I think this is one of my best recipes in a while. This Apple Phyllo Tart is so delicious. The pastry is super crisp, the crushed biscuits go all chewy between the layers and the tartness of the soft apples counter balances it all perfectly. And it is a breeze to make even if phyllo is not really your thing.
And phyllo is not really my thing but the idea came from a recent visit to the set of the Afrikaans Baking Contest, Koekedoor, where the final challenge of the episode was a showpiece bake with phyllo so decided the recipe for this post had to be something with phyllo.
I was thrilled when I received the invitation from Errieda du Toit, my friend and content producer for the show, to join them on set for the day. There was no way I was going to not go, baking shows are my favourite form of TV (I shout instructions from the couch) and I wanted to see how real it all was. And can tell you it is real, very real and incredibly stressful. The episode being filmed that day was halfway through the series and only 5 contestants remained. As I sat in the control room I could see each camera following a contestant and it was fascinating watching the raw footage. It really is edge of the seat stuff as you see silly mistakes being made (which we all make when not remotely under that kind of pressure) and that final few minutes when it is a frantic rush to finish the bake for the judging. Unfortunately I had to head back to Cape Town before the final phyllo challenge was recorded and getting to see which contestant was eliminated. But after the hours I spent on set I have a firm favourite and will be watching with great interest this Thursday to see the edited episode and of course who was sent packing.
The tart is very simple and it might not look the part of a showpiece bake for a baking contest but it certainly delivers on showpiece flavour. All it is, is 4 layers of phyllo, each layer brushed with some butter and sprinkled with crushed Amaretti biscuits, pecan nuts and cinnamon. A layer of phyllo is placed on top, buttered and covered in a layer of thinly sliced apples and baked. It could not be a simpler sweet bake.
You can vary the ingredients as well. You could replace the amaretti biscuits with ginger biscuits for instance and add other nuts rather than pecans to the sprinkle mix. I added some vanilla powder which I have in the cupboard but that is purely optional. I have also made a version of the tart with apple and pear slices and it was as delicious.
You bake the tart to a golden brown but you could take it a few minutes further to get a really crisp pastry but be careful to not burn it. And eat it as soon as possible, you want all that crunch with the soft cooked apple while the pastry is still warm.
** Koekedoor is broadcast on Kyknet Channel 144 on Thursdays at 20:30
** Disclaimer : I was an invited guest to the show and this blog post is of my own accord
- 75g pecan nuts, toasted and finely chopped
- 100g amaretti biscuits, crushed
- 50g brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- good pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp vanilla powder (optional)
- 5 sheets phyllo pastry, covered with a damp tea towel
- 50g butter, melted
- 3 - 4 apples, cored and thinly sliced
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
- Combine the pecans, biscuits, sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla (if used)
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place 1 phyllo sheet on top
- Brush the pastry with butter, and sprinkle a quarter of the nut mixture evenly over top.
- Place a sheet of pastry on top, brush with butter and top with another quarter of the nut mixture.
- Repeat twice more
- Top with remaining phyllo sheet, and brush with butter
- Arrange the apple slices on top of the pastry, slightly overlapping and leaving a 2cm border around edges
- Brush the apples with the remaining butter and sprinkle with some sugar
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the phyllo is golden brown and fruit is soft
- Let cool slightly and serve dusted with icing sugar