Apple, lavender and brown butter tart


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With the arrival of autumn, baking is a perfect way to enjoy comfort food and the ideal option to use up a glut of fruit. Apple season is upon us, and I bought quite a few bags to juice and to bake with. There are so many English apple varieties to rediscover this autumn. The best way is to explore the local farmers markets where smaller growers proudly display their produce and farm shops. Apple, as well as tasty, has considerable nutritional value. It contains vitamins B1, B2, and minerals such as phosphorus and iron.

Apart from apples, another inspiration for this recipe is brown butter. That is made by just melting butter until the milk evaporates, and the solids start to burn; the result is a caramel coloured and nut flavoured liquid. Simply divine!


You can use any other nuts you prefer – I have used Brazil nuts, and it was spectacular!

I froze the butter for the pastry for a better result.

For this recipe, you will need a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.




Hazelnut crust

  • 50g of hazelnuts
  • 40g of icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pinch of fine sea salt
  • 110g of plain flour
  • 120g of unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small chunks

Brown butter filling

  • 400g of apple, sliced, skin-on
  • 110g of sugar
  • 160g of unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • 2 large eggs, preferably organic
  • 35g of plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • lavender flowers to taste, (I used about 1 tsp only)
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
First, make the crust. Blitz the hazelnuts, icing sugar, salt and flour in a food processor until the hazelnuts are finely ground. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture starts to turn into a crumbly mass
Press the crumbs into the tart tin, pressing the dough evenly into the tart sides and bottom. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and place in the freezer for 15 minutes
Place the tart tin on a baking sheet and bake the until the crust is pale golden for approximately 12–15 minutes. Rotate after 8 minutes for even browning
Now make the brown butter – switch off your mobile and don't answer the door! In a medium to large heavy-bottomed saucepan add the butter and vanilla, cooking at medium heat, swirling at times. Be careful as the butter splashes a bit when it melts and cooks in the pan. Keep an eye on it! The butter will foam up and become caramel coloured and smell nutty
Remove the pan from the heat and pass through a metal sieve into a heatproof bowl – no plastic ones, they will melt! Set aside to cool down for 10 minutes
To prepare the apples, mix the sliced apples with 2 tbsp of the sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Reserve
In a food processor, pulse together the lavender flowers, sugar, the flour and salt to combine. Incorporate the eggs and process until well-combined. With the motor running, slowly pour in the brown butter, including the brown flecks and vanilla seeds
Pat-dry the apple slices and place onto the part-baked tart shell in an even layer. Carefully pour the filling over the apples, filling the shell to the brim. Bake the tart until the filling is puffed and browned, for approximately 30–40 minutes
Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool slightly before unmoulding it. Sprinkle with icing sugar, decorate with lavender and serve warm or at room temperature
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