I’m looking for inventive ways to preserve the buckets and buckets of apples that our two trees at the allotment have produced.
The truth is that they’re not very tasty eaters and in the past I’ve simply partially cooked and frozen them, and whilst it’s lovely to have a supply of fruit for crumbles [favourite of the O.H.] and Eve’s pudding [my favourite] I’d like to be a bit more creative this year.
Firstly I’ve made apple cake, it has a delicious warming, cinnamon flavour, good simply as a slice of cake or served with a dollop of thick cream or creme fraiche.
I went to a cookery demonstration this summer at Port Eliot by the fabulous Claire Ptak, who runs Violet Bakery in East London. Her latest book, The Violet Bakery Cookbook is a great read, one thing she emphasises, is how important it is to have everything ready and weighed out before you start.
So as an homage to her and because I once sent my eldest son to scout camp with home-baked biscuits that I’d somehow forgotten to add sugar to, I’ll pass this piece of wisdom on. It’s called mis en place by the way, but you probably knew that.
Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4, then butter and lightly floured a 24cm loose-bottom cake tin,
3 medium eggs
200ml light olive oil [so much easier and quicker than having to cream butter and sugar together]
300g golden castor sugar
50ml cold water
1. whisk the above ingredients together in a large bowl
2. peel and chop into small pieces, 2 large cooking apples [I used 3 medium apples, not Bramleys]
3. add these to the bowl along with a teaspoon of vanilla essence and gently mix it all together.
4. tip the mixture into the cake tin and sprinkle a tablespoon of demerara sugar over the top.
5. Cook in the centre of the oven for an hour, check it after 45 minutes and cover the top with tin-foil if it’s getting too brown. I had to do this, but removed the foil for the last 5 minutes so that the sugar on top was crunchy.
And lovely though this is, it didn’t use many apples, so I’m still giving bags of them away and looking for more recipes, I think apple-jelly might be next on the list, any more ideas?
all photos: Jill Anderson