Monday, 11 October 2010

Autumn Harvest - Apples



Finally, we have come to this beautiful time of year again where the temperature is starting to fall, the air is slightly crisp and the leaves are gradually donning their gilded coats of golds, russets and saffron.  Autumn is my favourite season visually, in terms of the smell in the air - slightly toasty and earthy and of course the abundance of delicious food.  Cue, plump squashes, leafy spinach, chard, various stoned fruits and of course rosy apples and juicy pears!  Goodbye Mediterranean, hello homey comfort food.

Last week, my house mate and I went scrumping for apples in the derelict orchard down our road which our wonderful nature loving neighbour brought to our attention.  Previously we have drenched our shoes as we trudged about picking brambles and plums in the wet forest, so this time we had the bright idea (well at the time) or wearing flip flops which resulted in a slightly treacherous session in the forest among the clumped nettles, thorny bramble vines snaking across the floor and vertical twigs grappling to skewer our feet.  All in all though,  some tree climbing and clever dodging later, I was triumphantly walking home with my apple bounty.  At home though, after filling a bucket, the problem arose of what to do with it all?

So in the near future, expect lots of sweet apples treats to be popping up!  So far, I have made rum soaked apple layer cake (yummy but ugly), apple crumble (naturally), apple cupcakes, apple and custard muffins, potato and apple boulangรจre (Not recommended) and the list will hopefully go on.  Until next time, I leave you with an apple and custard muffin recipe adapted from my M&S cakes books.

Apple and Custard Cakes:
(Makes 12 muffins)


Ingredients:

  • 90g Butter
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 110g Self-raising flour
  • 30g Custard Powder
  • 2Tbsp Milk
  • 1-2 large apples (200g total), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1Tbsp Extra butter, melted
  • 1Tbsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp Sugar
Custard Filling:
  • 1Tbsp Custard Powder
  • 1Tsp Sugar
  • 125ml Milk 

Method:


Custard Filling:
  1. Mix a little milk with the custard and sugar to form a paste.  Heat the remaining milk, mix with paste and heat gently until thickened.  Cover and leave to cool.
Cake mix:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/GM 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar and custard powder until soft and creamy, then whisk in eggs gradually.
  3. Whisk in the milk and fold in flour until just combined (a figure-of-eight motion with the whisk is very effective).
  4. Divide half the mixture among the paper cases, top with custard, then finish with distributing the last of the cake mix among the 12 cases.  Top with sliced apples, pressing in slightly and bake for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1Tbsp sugar with ground cinnamon and set aside. 
  5. Turns cakes onto a wire rack, brush with melted butter then sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mix. Leave to cool on the wire rack or serve warm.

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