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Posts Tagged ‘apple’

  1. Apple Pie – an old fashioned pie plate recipe

    April 1, 2015 by sarah

    I bought an old-fashioned pie plate in the January sales but it languished in the pan cupboard until this week. It has a classic retro feel about it so I just had to make a good, old fashioned apple pie. Now, normally pastry is not my strong point but I recently bought a pastry blade from Lakeland and it has revolutionised my pastry making. It means that even without a full sized food processor, I can whip together a batch of pastry within 10 minutes and no sticky hands and scrubbing pastry from under my wedding ring!

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    I love how this apple pie turned out. Having kept the filling simple, the apple flavour really does shine through. Perfect for serving warm with custard or ice-cream or cold with cream. Mmmm! Go on, spoil someone this week with this old-fashioned recipe.

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    Apple Pie

    Serves 6-8
    For the Pastry
    250g plain flour
    50g icing sugar
    125g cold butter
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
    caster sugar for dusting
    For the Filling
    2 large Bramley apples
    3 eating apples (need about 1kg apples in total)
    100g soft brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 tablespoon lemon juice


    Preheat the oven to 200 ºC/180 ºC fan. Grease a 20cm pie plate with butter.

    Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour, icing sugar and salt, either by hand, food processor or pastry blade, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Crack the egg into the pastry and gently mix with your hands until it comes together into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add a drop or two of cold milk or water. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put in the fridge to rest and cool for about an hour or more.

    Peel the apples, place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice to stop them turning brown. Add the sugar and spices and mix well. Put in a large saucepan and over a medium heat, cook gently for 5 minutes until the apples are tender but not complete mush. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

    Divide your pastry in half and on a worktop dusted with flour, roll out to about 1/2 cm thick. Transfer the pastry to the pie plate by drapping over the rolling pin. Ease the pastry into the dish, making sure it is well pushed into the sides. Sprinkle the base of the pastry with a handful of ground almonds, dry cake crumbs or bread crumbs; this will absorb excess water from the apples so the bottom of the pastry crisps up. Pack in the cooled apple mixture into the pie; it should be domed high as it will sink down.

    Roll out the other half of the pastry, also to 1/2 cm thick. Run a line of egg wash around the rim of the pastry in the tin. Carefully lift the lid onto the top of the pie.

    Use your forefinger and thumb to firmly crimp the edge of the pastry to ensure bottom and lid are well glued together.
    Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle over the caster sugar.
    With a small sharp knife, make a couple of small slits in the top of the pie so that steam can escape.

    Place the pie in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until golden and firm. Serve immediately or allow to cool.

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  2. Spiced apple bundt cake – thanksgiving recipe

    November 26, 2014 by sarah

    This recipe is dedicated to my American and German friends and now I’ll explain why. ‘Bund’ roughly means gathering in German (please correct me if Google is wrong) so I guess that this traditional ring cake would be to feed a group of people, hopefully friends, so it would be a ‘bundkuchen’. An alternative German translation is ‘waistband’ so probably equally suitable! Bundt is actually the trademarked name given to cast aluminum pans by Nordic Ware made in North America and made popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But bundt cakes seem to have been around longer than that and probably are an evolution of the gugelhopf/kugelhopf, a cake made of yeasted dough and baked in a similar tin. I guess a sponge cake is quicker and easier for most people these days than an enriched yeasted dough. There is no one recipe that defines a bundt cake so it is completely open to interpretation – my ideal. Because a large point of a bundt cake is the molded decoration on the cake (and therefore the cost of the tin), bundt cakes are generally simply decorated with icing sugar or a pour-over glaze.













    I have been drooling over pretty bundt cakes in bloggerland  for many weeks now. Though just a cake, the distinctive ring shapes with folds and peaks really pulls this cake into another level of sculptural. But I really did not feel like paying £30 plus for one of the ultra pretty Nordic Ware ones. Until I found one half price in TK Maxx this past Friday; I couldn’t resist. So cake tin bought, I needed a recipe that would do justice to my new tin. Big problem; all the recipes I could find were in cups and sticks of butter. For a precise chemical reaction such as cake making, inaccurate and annoying American measurements are infuriating. So I made up my own recipe, a sort of amalgamation of several different recipes from the USA which I converted to weight measurements and added some inspiration of my own. I have to admit it worked out well and I will be looking forward to experimenting with my pretty tin again in the future.


























    This cake is lovely and moist and looks so impressive sitting on a pretty cake stand with glaze dribbling down the sides. The glaze forms a tasty crust and helps the cake keep longer, as does the addition of ground almonds. I think this would make a perfect Thanksgiving centre piece for those of us who don’t like pumpkin pie or who don’t live in the USA. Although the recipe list looks extensive, it really isn’t. If you haven’t got all the spices, try substituting ground mixed spice.

