Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An Abundance of Apples

Apple recipes... he first being traditional to the Channel Islands, and is dark and spicy.
Black Butter: makes approx 4 lbs (2 kg)
2 pints (1.2 ltrs) cider
1 lb (500g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 lb (1 kg) eating apples, ditto
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
half tsp ground cinnamon
half tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Put the cider into a large heavy saucepan and fast-boil until reduced by half (ie down to 1 pint). Add half the cooking apples and half the eating apples to the cider, lower the heat to medium/low and cook until the apples are soft, then add the remaining apples, lemon zest and juice. Cook until well reduced down and pulpy. When ready, measure the pulp and add 12 oz (375g) sugar to each pint (600ml) apple pulp. Put the pulp and sugar into the pan and stir in the spices. Continue simmering and stirring until no liquid remains. Pot up and cover in the normal way. Store in the fridge.

Apple Cheese: makes 3 lbs
3 lb (1.5kg) cooking apples, windfalls, crab apples
approx 2 pints (1.2lts) water
half tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
Wash the apples (no need to peel or core) and roughly chop. Put the pieces into a large pan with just enough water to cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the apples are really soft and pulpy. Using a wooden spoon, press the apples through a plastic sieve and measure the puree. To each pint of puree you will need 1 lb (500g) sugar. Put the puree in the pan and add the spices and the measured sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the simmer and, stirring frequently, boil for 30 - 45 minutes until very thick. It should come to the stage where the wooden spoon drawn across the base of the pan leaves a path behind it.
Pot and cover in the usual way. Keep in a cool place.

Windfall Marmalade: makes a good 4 lb (2 kg +)
1 lb (500g) windfall apples
1 grapefruit
2 lemons
2.5 pints (1.5lts) water
2 lb 8 oz (1.25 kg) sugar
Peel and core the apples (reserving the peels and cores) and chop the flesh. Cut the peel away from the grapefruit and lemons, removing any pith, and shred the peel finely. Remove the flesh from the citrus fruits and discard the pith and membranes but reserve any pips. Tie the peel, pips, apple peel and cores in a muslin bag. Put all the fruit (apples , grapefruit and lemons) into a preserving pan with the water and the muslin bag. Simmer for two and a half hours until the peel is very soft and the contents in the pan reduced down to half.
Remove the bag, squeezing out the juice back into the pan, then add the sugar to the pan, stirring until dissolved and boil rapidly for 15 - 20 minutes. When setting point has been reached, leave to stand for 15 minutes, stir to distribute the peel and then pot up in the usual way.

Apple and Marrow Chutney: makes 3 lbs (1.5kg)
2 lb (1 kg) marrow, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 oz (40g) salt
1 lb (500g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
8 oz (225g) shallots or small onions, peeled and chopped
8 oz (225g) soft brown sugar
1 pint (575ml) white pickling vinegar
half a tsp ground ginger
Place the marrow in a bowl layering with the salt. Cover and leave for 12 hours/overnight. Next day drain the liquid from the marrow, place the marrow in a sieve and rinse well under running cold water. Pat dry then put the marrow in a preserving pan with the prepared apples and onions, the sugar, vinegar and the ginger. Cook over medium to low heat for about 2 hours, stirring frequently until the chutney has become very thick and most of the liquid has evaporated (do the spoon test - see above recipe). Pour into warm jars and cover immediately sealing with vinegar-proof lids.

Apple Dumplings:
Not really a recipe, more a method and useful for those really large cooking or crisp eating apples. Peel and core but leave whole. Fill the centre with dried fruit and sugar (or mincemeat). Wrap up in shortcrust pastry and bake in the oven (200C/400F/gas 6) for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden. Alternatively, once wrapped in the pastry they can be frozen and baked directly from frozen but allow five to ten minutes extra cooking time, tenting the pastry after half an hour to prevent it browning too much.

