Tag Archives: apple

SPICED APPLE SPARKLER

Spiced rum & cider cocktail

It might be because I was raised in the West country but I’d take one of these over a bucks fizz on Christmas morning every time. This is made from apple and spice and all things nice. And by ‘all things nice’ I mean rum.

For the simple syrup (there’s enough here for two drinks but you can easily increase the quantities) lightly muddle 3 sprigs of rosemary with 3 tbsp sugar in a small pan. Snap a cinnamon stick in two and add this to the pan along with 3 tbsp of water. Heat gently and allow to bubble for a few minutes. Leave to cool before using.

Ingredients

makes 2
30ml cinnamon and rosemary simple syrup
50ml spiced rum
ice
dry cider, apple slices and rosemary sprigs to serve

Shake the rum and syrup along with the rosemary and cinnamon from making the syrup in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Strain it into glasses filled with ice and top up with cider. Garnish with an apple slice and a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Spiced rum & cider cocktail

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BRANDY APPLE PIE

Brandy apple pie

I’ve made a fair few apple pies in my time. They’re one of my preferred vehicles for clotted cream, especially in the colder months. Plus I’m continuing my quest to make pastry as good as my Grandma used to make, one day I’ll get there.

Brandy apple pie

Now she never put booze in her dough but following my success using gin in a tarte au citron during the summer I thought it might be worth slinging some in a pie too. Now here’s the science part. The theory is the alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water so subbing it in place of water should make for lighter, crisper pastry.
Don’t worry if you aren’t that keen on the idea of a boozy pie. It doesn’t taste boozy at all, and of course the actual alcohol bakes off (which is kind of the point). It really does just leave you with light crisp pastry. It’s some of my best pastry work, I’m slowly and surely getting closer to my Grandma-goal.

Brandy apple pie

There’s enough pastry here for a standard double crust pie so please don’t feel obliged to spend ages making a fancy cut-out top if that’s not your thing. I just have too much time on my hands some days!

Ingredients

Pastry
300g plain flour
175g butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soft brown sugar
3-4 tbsp brandy

Filling
5-6 apples
75g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp brandy
15g (ish) butter

1 beaten egg and white sugar to finish off

brandy apple pie

Cut the cold butter into small pieces and gently rub it into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until it resembles bread crumbs. Mix in the salt and sugar with a fork. Use the brandy to bring the mixture together to form a ball of dough. Add the liquid a tablespoon at a time so that you don’t end up adding too much. Flatten the ball a little and wrap it in cling film. Pop it in the fridge to chill and relax for about 30 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a 20cm pie tin.
Peel, core and slice the apples quite thinly. Whisk together the sugar, salt, cornflour and spices in a large mixing bowl and then toss the apple in this. Sprinkle over the brandy.
Take the pastry from the fridge and cut it in two, make one piece slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger piece out so that it’s a few millimeters thick and large enough to line the pie tin. Do this either on a lightly floured surface or on a piece of parchment paper. I prefer to do it this way as it makes it easier to transfer it to the tin later.
Carefully place the rolled pastry into the pie tin and gently push it into the corners. Leave a little over hang at the edge. Tip the apples into the lined tin and spread them out. Dot the surface with butter.

Brandy apple pie
Roll out the remaining dough, again to that it is a few millimeters thick and a little larger than the size of the pie. If you want to do some fancy cut outs on the top of the pie then now is the time to do it. Brush the edge of the pie with a little of the beaten egg and carefully place on the lid. Gently push it down around the edges to seal the pie. Trim and crimp the edge however you like, the easiest thing is just to press down the edges with the tines of a fork. Add any extra pastry embellishments you like (made from any leftover scraps of pastry), using the beaten egg as a glue. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden brown.
Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving so that the juices can thicken. Serve with homemade custard, ice cream or glorious velvety Cornish clotted cream.

Brandy apple pie

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APPLE PIE SCONES

Apple pie scones

My mums apple trees are very prolific. They produce more apples than they can actually consume. I always like to come up with ways that she can use them to provide a bit more variety to the usual pies and crumbles (not that I would ever turn down a bowl of my mums apple pie or crumble!)
Last year she made my lovely honey apple oat cake (https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/apple-honey-oat-cake/) but this year I thought I would suggest these as an ‘anytime’ treat. These are yummy for breakfast, lunch or dessert!
The chunks of apple add great texture and the spices give them a lovely autumnal feel.
I reckon these would make an excellent base for the traditional Cornish delicacy of ‘thunder and lightning’, that’s scones topped with clotted cream and treacle. Because cream teas aren’t just for summer!

