I first learnt to make apple tart with my friend Louis Jonker, the renowned part-time chef from Stellenbosch (at home he and his wife Anita split the cooking half-and-half). Once, during a visit to Ceres in the Western Cape, I decided to try something I’d never seen before (but it has since grown to such fame that it’s now standard practice) – apple tart in a potjie! I adjusted the recipe slightly for cooking on a fire, and the end result was very successful. Try it and see for yourself! Serves 6-8.
For the filling:
- 8–10 Granny Smith apples (Louis and all the Ceres locals assured me that when baking apple tart, Granny Smith apples are the way to go)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tots brandy (or rum)
For the crumble:
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (caramel brown sugar, or ordinary light brown sugar)
- 125 g salted butter (a quarter of a 500 g block – soft)
- another 2 tots butter
- another dash of cinnamon
- vanilla ice-cream (or cream, to serve)
- Peel and core the apples, cut them into chunks and throw them in a potjie. Add the water, raisins, cinnamon and brandy, and mix well.
- Put the potjie on the fire, with the lid on. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes until the apples begin to soften. Remove from the fire once cooked.
- While the apples and their friends cook, add the flour, sugar and butter to a bowl and rub together with your clean fingertips until it forms a dry, crumbly mixture.
- Add half of the crumble mixture to the potjie and mix it into the cooked apples.
- Use the rest of the crumble mixture to cover the apples – make sure it spreads out evenly.
- Add a couple of knobs of butter on top of the crumble and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the top to give the tart some colour. Put the lid on the potjie and go back to the fire.
- Put the potjie over gentle coals and also put coals on the lid. When and if the coals lose power, add extra coals to the bottom and top of the potjie. If the fire is big and one side of the potjie gets more heat than the other, rotate the potjie every now and again.
- Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, until you see the apple sauce bubbling through the crust when you lift the lid.
- Enjoy with some vanilla ice-cream or cream.
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