A new month is upon us, which means a new Tasty Tuesday contributor! This month we welcome local foodie Ashley Alexander of Gather & Feast. Ashley is a self-taught cook with a focus on wholesome, in-season food, designed to be shared – we love her beautiful food blog!
Ashley is kicking off the month with her amazing Spelt and Maple Apple Tarte Tatin! ‘This is not your typical tarte tatin’ she says! In her slightly more rustic take on this decadent French ‘upside down’ tart, Ashley opts for stone ground spelt flour, with pure maple syrup and raw honey as sweeteners.
The idea behind Gather & Feast was inspired by the multifaceted meanings of the words gather and feast. The gathering together of beautiful food, and also the gathering together of friends and loved ones. To feast, to celebrate, to share, to enjoy, to love.
I believe enjoying beautiful food with the people I love is one of life’s simple pleasures. Many of my fondest memories are from around the kitchen table; meaningful moments spent while sharing a meal with others. Whether it’s a quiet night in with friends where the hours pass over deep conversation and many moments of hilarity, or an extravagant Christmas lunch celebrating with extended family, these moments are treasured, and are almost always centered around food.
I also believe the environment in which we dine is often just as important as the food itself. The love and effort shown in creating a welcoming setting can often add real warmth and value to a gathering. It can be as simple as fresh foliage straight from your garden, music playing softly in the background as guests arrive, or scattered pillar candles to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Simple and meaningful. Beautiful, but low on fuss.
My aim through Gather & Feast is to share wholesome and nutritious recipes, using natural ingredients and fresh in-season produce. My hope is to encourage people to gather and feast with the ones they love in a fun and stress free way, and enable them to enjoy food that is visually pleasing as well as delicious and nutritious.
For my recipe I am sharing a not so typical classic apple tarte tatin. I’ve given this version a healthy makeover! The pastry is made with stone ground spelt flour, giving the tart a beautifully crumbly texture and slightly rustic flavour, while the honey and maple syrup provide sweetness without the need for refined sugars. It’s perfect served with crème fraiche, pure cream or natural yoghurt.
For the pastry
- 250g stone ground sifted spelt flour
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- Pinch sea salt flakes
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 125g good quality butter, cold
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
- 8 medium sized apples (‘Granny Smith’ or ‘Pink Lady’ apples work well!)
- 150ml pure maple syrup
- 1⁄3 cup raw honey
- 60g good quality butter
- 2 whole vanilla beans, split and seeded
- Pinch sea salt flakes
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Sift the spelt flour into a large mixing bowl, and then add the coconut sugar, sea salt flakes and cinnamon.
Grate the cold butter into the flour mix. Blend the butter into the flour mix with your fingers. Add the egg and mix well.
Gently knead the dough until just smooth and form into a ball. Cover the dough ball and place in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
Once the dough has rested, remove from the fridge and roll into a large circle about 1⁄2 cm thick (I find it’s easiest to roll the dough out onto a large piece of baking paper). Place the rolled dough back into the fridge to rest while you prepare the apples.
Peel, core and chop the apples in half, then set aside.
Add the maple, honey, vanilla beans and butter into a heavy based oven proof frying pan.
Simmer the maple mixture until the butter has melted, and then for a further 5 minutes.
Place the apples into the maple mix and simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Remove the rolled dough from the fridge and place over the warm apple mix, pressing the edges of the dough down and around the apples.
Place the pan into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
Turn out the tart onto a serving plate (be careful as the syrup will be very hot).
Serve with crème fraiche, ice cream or natural yoghurt. Enjoy!