What I really wanted to make was one of my favourite things in the world – chocolate chip cookies! I love them (see here, here, here and here), and they don’t really have them in Poland, so I wanted to show them what they are like.
Unfortunately, brown sugar is a new idea in Poland, and is not the same as the brown sugar we have here. The brown sugar I know is soft and moist and darkish brown from all the molasses. The brown sugar in Poland is large, granular and lightly brown due to the addition of caramel. Not the same thing at all!
As the cookies didn’t work, I moved on to one of my other favourite foods – pie! This type of pie, or tart, is a favourite because it is so easy and I have made it plenty of times with different fruit fillings (see here, here and here).
I made it with a new pastry recipe which was super crumbly, and the addition of a custard layer underneath the apple filling was a hit. It was smooth and creamy and went beautifully with the apples and the crust. Everyone loved it!
For the pastry
1 2/3 cups plain flour
2/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp salt
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
For the filling
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 cup custard
To make the apple filling, peel, core and cube the apples. Place them, with the vanilla sugar, in a small saucepan over a low heat. Cover the saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be soft but still hold their shape.
Drain the liquid from the apples into a small bowl, and mix the cornflour into the liquid until it is smooth and there are no lumps. Stir the cornflour mixture back into the apples and set aside.
To make the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar, vanilla sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, crumble in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and bring the mixture together, kneading lightly, to form a dough. If it is still a little dry you can add 1-2 teaspoons of cold water.
Divide the dough into 4 discs, wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 C and line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each disc of dough until it is about 4mm thick.
Place the rounds of dough on the baking trays. Spread a quarter of the custard over each tart base, leaving a 4-5cm border around the edges. Spread a quarter of the apple filling over the custard on each tart.
Fold the plain pastry border in over the filling on each tart, so some of the filling is covered while the center remains exposed.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden. Makes 4 large tarts.