Lemony Apple Curd:
A delightful curd, the recipe published quite early in the blog (so check up 2006). Do remember doing a whole posting relating to recipes using lemons around that time and sure this was included. Always useful to freeze apple puree as, once thawed, it can be used to make this curd, or as apple sauce or in the other ways mentioned in Moira's comment.

drying apples
Apples can be dried at home using any source of low heat along with ventilation. Ideally an airing cupboard or over a kitchen boiler is a good place to dry apples as there is a continuous supply of warm air that can also circulate. Oven temperatures are too high, but the residual heat can be used - although this will take longer. The fruit needs to dry out as slowly as possible to prevent it shrivelling up too much.

Prepare the apples by peeling and coring, then slice the fruit into rings about quarter inch (0.5cm) thick. Put the fruit into salted water (1 gallon water to 2 oz /50g salt) to prevent it discolouring. Leave to soak for 5 minutes then pat dry with a cloth.
Spread the fruit on wire racks (cake airers etc) or thread on thin sticks and place or hang in a warm place (as mentioned above) until they become leathery. This can take up to a day. When dry, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Pack into jars or boxes (need not be airtight) and store in a cool, well ventilated place.
Can be eaten as a snack, or soaked in cold water overnight and drained well before used to make pies etc.
pears, plums and apricots:
Prepare the pears as for apples and dry in the same way. The plums and apricots need cutting in half and the stones removed. No need to soak on water. Place cut side up on a wire tray and dry as for the apples.
To cook, soak overnight in cold water and use in cooking as for fresh.

These next few recipes use whole pieces of apple as an ingredient, and begin with a recipe that can double up as a pudding when eaten warm, or eaten cold as a cake. Dare say it would even bake as a tray-bake. Although cooking apples are used (they tend to cook down fairly soft), other crisp eating apples could be substituted.
Chunky Monkey Cake:
3 oz (75g) softened butter or soft marg
6 oz (175g) soft brown sugar
6 oz (175g) plain flour
2 oz (50g) wholewheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large egg beaten
2 tsp baking powder
1 tblsp chopped preserved ginger
grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/4lb (550g) cooking apples
Sift together the flours, cinnamon and baking powder. Peel , core and dice the apples, place in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tblsp of the sieved flour. Toss so the apples are coated.
Put the fat and sugar into another bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Then gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour if it looks as though it is curdling. Finally, fold in the flour, and lastly the orange zest, ginger and the prepared apples. Add a little milk only if the mixture is too dry. Tip the mixture into a greased and lined 9" (23cm) cake tin, greasing the surface of the paper as well. Level off the surface of the cake and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about 1 hour or until just beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out.
variations: used candied peel instead of the preserved ginger, use mixed spice instead of the cinnamon, use half white and half wholewheat flour, include a handful of raisins or sultanas if you wish.
Serve warm with whipped cream for a pud, or cold as you would a cake.

Apple Crumble Cake:
cake mixture:
6 oz (175g) prepared apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
4 oz (100g) self-raising flour
pinch salt
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
2 oz (50g) softened butter or marg
1 egg
few drops vanilla or almond essence
2 tblsp milk
3 oz (75g) self-raising flour
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
1 oz (25g) butter or marg
2 tsp cold water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tblsp demerara sugar
First make the crumble mix by rubbing together the flour, sugar and fat until like breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the water, stir to form coarse lumps then set aside.
Make the cake mixture by beating the flour, salt, fat, egg, milk and essence together until smooth. Spoon this into the base of a greased and lined 8" (20cm) cake tin, then lay the apples slices on top. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the surface and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about an hour. Cool in the tin for a good 20 minutes then remove and sprinkle the surface with the spiced sugar. Store in an airtight tin.

Not a cake recipe as such, but an apple filling that would be perfect for layer cakes, especially plain sponge, walnut, chocolate or ginger cakes.
Apple Cake filling:
1 lb (500g) eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tlsp apricot jam
grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
Put the prepared apples into a pan with the jam and the lemon zest and juice. Cover and simmer gently until the apples are soft but still hold their shape. Leave to cool then spread between layers of cake.