Desserts can be tricky, but our celeb chef columnist Gary Rhodes has a simple, delicious sweet that will blow your socks off.8

One of my favourite desserts is an apple tart, and I’ll always remember, many, many years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to go and work with a three-Michelin-star chef in France, and one of the things he was renowned for was his apple tart. The thinnest piece of puff pastry, apples galore sliced on top, baked off to order very, very quickly and then just glazed with apricot jam. There was nothing new about it – it was just simple, basic – but the crunch and tartness that he took from the apples, countered with the sweetness of the jam and the sugar, was a hit. He made sure that the glaze wasn’t just thick apricot jam; he’d loosened it and really formed a wonderful glaze.

It was the most popular dessert, so I decided, well, why couldn’t we create a recipe for home cooks and simplify it a little bit more? So, I’m just taking one of those ready-rolled, frozen puff pastries, defrosting it, unrolling it, cutting it into four strips, topping them with apples and a little sprinkling of sugar and just popping it in the oven for 20 minutes. When that’s happening, you can be warming up a little bit of apricot jam – just microwave it with a touch of water to loosen it – and you’re ready to glaze them.

You’re offering your guests just a bit of pastry and apples with a drizzle of pouring cream or a dollop of ice cream to go with it, and you’re going to have the most sensational apple tart. I’ve always enjoyed eating this myself. I love it. In a restaurant you would make your own pastry, of
course you would, but who has the time or inclination to make their own at home? I’m a chef, and any chef that tells you, ‘yes, I make my own puff pastry at home’ is lying. I would always use a Granny Smith, because it has that absolute tartness – that sharp, acidic bite. That’s what counters against the sweetness of the apricot and that little touch of caster sugar. With this dessert, you have a really nice contrast of flavours.

One sheet of frozen puff pastry, four green apples (peeled, cored and quartered), one to two tbsp apricot jam, one to two tsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C. Divide the pastry into four strips, placing them on a baking tray topped with greaseproof paper and pricking each strip with a fork. Cut each apple quarter into three and place 12 wedges, overlapping, on each strip of pastry and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake the tarts for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and the apples are tender. microwave the apricot jam, stirring in a few tablespoons of water to loosen. Brush each of the tarts with the jam, leaving a shiny, flavoursome glaze to finish. Serve with a ball of vanilla ice cream with pouring cream.