IT'S ALMOST International Whiskey Day, which means we've got a good excuse to break out the uisce beatha.
A spirit once so important to the people of Ireland that it was literally named 'the water of life', the word 'whiskey' is the anglicised version of uisce beatha, pronounced 'ishka ba-ha'.
Now whiskey is enjoyed and distilled all around the world, but to this day there's nothing that can beat Irish whiskey-- so to celebrate International Whiskey Day on 27 March, here's a very special recipe: Irish Whiskey Apple Tart.
This particular recipe comes from BBC Good Food, by Richard Corrigan, whose mother would bake this special Irish Apple Tart each St Patrick's Day. You can find more delectable recipes on the website here.
Irish Apple Tart
What you'll need:
- 200g golden raisins
- 100ml Irish single-malt whiskey plus an extra splash for the apples (We recommend the Irish favourite, Jameson)
- 250g demerara sugar
- 1 1/2kg of cooking apples, peeled and cored
- small knob of butter
- 1 cinnamon stick, lightly crushed
- Pot of whipping cream
- 1 egg, beaten, with splash of milk
For the pastry:
- 500g plain flour
- 250g butter
- 100g sugar
- 2 eggs
For the special sugar:
- 140g muscovado sugar
- 10g sea salt
- 3 lemon zests
How to make it:
For the savoury sugar:
- First, preheat the oven to 140C (280F). Scatter the sugar, sea salt and lemon zest over a baking sheet and leave in the oven for 15 minutes until it has dried out. Once cooled, blend the mixture in an electric blender then sieve through a large-holed sieve to remove any big lumps. Set aside for later.
For the pastry:
- Pulse the flour and butter together in a blender/food processor until it has a breadcrumb texture. Add sugar and eggs and blend in electric food processor until combined. Once blended, wrap the pastry with cling film and leave to chill.
For the filling:
- Tip the whiskey into a pan then add the raisins and 1tsp of sugar. Heat until simmering then leave to one side.
- Melt the knob of butter in a heavy-based pan, add the apples (cut into wedges), then half the demerara sugar and the cinnamon stick and add a good splash of Irish whiskey. Cook until apples are coloured (approx 3-4 minutes) then place into sieve to drain excess juices.
Putting it all together...
- Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). Grease and flour a 28cm baking ring, then use rolling pin to roll two-thirds of the pastry to about 3mm thick (about the size of a £1 coin) and line the circular baking tray.
- Chill for at least 20 minutes, then prick pastry with a fork and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes. Brush with a beaten egg and return to oven for 5 minutes. Repeat the process-- brush with a beaten egg then bake for another five minutes to make the pastry crisp and crumbly. Then leave to cool.
- Once the pastry has cooled, add the whiskey apple and raisin mixture-- but keep any whiskey juices that have not been absorbed by the raisins, you'll need this later-- and roll the remaining pastry to form a 'lid' for the pie before placing this over the mixture. Brush the edges with egg to ensure it is sealed.
- Prick the lid of the pastry to allow steam to escape when baking, then egg wash the top and sprinkle it with the remaining demerara sugar. Bake at 180C (350F) for 20 minutes until top is golden
- Remove the Irish Apple Tart and allow to cool on a large board. Whip the cream and add the whiskey not absorbed by the raisins to the cream for taste. Sprinkle with spiced sugar, serve and enjoy!