How to use ripening apples in the kitchen

A LOT of apples have ripened early this year. The ones growing near us are a shiny luscious red and almost drop into your hand on touch, there is no need to tug them from the branches. 

This year’s crop is also very abundant, so there is the issue of what to do with all those beautiful, shiny apples? The possibilities seem endless and quite joyous. Most years my mother makes a batch of golden clear jelly from the fruits of the crab-apple tree. I tend to make chutneys with the more bitter green apples and apple tarts are my go-to with the others. I keep a few batches of pastry in
the freezer so they are easier to construct. The remaining apples are eaten or used in other desserts. One of my
favourites is a Dutch apple cake but one where the apples are sliced and arranged to look like roses. It gives beautiful results. The swirled slices sink into a soft buttery topping and the golden sugar on top caramelises to form a sweet thin crust. If I have more time on my hands I will make apple roses on top of small individual tarts. They are very pretty as a birthday cake for one with a single candle on top. The method of making roses takes a little time but is a beautiful addition to a table.

The filo pastry tart is very similar to a tarte tatin but the pastry is far crispier. The last recipe is very much an autumn one. I have previously had it with pumpkin, rather than sweet potato and it is nice. I just find that sweet potatoes and a little easier to
work with.

Rose apple cake

2 eggs

170g golden caster sugar

1 tsp of vanilla essence

1/2 tsp of almond essence

85g of butter

75 mls of milk

125g of plain flour

2 tsp of baking powder

3 bitter red apples, cored and cut into thin slices

the juice of 1 small lemon

Preheat the oven to 200C and line an 9in tart tin.

Half the apples and core them. Slice each half thinly, you now have a collection of semi circle moon-shaped slices.

These are too stiff to roll into a rose just yet. Add the juice of a lemon to a pint of water in a bowl and bring to a simmer. Add all of the apples and allow them to soften. You need to be able to bend them but they do not need to be mushy at all.

Gently strain the apples. Set aside. Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond essence until the mixture is thick and light and fluffy and the whisk leaves a pattern when it is lifted out. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the milk, fold this into the egg mixture.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and also fold these carefully into the mixture.

Scoop the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.

Roll the first apple slice into a cylinder and then add a few more around it to form petals. Have the red skin facing up. Place this rose down into the batter mixture towards the edge . A knife across laid across the top of the tin can hold the rose in place for you. Repeat with the rest of the apple slices.

Sprinkle some caster sugar over the cake and bake in the oven for ten minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the batter has risen and is golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before gently removing from the the tin.

Upside down filo and apple pie

200g of filo pastry

150g of butter

150g of caster sugar

100g of sultanas, soaked in warm water for five minutes then drained

50g of raisins, soaked in warm water for five minutes then drained

the zest of 2 oranges

the zest of a lemon

900g of apples, peeled, cored and quartered

1 tsp of cake spice

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Melt 75g of the butter and coat the strips of filo pastry by tossing them in the butter. Set aside in a warm place.

Use a heavy based pan about 9in wide and add 120g of the sugar. Allow it to heat until it turns to golden caramel. Stir the remaining 75g of butter into the sugar and cook for a further two minutes.

Add the sultanas, raisins, zest and cake spice, as well as the apples. Allow to cook on a low heat for about four minutes.

Scrunch the strips of pastry gently in your hands and lay them on top of the apple mixture.

Place the pan into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the filo pastry is crisp and golden.

Apple sweet potato and ginger crumble

For the topping:

300 g plain flour

225g butter

1/2 tsp of powdered ginger

55g caster sugar

55g brown sugar

11/2 cups of oats

For the filling:

2 tbs of melted butter

3 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 medium sweet potatoes, roughly grated

2 tbs of crystallised ginger, finely chopped

50g of demerara sugar

1 tsp of vanilla essence

1 tsp of ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Gently beat together the ingredients for the topping in a mixer or by hand, until the mixture forms crumbs. Do not over beat as it will start to combine too much.

Toss all of the ingredients for the
filling together in an oven proof dish. Press the crumble mix on top, sprinkle with a little more brown sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden and the apples are soft. Place some tinfoil on top if it is getting too brown.


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