This morning I woke to autumn sunlight pouring through the bedroom window, and mist rolling over the fields. It felt chilly when I opened the back door to let the dogs out. I adore this time of year when the days are still warm but the nights are drawing in, it’s a cosy feeling. Last week I managed to gather cobnuts (the squirrels had left me a few to cook with!) Then, by chance a dear friend handed me a basket of apples from her garden to put to good use. So to kick the day off, I decided to make an autumnal dessert for the weekend: an Apple and Cobnut Frangipane Tart. Spelt and rye shortcrust pastry, filled with a nutty cake batter and topped with garden gathered apples. Serve with thick Greek-style yogurt or crème fraîche. It has got to be one of my favourite desserts.
Cobnuts are lovely eaten fresh just as they are and they’re also an appetising addition to a salad. Personally I enjoy them roasted, it brings out their slightly earthy, malty flavour. The roasted nuts are delicious eaten on their own too. You can chop or grind them to use in pesto, desserts and cakes. To roast cobnuts, crack and discard the shell, then bake on a tray in an oven heated to approximately 150°C fan for 20-25 minutes. No need to skin them. If cobnuts are unavailable, skinned hazelnuts work extremely well too.
I grew up with a garden full of apple trees, I consider myself a bit of an expert at choosing the crispest, sweetest and juiciest fruit. Here I have Rosette and Early Windsor apples. However any dessert apples will work in this recipe. Click here for a guide to British apple varieties.
I have made his dessert in many different guises over the years, with pears, apricots, plums and classically with ground almond. A handy pudding because it freezes exceptional well, perfect if you have a garden glut of this orchard fruit.
So if you have access to beautiful British apples and a few cobnuts, I urge you to give this Apple & Cobnut Frangipane Tart a go.
Apple & Cobnut Frangipane Tart
- 150 g white spelt flour or plain flour
- 30 g light rye flour
- 15 g icing sugar
- a good pinch fine sea salt
- 90 g butter cold
- 3 Tbls cold water
- 80 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 80 g cobnuts or skinned hazelnuts a few extra nuts to sprinkle on the top
- 80 g golden caster sugar
- ½ lemon zest
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbls cream, single or double
- 1 Tbls white spelt flour
- 5-6 small apples
- 3 Tbls apricot jam
- Begin with roasting the cobnuts if using. Preheat the oven to 150°C and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
- Pastry: Sift the flour into a bowl and dice the butter into it. Add the salt. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar then the cold water until the dough comes together. Knead lightly to make a ball. Alternatively make the pastry in a food processor. Chill for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C fan.
- Grease the base of a 24cm pastry case. Roll out the pastry, line the tin, and trim the edges. Line with parchment and half-fill with baking beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper, then bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set to one side to cool.
- Meanwhile, grind the cobnuts or hazelnuts. Set to one side. Beat the butter and sugar until really light and fluffy in a free standing mixer. Crack the egg into a bowl, then add the egg yolk, lightly whisk together. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Fold in the ground cobnuts or hazelnuts, flour, cream and lemon zest then tip into the cooled pastry case. Halve the apples, carefully cutting out the cores. Place flat side down and slice thinly across the width. Place the apples in the tart. Sprinkle a few chopped nuts on the top and dust lightly with icing sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 175°Cf fan and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the frangipane is puffy and golden and the apples just cooked. remove from the oven. Place the apricot jam in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Heat gently, whisking until smooth. Paint the apples with the apricot jam. Serve warm or cold
Here is another autumn recipe for you to try with cobnuts – Spelt, Apple, Blackberry & Cobnut Crumble Cake.