flour, ground hazelnuts and icing sugar with the butter in a food
processor in short bursts, or rub the butter into the dry ingredients
until they come together. Don't overwork the mixture. Bring the dough
together, adding a very little iced water if necessary. Knead briefly,
wrap in grease proof paper and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to
325F, Gas 3. Cut the dough in half and roll out each half, on a lightly
floured surface, to a 18cm or 7" round. Place on grease proof paper on
baking sheets and bake for about 40 minutes, or until crisp. If browning
too much, move them down in the oven to a lower shelf. Allow to cool.
the chop the apples into a pan with the lemon juice. Add sugar to taste,
then cook for about 2-3 minutes, until just softening. Mash the apple
gently with the chopped fresh mint and leave to cool. Whip the cream
with the vanilla essence. Place one shortbread base on a serving plate.
Spread half the apple and half the cream or crème fraîche on top. Place
the second short cake on top, then spread over the remaining apple and
cream, swirling the top layer of cream gently. Decorate the top with
mint leaves and a few whole hazelnuts, then serve at once.