I repinned one of those inspirational quotations in a pretty font the other day. Most of the time, these make me roll my eyes but every now and one, there’s one that sticks with me.

This one said, “it’s okay to be happy with a calm life”.When I was at university or when I lived with friends, I always felt like I had to make sure I had a sufficiently exciting life to ensure that people didn’t realise quite how boring I was underneath it all. How much I like just pottering around. The great joy I get from a quiet day.

If you were to have asked the younger me what I did last weekend, I would have told you about the birthday party that we went to on Friday or the play that we saw on Saturday.

What I probably wouldn’t have told you about is the calm Sunday that we had.

We woke at what I like to consider the golden hour; that sweet moment where you’ve had just enough sleep to feel refreshed but not too much that you feel like you’ve wasted the day. My boyfriend went for a run while I sleepily made a batch of pastry. While the pastry chilled, I chopped apples in between bouts of cleaning. When the tart had cooked, I went for a luxurious mid-afternoon run. In the evening, we ate slices of apple tart while we watched a film. In the advert breaks, I put on a couple of loads of laundry. We had clean sheets to start the week.

It was nothing spectacular, nothing extravagant. It was indistinguishable from many Sundays that we have had.

But these days, these calm days are the days that I love. Maybe it’s the wisdom of age (ha!) but I’m glad that I don’t have to make excuses for them any more. I don’t need great excitements really, I’m more than happy with my calm life.

Making an apple tart seemed to me to be an excellent use of a quiet day. This is a very gentle sort of apple tart, softly sweet apples nestled in a light vanilla custard. There’s a whisper of spring about this while making good use of one of the few fruits hardy enough to stand up to a British winter. It’s the perfect way to celebrate a calm life.

Apple and honey tart

Pastry adapted from Sharpham Park
Filling adapted from Raymond Blanc
Yield: A 22cm diameter tart, serves 8

I have struggled for years with pastry but I was pleasantly surprised by how well this turned out despite my slight changes to the recipe – it has an almost shortbread-like quality about it with a little bite thanks to the whole wheat flour.  My new food processor has made making pastry incredibly easy but you can, of course, use your fingers to rub in the butter and make your pastry that way. My hot little hands have always let me down. Feel free to use your favourite pastry (or the ready made stuff – if you use an unsweetened pastry, you can easily make this sugar free as the filling is just sweetened with honey. The original recipe called for a splash of calvados in the glaze for the apples – I didn’t have any so I left it out and didn’t really notice its absence. It looks like a fairly long recipe but it’s really not complicated at all.


For the pastry:

  • 75g (2/3 stick)cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 55g (1/2 cup)whole wheat spelt flour
  • 170g (1 1/2 cups)white spelt flour
  • 75g (1/3 cup)unrefined caster/granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 medium egg, beaten

For the filling:

  • 2 apples, peeled and cored and cut into 12 slices (I used Russet apples, you can also use Braeburns, Worcesters or Cox’s)
  • 15g (1 tablespoon)unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tablespoonlemon juice
  • 45ml (3 tablespoons, divided into 2 tablespoons & 2 teaspoons and 1 teaspoon)honey
  • 100ml (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)double/heavy cream
  • 1 mediumegg
  • 1/2 teaspoonvanilla bean paste

Cooking Directions

  1. To make the pastry, put the butter, flours, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse until you have a sandy texture with a few larger lumps of butter. Add the egg gradually and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together – you may have to dump it out of the food processor and bring it together with your hands if the machine isn’t quite doing the trick but I promise you, it will work. Roll into a ball, flatten into a disk and chill for a couple of hours.
  2. When the pastry has chilled, roll it out into a flat disk big enough to line your tart tin. It might appear like it won’t come together and roll out flat but it will.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F (fan).
  4. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Line a 22cm diameter tin with a loose bottom with foil or parchment paper, add some baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pasty has dried out and is golden brown.
  6. Increase the oven temperature to 200C/375F (fan).
  7. When the pastry case has been blind baked, add the sliced apples in overlapping circles.
  8. Mix together the melted butter, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey and brush over the apples.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until the apples have started to turn brown and are a little soft to the touch.
  10. Mix together the cream, egg, vanilla and remaining honey. Pour the liquid over the apples and bake for 10 – 15 more minutes until the custard is lightly firm to the tough.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for an hour or so before serving.
  12. The tart will be fine in the fridge for a couple of days and can be served chilled or at room temperature.
35 Responses to "apple and honey tart"
  1. Calm, quiet days are my favorite. I had a lot of them over the holiday break, which was nice. The tart looks lovely :)

  2. I love the quiet days at home as opposed to going out. I suppose I’ve turned into a bit of a homebody, but I am ok with it, I like it this way.

    Baking is always better than running, always! If you want to make it into a work out slip on some high heels, it will give your legs a definite working out!

  3. I love those days where you know you don’t have to go anywhere or do anything in particular. The day is completely your own, which can be rare nowadays. The tart looks gorgeous, it’s that perfect recipe to take you out of Winter and towards spring (although that may be too far away yet).

