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Oatmeal, Apple and Syrup Tart

This a -wartime (1939-45) recipe based on one from a book of country recipes in the Farmers Weekly of 1946. Farmers' wives were invited to send in their recipes, many of which had been passed down for generations and were known only to them. Quite a few recipes included oatmeal, both as a filler and as a substitute for flour.
Oats and oatmeal stem from the time of the Greeks and Romans who regarded them as suitable food for their animals. However, the Romans encouraged the growing of oats in Britain and it became a popular food in Ireland, Wales and Scotland, where the climate and terrain favoured its growth rather than the other cereals. But the wealthier households in England shunned oats and it remained the food of the poor until the health-giving properties of oatmeal were discovered.

ingredients

serves 8 -10
175 g (6 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
55 g (2 oz) oatmeal
1 egg white, beaten
450 g (1 lb) eating apples (about 3 medium-sized apples)
300 ml (1/2 pint) sweet cider or water
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
25 g (1 oz) butter, cut into small pieces
55 g (2 oz) light soft brown sugar
25 g (1 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
55 g (2 oz) sultanas
3 tablespoons golden syrup, warmed

method

1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface sprinkled with 25 g (1 oz) oatmeal and use it to line a deep 23cm (9 in) tart tin. Prick the base all over using a fork, brush with egg white and pre-bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

2. Meanwhile, peel, core and thinly slice the apples and put them in a saucepan with the cider or water. Add the cloves and cinnamon. Cover, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the apples are just tender but not mushy. Remove the apple slices using a slotted spoon, then drain.

3. Bubble the liquid in the saucepan for a further 10 minutes or until it reduces and thickens a little. Arrange the apple slices in a ring on the base of the pre-baked pastry case, then cover with the thickened liquid. Top with the knobs of butter and sprinkle over the sugar.

4. Mix the breadcrumbs and remaining oatmeal with the sultanas and sprinkle on top. Pour the golden syrup over the filling. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until the top looks scrunchy and golden brown.

5. Serve warm or cold with some extra thick double cream.

Cook's Tip - Miss Hughes, who sent this tart recipe to Farmers Weekly, claimed that 'the tart, when it is cold, is solid and carries well in a tin.'

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