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Mari’s Irish Apple Tart


Robert Hanly, Designer


  • 10 oz. all-purpose white flour (not bread flour as this would have too much gluten and make the pastry tough)
  • 5 oz. butter
  • 1 egg beaten with about 3.5 oz. of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sugar
  • 6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced into about 1/4-inch thick slices. Place these in a bowl and squeeze the juice of a lemon over to stop them going brown and bitter.
  • 8 tablespoons sugar for the apples.


  • 10″ tart tin or quiche dish, bowl


  • 8 slices


  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚.
  2. Place the flour into a baking bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Add the water and egg mixture all at once.
  5. Mix it to combine to make a dough. Add an additional tablespoon of water if you need it. It is very important not to knead the dough as it will toughen the pastry.
  6. Bring the dough together and cover in plastic wrap and put into the fridge for about 30 minutes to let it rest. If you don’t have time it doesn’t matter — it’s going to taste great anyway.
  7. Divide the dough in half but one half has to be bigger than the other! The big half is for the bottom.
  8. Flour the working surface (sprinkle it with flour) to ensure the dough doesn’t stick while you’re rolling it. Begin by rolling out the bottom until it’s about 2″ wider than the tin so that it will fit the tin generously.
  9. Grease the inside of the tin with butter.
  10. Using your palms to hold the pastry, gently place it into the tin and mold it gently into the sides. If it tears just use a little water to patch it.
  11. Sprinkle about 6 dessert spoons of sugar onto the apples and mix well. Add the apples to the dish.
  12. Roll out the top to just a little bigger than the tin. Before placing the top on the tin, first, using your fingers and a glass of water, wet the edges of the bottom pastry so the top will stick.
  13. Lay the top pastry gently onto the tart and press around the edges with a fork to seal it and make it look pretty. Cut a cross in the middle of the top to let out the fairies! (Or let out the steam of the apples.) Cut off any excess pastry. If you have time brush with beaten egg to give it a nice shine.
  14. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

TIP: This can be made in advance and frozen if necessary.

This is a recipe that my mother, Mari, learned from my grandmother, who was born in 1919. My mother began making this from about the age of 10 years. Every Sunday after mass it was her job to make a huge apple tart, to serve eight people, for their dessert after the Sunday roast. They always had a proper four-course dinner on Sundays at 1 p.m. My grandmother was a farmer’s daughter, so they always had an abundance of fresh eggs. Some friends of the family had an orchard, so they always had a regular supply of apples, too. This recipe uses Bramley cooking apples, which give it a tarty taste. If you can’t find Bramley apples you can use any cooking apples.

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