  4. What a gorgeous treat for January. That simple honey vanilla custard sounds gorgeous and not too heavy either. Here’s to happy Sundays baking, being calm and enjoying life for what it is (maybe minus the laundry!) :-)

  5. Calm days are always the best. Baking something like this tart is really soothing cause you have to place the apples perfectly in the tart and although tedious, to me, i’d find that relaxing. This is such a beautiful tart, Kathryn!

  6. YES. I am in love with this post. I’ve always been a big proponent of living the “calm life” — even when society untruthfully tells us that means we’re “boring” or “lazy.” I’ll take a day in my PJs doing laundry and baking over a crazy one full of activity any day.

    Oh, and this tart looks DELICIOUS! :)

  7. Jeanine says:

    Sounds like the perfect sunday to me! And your apple tart looks lovely!

  8. Erin says:

    I love having a calm life. And your Sunday sounds like my definition of a perfect weekend day: relaxing yet productive at the same time.

  9. Megan says:

    Sounds like the perfect kind of Sunday to me… and the apple tart is beautiful!

  10. This tart is so lovely!

    I have had some wonderfully calm evenings at home this week, and have been soaking up every minute. I am all for a simpler life. :)

  11. This tart is so lovely!

    I have had some wonderfully calm evenings at home this week, and have been soaking up every minute. I am all for a simpler life. :)

  12. Shanna says:

    I love the calm days. There’s a verse in I Thessalonians that says to make it your ambition to live a quiet life and work with your hands, and Tim and I talk about that often now. A quiet life. Yes.

  13. I like nothing better than a quiet Sunday to potter at home – but you’re right I’d never have described it as the high point of the week until recently!

    Lovely looking tart – simple and understated.

  14. sweet road says:

    I grapple with that concept all the time. I prefer a laid back and calm lifestyle but often I feel like I am wasting time since it’s unlikely I’ll have more energy as a grow older. I guess it’s all a happy medium!

  15. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    That sounds like a perfect Sunday to me! I’ve used honey a few time to add a bit of extra sweetness to apples but it’s never occurred to me to make it a focal flavour, I’m going to have to try that next time.

  16. We’re calm boring people, too. I adore Sundays like the one you describe. In fact, I can’t wait til our wedding is over with so we can go back to calm weekend routines :)

  17. Flavia says:

    A lovely post, Kathryn. My husband and I love our calm, quiet life and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. There just seems to be so much chaos and “noise” in our society, so cultivating a quiet and calm lifestyle is one of my biggest life priorities–one I guard fiercely. Your tart is beautiful-I love the idea of the apples nestled in the custard.

  18. yet another stunning, beautiful written post. Kathryn, you continue to amaze me!

  19. Dana says:

    Gorgeous! Love the lighting and elegance of these photos, as well as the simple recipe. Just lovely.

  20. That really is my favorite kind of day! And this tart is so pretty… your photos are just gorgeous!

  21. Your tart sounds perfect, very simple, very quiet and calm but just right.

    I spent years feeling like I always had to be doing something or going somewhere and though I enjoyed it at the time it’s only recently been that I can say I prefer calm quiet days at home doing some of the boring things and taking the time to catch my breath.

  22. I’ll say it again – I love your writing! Just reading this brought a calm feeling over me. Amazing, Kathryn!

  23. Those days are my favourite kind of days. But I love the way you describe them. You make them sound so beautiful and interesting. Gorgeous photos too!

  24. M. Eva-Marie says:

    Just found your blog and loving it. Maybe we can follow each other on GFC or bloglovin? Maybe you could stop by my blog and let me know? XO

  25. Joanne says:

    I would much much much rather have a calm day also. Filled with tart-making. This is just so lovely!

  26. Calm days are so awesome. And so rare. This tart looks incredible. Anything with custard in it is an immediate win for me, and I’ve always had a fondess for custardy apple pies and tarts, but have never made one myself. Clearly I need to do something about that. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  27. Those types of Sundays are absolutely my favorite. I’d much rather have a calm, peaceful day than a crazy action-filled one, 9 times out of 10. And if that day involves this amazing-looking tart? even better!

  28. The perfect Sunday, or any day in my opinion. Lovely recipe and post as usual.

  29. I would love a calm day at the weekend but sadly with 3 kids it is never likely so I try to have my calm time whilst the kids are at school and I do enjoy it!
    I love making pastry and happen to have freezing hands all the time due to poor circulation. Perfect for making a rich, buttery sweet pastry. This tart is something I would love, so classic x

  30. Most of my weekends are the same. Sometimes if we have something planned for a couple of weekends on the trot I find myself longing for a bit of peace and quiet.
    I love apple tart, yours looks delicious and perfect for a Sunday too!

  31. Erin D. says:

    Calm days are pretty much all I do. They’re just so… cozy.

    And this tart looks like a perfect addition to such a day!

  32. I seriously can’t think of anything better to do on a quiet day.

  33. What a lovely post!! I also ADORE calm sundays – and cal weekends altogether UNTIl someone tells me about the crazy party I missed. And I get jealous and agitated and regretful – so I go out the next weekend and long again for the calm. Damned if you do, damned if you dont. Hope you have a wonderful week! xo

  34. Love this. Have been reading your blog for ages but never said hi before. Want to try making a Russian honey cake- i think it’s called a Medovnik.
    Come say hi if you like to a fellow londoner-

    looking forward to a lazy sunday

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *