This classic apple tart recipe is light and not overly sweet. The pastry is flaky and practically melts in your mouth and the apples look so pretty fanned out on the top.
You can also replace the apple with fresh apricot, which is really amazing. Or you can do it with nectarines or peaches. I think they look particularly pretty with the lovely orange colour against the pastry cream.
We enjoy having these tarts in the autumn when apples are at their best. When choosing apples for this tart, choose apples that are quite small. It's easier to make a pretty pattern with smaller apples.
The characteristics you are looking for are firmness of flesh (so that it holds its shape) and sweetness.
If you can find them, Cox's apples are best. I found a website called Orange Pippin about apples that is truly wonderful. It has tasting notes, characteristics and photographs of hundreds of different apple varieties.
I prefer to make this apple tart recipe with classic puff pastry. However I do sometimes make them with rough puff pastry if I don't have any puff pastry in the freezer and I'm in a hurry.
Classic puff pastry takes about 5½ hours to make, rough puff pastry only takes 2½ hours to make from scratch. Both these times include lots of time allow the pastry to rest in the fridge.
You can make the creme patissiere in advance, but I find it easier to spread if you make use it straight away. I usually make the creme patissiere while the pastry is resting.
We enjoy this apple tart recipe with a nice cup of Earl Grey. They are best eaten warm from the oven.
If I do serve them as part of an autumn afternoon tea spread, I often cut them into quarters and put them on a cake stand along with other warm little delicacies such as pikelets and cinnamon toast. The best cake in this case would be a lovely moist carrot cake. This whole menu would go well with English Breakfast or a smooth cup of Sencha green tea.
You can serve them cold, and they still do taste amazing. You could serve them along with any other delicacies on a cake stand - macaroons, chocolate eclairs, vanilla slice or mini pavlovas, to name but a few.