Michale Caines was born in Exeter in 1969 and attended Exeter Catering College. His talent was apparent from the outset, winning him Student of the Year at just 18 years old.

Next, he spent three years under the tutelage of Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. From there, he moved to France, working under the guidance of world-renowned chefs such as Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu and Joël Robuchon in Paris.

Michael is now the executive chef at Gidleigh Park in Devon where he has built a reputation for distinctive modern European cuisine, utilising the finest local and regional produce.

For the next two months from 10 September 2013, Michael will take residence as Harrods’ Chef of the Season. His food-to-go dishes, inspired by his soon-to-be-published book Michael Caines at Home, will be available to purchase from the iconic London store, including starters of roulade of salmon rillettes, mains of bouillabaisse with sea bass, prawns, scallops and salmon and desserts which include apple tart and chocolate orange confit mousse.

In light of the imminent arrival of his new cookbook which is set to be published on 3 October 2013, FOUR has got their hands on one of his delicious dessert recipes, Hot Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream, for you to try at home. 

Hot Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream

Serves 4


Apple compote

50g unsalted butter

400g Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

50g caster sugar

½ vanilla pod, slit and scraped

The tarts

8 cox apples

250g frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the fridge

1 vanilla pod

250g unsalted butter

A little caster sugar

Vanilla ice cream or clotted cream 


You will need to make the apple compote in advance (it will last in the fridge for five days or can be frozen for three months). The apple tarts can also be made and baked in advance and reheated in the oven or even eaten cold.

To make the compote:

Start to melt the butter in a stainless steel saucepan. Add the apples, sugar and vanilla pod. Cook the apple to a compote consistency, stirring from time to time., for approximately 30 minutes over a moderate heat. If the texture is too runny, then continue cooking to reduce to a thickish texture.

Remove the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds back into the apple and place the compote into a blender. Puree to a fine pulp and pass through a sieve. Place into a container and reserve for later use.

To make the tarts: preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the puff pastry to approximately 3mm thick. Use a plate to cut out 4 circles. Place directly onto a baking tray and leave to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.

Peel the apples and cut in half, top to bottom. Remove the core and then slice the apple thinly.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and use a fork to prick the surface. Place some apple compote into the middle of each pastry and fan the apple slices evenly around the tart base. Finish by placing some slices in the middle of the tart.

For the vanilla butter:

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix with 150g softened unsalted butter. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter the apples and then sprinkle lightly with caster sugar. Place into the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, remove and brush again with the vanilla butter and place back into the oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, give a final brush with butter and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or clotted cream.