Tag Archives: Baking

An Apple a Day

We have just harvested the last of the apples.  Phew.  Well when I say we, I mean, of course the royal “we”. And most of them are going to cider making and apple juice.  But it would be just unfair not to make some apple desserts.  There are probably more variations on apple pies then there are apples.  But I have a number of favourites, one of which involves making THE easiest crust ever, and doesn’t take cold hands, or indeed, any resting.  This means it can be made at the last minute, if you feel like a little something sweet.


Elstar Apple

Elstar Apples

Apple Varieties:

We use alot of Elstar apples. It’s an offspring of Golden Delicious, and was introduced in 1972 from the Netherlands. It produces great crops, year after year, the apples last for some months when they are harvested.  We use it alot, and although it doesn’t have the sharp green skin that many want their apples to have, the taste is fantastic.  There are 144 apples native to Ireland, the Armagh Bramley Apple was awarded a protected status from the EU last year (A little like protecting champagne, and the Waterford Blaa).  I think my favourite is the Blenheim Orange for a cooking apple variety.

The recipe I use is great with lots of fruits, but with something like an apple, I tend to sauté them first to start the cooking process.


Caramelising Apples in Butter and Sugar

The crust is a simple crumble crust, that is simply mixed and pressed into the serving dish.  This tart doesn’t like being removed from it’s cooking dish, so is best served straight from it. But it also doesn’t need resting or chilling.

Crumb Pastry

Crumb pastry

Then simply add the semi cooked apples, cover with some cinnamon infused sugar, and bake until the sugar covering melts.

Apple Custard Tart

Crust with the caramelised apples

Then the cream/ egg yolks mix is poured gently over the apples, if possible while the tart stays on the oven shelf.  this cooks until golden and set.

Apple Tart

Apple Tart, with a custard filling

It only needs to cool for about 20 minutes before ready to slice carefully, and of course it can be served with more cream!


Doughnuts, donuts and their derivatives.

There’s been a lot of talk at home about doughnuts, and churros, and other associated sugary covered yumminess.

And strictly speaking, making doughnuts midweek would be a violation of the “trying to be good during the week” rule, so I decided to try making donut muffins.

I had seen these in a BBC Good Food Magazine at some stage, and finally rooted it out.  Strawberry jam is the original filling, but I was making rhubarb jam anyway, so tried both types, and some chocolate filling too.  For comparison of course.

baking time

baking time- real butter of course

The “batter” is an easy mixture, and uses the typical dry to wet method typical of muffin making.

Jam and chocolate ganache filling

Jam and chocolate ganache filling

I think the secret here is to work quickly, the raising agent is bicarbonate of soda, and as this starts working immediately as a chemical reaction within the batter, the sooner you get them into the oven the better.  In the picture above I have 2/3 filled the greased muffin tin with the batter, then added the jam to half, and the chocolate ganache to the other six.

Rolling the "donuts" in sugar

Rolling the “donuts” in sugar

Once out of the oven, I carefully rolled them in more sugar.  Not for the faint hearted I know.

The donut muffins

The donut muffins

Although the jam sank a little, and they really are not the same as the yeasty, deep fried doughnut that we all know and love.  They were pretty tasty, and disappeared quickly at teatime.

The finished do-ffin

The finished do-ffin

And as they say- everything in moderation…