Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Easier When We Know How

This tray-bake is a recipe worth filing away ready for the apple season. Although it can be made in a large ring mould as a cake 'proper', considering the way we now need to cut fuel costs, best made as a traybake where it will cook in half the time of a large cake and will also freeze successfully.
Apple and Walnut Tray-bake: makes about 24 pieces (F)
10 oz (275g) caster sugar
3 eggs
10 oz (275g) plain flour
1 level tsp baking powder
few drop vanilla extract
2 oz (50g) walnuts, chopped
1 lb (450g) cooking apples, peeled, cored, chopped
5 fl.oz (150ml) corn or sunflower oil
(optional glace icing)
Sift the flour and baking powder together. Beat the sugar with the eggs then fold in the flour. Add remaining ingredients and mix well together. Pour into a greased roasting tin 10" x 13" x 1 1/2" (25 x 32.5 x 3.5cm) and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 45 minutes. Cool in tin for a few minutes than turn out onto a cake airer to cool completely.
To Freeze: overwrap cooled cake, seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw for 3 - 4 hours at room temperature. If you prefer, the cake can be cut into squares, and these take less time to thaw out.

As many of you make your own muesli, almost certainly the ingredients in this next recipe will be in your storecupboard. Even if not, some substitutions could be made. Perhaps crushed wheat or bran flakes instead of using wheatgerm. Pumpkin seeds or pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds, mixed spice instead of cinnamon, white sugar with a spoon of black treacle instead of muscovado sugar, white bread instead of brown. Apples, well suppose they could be a crisp eating apples (Granny Smith) instead of cookers. There you are - a completely new recipe along side the original one - and that is how recipes evolve.
Healthy Eating Apple Crisp: serves 4
2 fl oz (50ml) sunflower or soya oil
4 oz (100g) wholemeal breadcrumbs
3 oz (75g) dark muscovado sugar
1 oz (25g) wheatgerm
2 oz (50g) sunflower seeds
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1 lb (450g) cooking apples, cored and sliced
Over low heat, fry the breadcrumbs in the oil for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, wheatgerm, seeds, spice and salt.
Grease/oil a 2 pint (1.1ltr) ovenproof dish and place in a layer of the apples, then a layer of the breadcrumbs, and repeat, finishing with the crumbs. Bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for half an hour until brown and crisp. Serve hot with a good dollop of Greek Yogurt or creme fraiche.

A mention of tapioca recently reminded me of this pudding, delightfully named 'apples in frogspawn' by children. Suggest another name might be more appealing. Give me a minute to think of one...
Apples with Golden Pearl Sauce: serves 4
4 cooking apples, peeled and cored
4 tsp mincemeat*
4 tsp demerara sugar
2 oz (50g) tapioca
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
water or more orange juice
Stand prepared apples in a shallow ovenproof dish. Mix the mincemeat with the sugar and use this to stuff the holes in the centre of the apples. Sprinkle the tapioca and orange zest around the apples and make up the orange juice to one pint (550ml) with water or more juice. Pour this round the apples and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally so the tapioca mixes evenly with the liquid as it thickens.
Serve apples hot with the orange sauce poured over, plus custard or cream if you wish.
Note: If you have no mincemeat, used raisins, sultanas or mixed fruit soaked in rum, brandy or just orange juice.

The final recipe today, again made with apples, has a duel role. Because of the cheese (protein), pastry (carbos), apples and sultanas (vitamins) almost a meal in itself. Although, in this instance, made as a complete pie, the filling could be wrapped in pastry and cooked as individual pasties. Another way would be to turn it into a traybake, placing the filling between two thin layers of pastry. A good recipe to make for a picnic, or eaten with a salad for a packed lunch.
Cheese and Fruit Pie: serves 4 - 6
12 oz shortcrust pastry
1 lb (450g) sharp apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, cubes or grated
3 oz (75g) sugar
1 oz (25g) flour
2 oz (50g) sultanas
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 oz (25g) butter
Mix all the ingredients together except the pastry and the butter and put into a 1 1/2 pint (825 pie dish. Dot the surface with the butter.
Roll out the pastry larger than the diameter of the dish, then cut of a strip and place it on the wetted rim of the pie dish. Dampen the surface of this strip then lay the remaining pastry over to make a lid, trim and seal the edges, pinching with fingers or fluting with a fork to decorate. Bake at 20oC, 4ooF, gas 6 for approx 40 minutes until pastry is golden and cooked. Serve with creme fraiche, cream or yogurt.