Rubens Apples were originally grown in Italy in the late 80’s and immediately stood out for their delicious flavour, very distinct crunchy texture and how exceptionally juicy they are. They are a cross between Gala and Elstar; Gala being an English favourite and Elstar European.
A few years later Staplehurst grower Nigel Bardsley went to a fruit industry show in Italy and came across a Rubens apple, he thought it was fantastic and ordered a few trees to plant back at home to see if they liked growing in Kent.
Luckily Rubens grow better here than anywhere else in the world!
Having been introduced to the magnificent people at Rubens Apples I wrote a couple of recipes for them and couldn’t get enough. I also shot a film at their farm, since then our pubs and restaurants have always used Rubens Apples in our recipes. One great recipe I thought I’d share with you is for the Rubens Apple Tart Tatin.
Rubens Apple Tart Tatin with Spiced Winter Fruit & Kentish Cobnut Ice Cream
For the pastry
320g plain flour
225g cold butter
110g icing sugar
3 egg yolks
For the filling
6 Rubens Apples, peeled, cored and cut into halves (turn the edges down)
100g caster sugar
80g mince pie mincemeat
2 x star anise
1 x vanilla pod
Kentish Cobnut Ice Cream
1. First, make the pastry. In a food processor, mix the flour, butter and icing sugar just until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks. Using the pulse button, mix until it comes together to form a dough.
2. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and divide into two pieces. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight
3. Slice the butter 2mm thick and line the bottom of a thick bottom pan (6-8” in diameter), sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top.
4. Add the star anise, split vanilla pod (seeds only) and then the mincemeat.
5. Lay the halved apples around the pan core side facing up,
6. Roll the pastry approx. 1cm thick and cut out a circle the same diameter as the pan, use a plate as a guide.
7. Put the pastry lid on the top of the tart, and tuck in the sides
8. Peirce a few small holes in the top to let the steam escape while coking
9. Heat the tart until the sugar and butter start to caramelise and turns a golden brown. Then bake in the oven for 10-15mins at 200c until the puff pastry is golden brown
10. When ready turn out tart tatin onto a serving dish and finish with a spoon of cobnut ice cream