You know autumn’s here when you hear someone moaning about all the apples they’ve got and don’t know what to do with! Really, though, this is nothing to complain about – far from it.
It’s been a few years since we had a couple of nice apple trees in the garden. We used to have loads of apples every autumn and, over time, I’d collected some lovely recipes which I looked forward to using each year. Sadly, both trees caught some nasty disease and died. We miss them! This autumn, though, I’ve been lucky enough to be given some apples by family and friends who do have trees and it’s been good to revive my favourite apple recipes and pass them on. With careful planning, your apple tree can give you pleasure all year round.
General information about apples
If you’re not sure whether they’re cooking or eating apples, try a sample when they’re ripe (i.e. the pips will be brown). If they’re cookers, they’ll taste very sharp and they also tend to have thicker peel. You could also try cooking one. A cooked eating apple doesn’t taste of much at all whereas a cooked cooking apple is delicious.
Divide your apples into blemished and unblemished ones. The blemished ones need to be used first, whereas those with no marks on them can last for months if you wrap them in newspaper and store them somewhere cool. Just make sure they’re not kept too cold, because frost will spoil them.
Blemished eating apples need to be eaten quite quickly and you don’t have many options except to cut out the bad bits and eat them. So if you’ve got a glut, pass them on to friends! Cooking apples, however, are a different matter and there are lots of wonderful things you can do with them. A simple idea is to peel and slice them, then put them into plastic bags for freezing. They’ll be great stewed for desserts or to put on breakfast cereal and they combine well with most other fruits. They’re also lovely when added to savoury dishes such as Normandy chicken, roast pork and curries. There are hundreds of lovely apple recipes to choose from. Here are my favourites, all tried and tested year after year.
Devon apple cake
6 oz butter
6oz caster sugar
12 oz SR flour
1lb cooking apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
3 oz sultanas
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TbS caster sugar
Melt butter and allow to cool. Add sugar and eggs, and beat well. Stir in flour to make a soft dough. Press half of mixture into the bottom of a greased 8″ loose-bottomed tin. Arrange apples over dough. Top with sultanas and sprinkle with caster sugar, ginger and cinnamon. Cover with remaining dough. Cook 40 -45 minutes on Gas 4. Serve warm or cold with cream.
Apple chutney (makes about 10 jars)
7lb cooking apples
3lb brown sugar
1lb crystallised ginger
1tsp mixed soice
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 pints vinegar
Peel, core and slice apples. Simmer with the sugar in a large saucepan, stirring constantly until thick. Add all other ingredients except the vinegar. Boil 30 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer until the mixture thickens again. Pour into warmed clean jars. Cover with vinegar-proof covers. Chutney improves with storing.
8oz SR flour
1 tsp cinnamon
6oz soft brown sugar
4 oz walnuts, chopped
half tsp ground gloves
4 oz butter
4 oz raisins
8oz thickly stewed apple
Whisk sugar into butter and gradually beat in eggs. Gently add flour and spices, then stir in walnuts and stewed apple. Pour into a greased 8 inch loose-bottomed tin. Bake in centre of oven 80-90 minutes at Gas 4 / 180 ◦C, turning heat down for last 30 minutes.
Carrot and apple soup
2lb carrots, finely diced
1lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 pints vegetable stock
Half pint milk.
Cook all ingredients in a large pan over a low heat until apple and carrot are soft. Blend or liquidise to preferred consistency – chunky or smooth. Season again to taste. Serve with croutons or warm bread.
Hope you enjoy them all! If you have other favourite apple recipes, please add them to the comments at the end.