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How to make Rosemary Shrager's French apple tart

She’s the Kent-based TV chef on a mission to teach us to cook, but Rosemary Shrager’s got some good news and some bad news.

Chef Rosemary Shrager, who has a cookery school in Tunbridge Wells
Chef Rosemary Shrager, who has a cookery school in Tunbridge Wells

The good news is that Rosemary is running classes for would-be haute cuisine cooks at her Tunbridge Wells cookery school and beyond.
The bad news is that if cooking isn’t already ‘in your genes’ then it could be unlikely it’s ever gonna be.

“Personally the cooking side was always in my genes – to love to cook, it’s just IN you,” says Rosemary, star of Ladette to Lady, Soapstar to Superchef and Shrager’s School for Cooks among other shows.

“My mother was always into cooking, and her mother. We always had large kitchen gardens, grew our own veg, did our own bottling, had lots of mushrooms. We had a smallholding and kept geese and rabbits. Cart horses would come through, because it was so rural.”

Despite this first-hand education in food production, Rosemary didn’t see herself as a chef at first and went to art college before taking up a job in the City in interior design for an architect. But doing what came naturally got the better of her, and it wasn’t long before Rosemary ‘followed her dream’ and entered the food industry catering for directors’ lunches.

Chef Rosemary Shrager
Chef Rosemary Shrager

It was much later that TV came calling, when her cousin by marriage, What Not To Wear host Susannah Constantine, gained Rosemary a slot on Livetime on the Granada Breeze satellite channel. Her TV career really took off after a feature in a national newspaper headlined ‘Turbot with Rosemary’ – the chef received three television offers within that week alone.

“The highlight of my TV work so far was All At Sea, having fun on boats with Bradley Walsh. I loved that show. I’ve learned an awful lot from TV: I learned to be more tolerant of the young through Ladette to Lady.”

Teaching is the side of the coin that Rosemary’s more used to, with her thriving cookery school at the Corn Exchange within The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
It was Corn Exchange owner the Marquess of Abergavenny, a personal friend of Rosemary’s, who approached her with the suggestion and it opened in 2013.

Rosemary loves her working week, spent between the Pantiles and her home in Wadhurst on the Kent and Sussex border.
A relative newcomer to Kent, Surrey-born Rosemary is already a huge fan of her adopted county.

“Kent is amazing for fruit. Every county has its assets and in this one it’s soft fruits, gorgeous pears, and apples.”


Rosemary's French Apple Tart recipe

Rosemary Shrager's French Apple Tart from the new book, Rosemary Shrager's Bakes, Cakes & Puddings
Rosemary Shrager's French Apple Tart from the new book, Rosemary Shrager's Bakes, Cakes & Puddings

From Rosemary Shragers Bakes, Cakes & Puddings. Makes 500g pastry and the tart serves six.

Rosemary says: "This is one of the most delicious apple tarts there is. It is quite time consuming to make, as each layer has to be cooked separately, but it really is worth going to this trouble. There is nothing worse than soggy pastry, so don’t be tempted to skip the blind-baking stage. To make the basic Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, follow steps 2 to 6. To blind-bake a pastry case, follow steps 11 to 14."


4 large Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

60g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon water

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

75g granulated sugar, or to taste

6 tablespoons Crème Pâtissière

For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

75g caster sugar

2 eggs, 1 separated

1 tablespoon cold water

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

125g soft unsalted butter, cut into small pieces,

plus extra for greasing

1 egg white, beaten, for glazing

For the topping:

juice of 1 lemon

2–3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and

thinly sliced

40g butter, melted

4 tablespoons apricot jam for glazing


1. Butter a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

2. To make the pastry, place the sugar, whole egg, egg yolk and water in a bowl. Mix with a fork, then allow to stand for a couple of minutes.

3. Put the flour in a heap on a work surface and sit the egg bowl on top to make a well.

4. Put the butter in the well and rub with the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

5. Add the egg mixture and stir with a fork, then use your fingers and the palm of your hand to form a smooth dough. Do not overwork it.

6. Roll the dough into a log shape, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour before use.

7. When ready to use, remove the cling film. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a circle.

8. Use the pastry to line the prepared tin, leaving a small overhang, as the pastry will shrink during cooking. Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

9. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Put the apples, butter and water into a pan and cook very gently until completely soft – about 20 minutes.

10. Add the lemon zest and juice and cook for 2 more minutes. Finally, add the sugar to taste, then set aside to cool.

11. Set the pastry case on a baking sheet. Line with a crumpled sheet of baking parchment and fill with ceramic baking beans, dried pulses or rice.

12. Bake in an oven preheated to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes.

13. Remove the paper and baking beans, pulses or rice, then bake the case for a further 5 minutes, or until it is dry and light golden brown.

14. Brush the baked case immediately with egg white, then return to the oven for 1 minute. Remove from the oven and trim the pastry overhang. Set aside until cold.

15. For the topping, place the lemon juice and apple slices in a shallow bowl and cover with water to prevent the apple discolouring.

16. Spread the crème pâtissière in the bottom of the pastry case.

17. Then cover with a layer of the apple purée.

18. Shake the lemon juice off the apple slices. Arrange them on top of the purée in a spiral pattern.

19. Brush the top of the apple slices with the melted butter and bake the tart in an oven preheated to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 for about 30 minutes.

20. Heat the apricot jam until melted, then pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl.

21. Using a pastry brush, carefully spread the jam over the top of the hot tart in the direction of the apple slices and set aside to cool.



Rosemary will be taking a ‘busman’s holiday’ running a six-night cooking school in the luxury surroundings of Chateau Lou Casteou in the South of France next spring.

Wannabe chefs whose wallets are up to it can expect to learn top tips directly from Rosemary during the all-inclusive break from Saturday, April 25, to Friday, May 1.“We will be visiting an olive farm, going to a Michelin starred restaurant, learning to cook with local produce and eating our own wares.”

Visit www.loucasteou.com

Rosemary Shrager
Rosemary Shrager
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