
- Before serving, sprinkle with icing sugar and then serve with ice cream or cream.