Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.

Tarts and Pies (sweet)

APPLE WEEK! – Friday: Winter Apple Pie

Taken from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, this pie uses a scone dough which cooks on top and is then inverted for serving.

Preheat the oven to 230degC. Peel and core 1.1kg of apples, cut into chunks. Put into a saute pan (or a pan suitable for cooking both on the hob and in the oven), and sprinkle with 225g granulated sugar and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon or mixed spice. Put the pan on a low heat while you make the scone dough.

Sieve 325g flour, 20g caster sugar, 1 heaped tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Cut 50g butter into cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk 1 egg with 180ml milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the liquid all at once and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and roll to the size off your pan, about 2.5cm thick. Place this round on top of the apple and tuck in the edges neatly. Brush with a little egg wash.

Bake in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180degC for a further 30 minutes approx, or until the top is crusty and golden and the apples soft and juicy.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes. Put a warm plate over the top of the pan and turn upside down onto the plate – be careful of hot juices!

Serve warm with soft brown sugar and cream.

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APPLE WEEK! – Monday: Apple Strudel

A bumper harvest in the family garden saw me yield a shopping bag full of apples, so I’ve set myself the task of making a different dish with apples every day this week. First up is quick apple strudel.

Rather then make my own pastry, I cheated and bought a packet of frozen filo pastry. Once it had defrosted, I floured my work surface, and lay a sheet out flat. I brushed melted butter along one of the long edges, and lay the next sheet beside, overlapping the first sheet by about two inches. I did the same with the third sheet, overlapping the second by two inches too (so the pastry on the table was 2 foot wide). I then brushed some butter over the whole thing, and lay a fourth sheet running in the opposite direction, centred on the bottom half of the pastry.

To make the filling, I peeled, cored and sliced 450g of apples, and mixed that with 50g sultanas, 50g caster sugar, half tsp ground cinnamon, the grated rinds of half an orange and half a lemon, 25g chopped walnuts and 25g ground almonds.

I spread the filling along the doubled up section of pastry, leaving it a few inches short at each end. I rolled the whole thing up, cut off the excess pastry at the ends, and tucked the ends in under. I brushed the strudel with more melted butter, and cooked it for about 10 minutes at 230degC, and reduced the temperature down to 200degC and cooked it for another 20 minutes. I brushed the strudel with melted butter a few more times during cooking, and when it was cooked I dusted it with icing sugar and served it with whipped cream.