Nine times out of ten if I bake something vegan it’s because I’ve run out of eggs. These muffins are so nice though that I would make them this way whether I had eggs in my fridge or not. They’re incredibly fluffy and full of […]
Thick, rich and velvety, this is the perfect winter soup! It might sound like an odd combination of flavours but it really works. The sweet, earthy parsnip and the slightly peppery celeriac, the tangy apple and the warming horseradish, it’s all just wonderful together. Like […]
Like apple pie? Then you’re going to love these. Light, crisp choux pastry with a buttery spiced topping filled with sweet apple cream served with a rich sticky toffee sauce. I like to think of them as apple pie version 2.0, for when you want the comforting warming flavours of apple pie but whilst also being a little bit fancy.
There are a few elements to this but none of them are hard and none of the stages takes a particularly long time so don’t let the ingredient list put you off trying this one – it really is very, very good!
60g room temperature butter
75g soft light brown sugar
75g plain flour
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
115g plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
400ml double cream
130g soft brown sugar
100ml double cream
big pinch of seasalt
Make the craquelin by creaming together the butter and the sugar before mixing in the flour and spices. Roll this out between two sheets of greaseproof paper so that it is just a few millimetres thick. Now whack this in the freezer to harden.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and line a large baking tray with parchment or a silicone mat.
Put the butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring it to boiling point. Once it’s bubbling away remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour to the pan, all in one go. Vigorously beat it with a wooden spoon until you end up with a soft ball of dough that comes cleanly away from the sides of the pan. Lightly beat the eggs. Add about a third of the egg to the pan and beat it in really well. Once it has been completely absorbed add another third and beat it again. After the third and final addition of egg, the dough should become soft, smooth and glossy. Only add enough of the egg to reach the soft glossy stage, you don’t want it to be sloppy.
Use a couple of teaspoons to drop blobs of the dough onto the prepared baking tray. Retrieve the frozen craquelin from the freezer and use a small cutter to cut out discs from the dough. Carefully place these on top of the choux pastry blobs.
Bake the profiteroles for 20 minutes, until they are golden brown, then turn off the oven and open the door a bit, leave them in the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out a little. Once they are done you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool. It’s a good idea to poke a little steam hole in them, somewhere discreet, to prevent them from becoming soggy. You can use this later when you fill them.
Make the filling by peeling and coring the apples before finely dicing them. The chunks need to be small enough to not block the piping nozzle when you fill the profiteroles later. Combine the apple with the sugar, allspice, lemon juice and bourbon (if using) in a small pan and cook until the apple has become soft and tender but isn’t too mushy. Set aside to cool completely.
Whip the cream until it holds its shape and then fold in the cold apple mixture. Transfer this to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and carefully pipe the filling into each of the cooled profiteroles.
To make the toffee sauce simply melt all of the ingredients together in a pan and allow to bubble for a few minutes until you have a thick smooth toffee sauce. Allow to cool a little before serving along with the apple filled profiteroles.
You just can’t go wrong with a Chelsea bun. Soft enriched dough crammed full of rich, sweet fillings and covered in finger-licking sticky glaze. Always a winner!
I love these warm for wintry breakfasts or with a cup of piping hot tea on a chilly afternoon. The soft sweet apple and tart, chewy, jewel-coloured dried cranberries are a perfect combination for this time of year.
150g strong white bread flour
80g wholemeal flour
7g easy blend yeast (1 sachet)
1 tsp sugar
big pinch of salt
125ml warm milk
250g(ish) cooking apples
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
35g soft butter
75g dried cranberries
pinch of ground allspice
icing sugar and milk or warmed honey to glaze
Sift the flours into a large bowl and mix through the salt, sugar and yeast. Rub the butter into this mix. Warm the milk a little (so it’s just tepid) and use a fork to beat the egg into it. Gradually pour the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients and bring it all together to form a soft dough. Remember that the flour may not be able to absorb all of the liquid, so it’s a good idea to add the wet ingredients a little at a time.
Once you have a nice soft ball of dough, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until if feels smooth and springy.
Wash and dry the bowl you mixed the dough in so that it’s nice and warm and lightly oil it. Pop the dough in the bowl, cover with oiled cling film and put it somewhere warm for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
Whilst the dough rises you can prepare the filling. Peel and core the apples before chopping them into quite small pieces. Whisk together the sugar, cornflour and allspice in a large mixing bowl and then toss the apple and cranberries in it.
Once the dough has risen take it out of the bowl and knead it again for a minute or two on a lightly floured surface. This means that all the air bubbles will be evenly distributed throughout it. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, a little bigger than a piece of A4 paper. Spread the surface with the butter and then scatter over the filling mixture. Roll the dough up tightly, starting at the long edge. Cut it into eight even-sized pieces and place these, cut-side down into a generously buttered baking dish. Re-cover with cling film and put the dish back in a warm place for another hour until the buns have risen and are sitting quite snugly in the tin.
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c. Bake the buns for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown.
Make a simple glaze by combining a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar with a splash of milk and brushing onto the buns or simply warming some honey and drizzling it over them.
As much as I love my usual apple cake recipe I thought that it might be nice to try something new. And yes, there are still apples on the tree in my garden.
I always associate this time of year with toffee apples, I think they were a bonfire night treat and I also remember my mum making bonfire toffee when I was small. The sauce adorning this bake isn’t nearly as treacly as that but it’s certainly reminiscent of those rich seasonal flavours. This is delicious cold as an afternoon or mid-morning treat or served warm with a splash of cream for a comforting dessert.
I’ve got a really cute little bundt tin which I couldn’t resist using for this but you could just as easily bake it in a 6-7″ cake tin. If you want to use a standard size bundt tin then double the quantity and bake it for a little longer.
30g butter (plus extra for greasing)
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
50g dark soft brown sugar
40ml single cream
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and generously grease a bundt tin (see note above).
Peel and core the apples and cut enough thin slices from one of them to cover the base of your tin. Grate the rest of the apple and set it aside.
Beat together the butter and sugar until they are quite fluffy and then beat in the egg and the salt. Sift in the flour and baking powder and briefly mix it all together. Add the milk and vanilla to make a soft batter. Finally mix in the grated apple, making sure that it is well distributed. Spread the batter over the apple slices in the tin and smooth off the top. Bake the cake for about 25 minutes, by which time it should be nicely risen and golden brown.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before inverting the tin and turning out the cake.
Make the butterscotch sauce by melting together the butter, brown sugar and cream in a small pan over a low heat. Carefully stir the pan until the sugar has dissolved and then let the sauce bubble for a minute or two until it has thickened and turned a lovely toffee colour. Let it cool a little before pouring it over the cake.
This is such a lovely dessert for chilly evenings. It’s comforting but not too heavy. It’s also another excellent way for me to make use of the apples from the tree in my back garden. You don’t have to make your own pancakes for this, […]