“This is a fantastic dessert that I love to make for friends and family as they can’t get enough of it. The combination of toffee and apples is a fairground classic but feel free to try it with pears, bananas, even strawberries – they’re all absolutely delicious! ”
Put the unopened tins of condensed milk in a high-sided pan, covered with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours with a lid on top. It’s very important to remember to keep checking the pan, as you don’t want it to boil dry – otherwise the tins will explode. It will give you the most amazing toffee. Put the tins to one side and allow to cool.
To make the pastry, score the vanilla pod lengthways (if using), and scape out the seeds (keep the pod for making vanilla sugar).
Cream the butter, icing sugar and a small pinch of sea salt together, then rub in the flour. Add the vanilla seeds, finely grate in the lemon zest and add the egg yolks – you can do all this by hand or in a food processor.
When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the cold milk (or use water).
Pat and gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, then flour it lightly and roll into a large sausage shape – don’t work the pastry too much otherwise it will become elastic and chewy, not flaky and short as you want it to be.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for at least 1 hour.
Remove it from the fridge, slice it up and line a 28cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Push the slices together, then tidy up the sides by trimming off any excess. Place the tart mould into the freezer for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4, then take the pastry case out of the freezer and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Peel and quarter the apples and remove the cores, then finely slice and toss in the icing sugar.
Spread the caramel from both tins over the pastry case. Place the apples on top and pour any remaining juices over.
Bake at the bottom of the oven for 40 minutes, to give you a crisp base and bubbling toffee over the apples. Serve with yoghurt or vanilla ice cream. Beautiful!