    Spiced Apple Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze

    Makes 12-14 servings
    225g unsalted butter, soft
    150g golden caster sugar
    150g soft brown sugar
    250g plain flour
    75g ground almonds
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    5 medium eggs
    200ml natural yogurt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    zest of 1 lemon
    30ml or so of milk
    3-4 medium apples (about 400-450g), peeled, cored and finely chopped
    100g chopped pecans, toasted
    For the glaze –
    120g icing sugar
    30g unsalted butter
    50ml maple syrup
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Preheat the oven to 180 ºC/160 ºC fan. Generously grease and flour a 12 cup (1.4 L) bundt tin. My tin is 10 cup capacity so I also greased  four mini loaf tins.
    In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients except the sugars.
    In a jug, mix together the yogurt, vanilla extract, eggs and lemon zest until the eggs are well beaten.
    In another large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy; you will probably want to use an electric mixer for this. With a large spoon mix in the wet ingredients and then the dry but do not over mix (there should still be streaks of flour). If at this stage the batter is rather dry then add some milk – I needed 30ml.  Add the pecans and apples and mix again until well mixed.
    Scrape the batter into the prepared bundt tin – it should not be filled more than three quarters full so if you have extra mix then put it in additional tins.
    Place in the middle of the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour; smaller cakes will take proportionally less time (the mini tins took 30 minutes).
    Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
    Meanwhile make the glaze; heat the butter and maple syrup in a small pan until melted and bubbling. Take off the heat and beat in the sugar and then the vanilla. Leave to cool to thicken and pour over the cake once the cake is cold otherwise the icing will just run off.

  3. Cider Apple Cake

    October 17, 2014 by sarah

    This recipe makes wonderful use of the windfall apples that are plentiful at this time of year. These are apples that are ugly with blemishes, or slightly bruised from falling off or being picked, and not suitable for storage. I made this recipe with apples I picked from a hedgerow tree which is on my drive to work. The apples are crisp, juicy and sweet and very similar to a Golden Delicious but not at all fluffy in texture like the worst of the ones in the supermarket. Unfortunately we didn’t gather enough this year for it to be worth making cider so I used some of last years very fine cider to add to this cake. Everywhere was telling me that this was a bumper year for apples; it wasn’t for me. We have 5 bottles of last year’s cider left so when they are drunk (and always savoured), I will have to resort to buying some. Oh well, hopefully I can find a local supply of Mill Whites Rum Cask cider – lovely!

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    This recipe is taken from ‘The Great British Book of Baking’ by Linda Collister. This cake doesn’t keep very well because it is very moist so eat up! It is absolutely delicious warm, served with cream/custard/ice cream or all three if you are of that persuasion. The lovely appley chunks are counter balanced by the tang of the cider in the background – you are going to love it!

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    Cider Apple Cake

    175g soft unsalted butter
    175g light brown sugar
    3 medium eggs, at room temperature
    250g self-raising flour
    100ml cider
    about 500g tart eating apples, peeled, cored and diced
    2 tablespoons of demerara sugar or flaked almonds, for sprinkling
    Grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
    Preheat the oven to 180 ºC/ fan 160 ºC.
    Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add gradually to this. If it looks like it is curdling then add a spoonful of the flour. 
    Sift over the rest of the flour and fold in gently.
    Add the cider and apples and mix well until thoroughly combined.
    Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, level the top and sprinkle over the demerara sugar or flaked almonds.
    Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour – it is ready when a skewer comes out clean.
    Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes then completely cool on a wire rack or eat while warm.
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  4. Quintessential Quinces – Apple and Quince Tart

    December 28, 2013 by sarah

    I bought these quinces a few weeks ago at the Waddesdon Christmas food fair. They had been sitting in the fruit bowl, staring at me, taunting me, ‘go on then, you bought me, now cook me’! Everything I read said they were devils to cook; impossible to peel and needing long slow cooking otherwise they would stay rock hard and inedible but that the pleasures would more than overcome any trials in cooking them, in fragrance and flavour.















    I have to say I am disappointed. I had procrastinated about cooking them for several weeks, waiting for this fantastic aroma that is supposed to emanate from them. It didn’t happen so I moved on to cooking with them. They weren’t that hard to peel and chop, or at least my birthday present knives, once sharpened, cut then easy enough. Then I poached them in spiced sugar syrup awaiting the transformation into rose red jewels. Instead of the half an hour of poaching they were supposed to need, they were ready in 15 minutes without a hint of pink. So came the tasting and again disappointment, like a pear crossed with an apple. I had such high hopes for them. In the end two out of the three were eaten on my morning muesli.

    So we come to the recipe. After leaving organisation to the last minute, I realised on Christmas day that I would need to produce some sort of dessert for the friends coming the next day. I raided the freezer and found a packet of puff pastry and in the fruit bowl a lonely quince and some apples. So we have

    French Apple and Quince Cheats Tart
    packet of puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
    2 eating apples e.g. granny smiths, cored but not peeled
    1 lonely quince, peeled and cored
    2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
    icing sugar
    fruit jelly e.g. apricot or quince
    Roll out the puff pastry to a square about 30 cm on each side and cut in half so two bits about 15cm by 30cm. If it is ready rolled pastry try and find a way of getting the square or rectangle into two lengths that are not too narrow. Place on baking sheets and put in the fridge until ready to cook.
    Finely slice the apples and quince into a large bowl containing the sugar mixed with lemon juice. Set aside until ready to bake.
    When you want to bake them, preheat oven to 220 C or 200 C if fan.
    Take the pastry rectangles out of the fridge and neatly arrange rows of the fruit slices, alternating quince and apple, so that they overlap by about half a slice but leave a clear border of pastry of about a centimetre around the edge.
    Drizzle over any juices left in the bowl and dust over a thin layer of icing sugar.
    Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
    When they come out, cool on a cooling rack while heating a couple of tablespoons of fruit jelly with a splash of water (in a pan or in the microwave), stir until the jelly has dissolved and then brush over the pastrys with a pastry brush. Serve!

    If you are looking for more inspiration for what to do with quinces then see Nigel Slater, he raves about them.

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