Apple pie scones

Ingredients
makes about 15
500g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate or soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
10g sugar
70g butter
1 large eating apple (about 200g before it’s peeled and cored)
250-300ml buttermilk or milk soured with lemon juice
brown sugar to decorate

Apple pie scones

Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and put a large non-stick baking sheet in there to get nice and hot.
Sift together the flour, raising agents and spices into a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix through the salt and sugar and then lightly rub the butter into it with your finger tips.
Peel and core the apple and then cut it into small dice. Toss this through the flour mixture and then make a well in the centre of the bowl. Pour in about a third of the buttermilk/milk and stir it together. Keep adding more milk and mixing until you have a nice soft, but not sticky, dough. You might not need the full 300ml.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it out until it’s around 1″ thick. Stamp out circles of the dough, being careful not to twist the cutter and re-rolling the dough as necessary until it has all been used.
Take the hot tray out of the oven and arrange the scones on it. Brush the tops of them with a little milk and then sprinkle them with a little brown sugar.
Bake the scones for 20-22 minutes, until they are well risen and nicely browned. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool and eat them with clotted cream or enjoy them whilst they are still a little warm with lashings of butter.

Apple pie scones

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH & APPLE MUFFINS with orange glaze

Butternut squash & apple muffins

I’m pretty certain that if you didn’t know these were vegan then you wouldn’t be able to tell.
I quite enjoy a bit of vegan baking but I have encountered some recipes that seem to be missing a certain flavour or have a slightly disappointing texture from the various dairy and egg substitutions. Not so with these. They’re light, tender and full of flavour, the way a muffin should be.

Butternut squash & apple muffins
I make my butternut squash puree by cutting the squash in half scraping out the seeds and roasting it until it’s tender. Then I pull off the skin and blend the flesh until it’s smooth and creamy. I don’t add any oil or seasonings, it’s easier to keep track of them in the recipe that way. I like to keep my applesauce on the chunky side but make the squash puree really smooth. This way the squash just sort of melts into the texture of the muffins but you occasionally get little bites of apple. Yummy.

Butternut squash & apple muffins

Ingredients
makes 12

120g plain flour
60g wholewheat flour
60g oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
80g brown sugar
170g butternut squash puree (about 1/2 a small squash)
150g unsweetened, unseasoned applesauce (from about 2 apples)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
100ml water
1 tbsp honey

glaze
5 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp orange juice

Butternut squash & apple muffins

Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and line a 12 hole muffin tin with wrappers.
Sift together both of the flours, the spices and the raising agents into a large mixing bowl. This is just to get them all really well combined so make sure that you tip any wheat bran that’s left in the sieve back into the mixture. Whisk in the sugar, salt and most of the oats, keep a few of these back to sprinkle on the top of the muffins.
In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the squash puree, applesauce, oil, honey, cider vinegar and water, making sure that they are really well blended. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in. Fold it together with a spatula so that it is only just combined. Be careful not to over-mix it.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cases and sprinkle the reserved oats on the top. Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes. They should be well risen and golden with a little spring to them. Give them a poke with a cake tester or skewer if you want to be sure.
Leave them to cool on a wire rack for a bit.
Mix together the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth and then drizzle it onto the muffins, let it set a bit before enjoying.

Butternut squash & apple muffins

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APPLE SAUCE CORN BREAD

apple cornbread

I’m not really sure how common cornbread is in the UK. It’s certainly not something I ate often back when I was living there but it’s really is good stuff. It makes a nice change to the usual rice that gets served with chili.
The recipes that I’ve come across most often here seem to have quite a lot of sugar and fat in them. Using apple sauce and sweetcorn in this means that you can get rid of some of that extra fat and sugar. The apple also gives this a really nice flavour.
This would go very well with pulled pork (because of the apple, obviously) as well as with chili and soups. I ate mine with some barbecue seitan. Mr Colonial Cravings polished off the last of this for breakfast with bacon and scrambled eggs and declared it to be delicious! You could even replace the sweetcorn with a little extra apple sauce and toss in a handful of blueberries for a real breakfast treat.

apple cornbread

Ingredients
makes 12 servings

150g fine cornmeal
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and paprika
50g sweetcorn
1 egg
140g unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbsp butter (melted)
1 tbsp honey
150ml milk

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease a 9″ square baking pan.
Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and seasoning’s in a large mixing bowl. If you have a food processor then this next bit is super quick. Put all of the remaining ingredients into the food processor and whizz it up for one or two seconds so that it is well blended but the sweetcorn isn’t totally pureed. If you don’t have a food processor then mash the sweetcorn a bit and whisk it together in a jug with all of the other wet ingredients.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir it together. Don’t over mix it though. Pour it into the prepared tin and bake the cornbread for about 25 mins. Check that it is cooked all the way through by poking it with a cocktail stick, if it comes out clean then it’s done.
Serve this warm with just a touch of butter.

apple cornbread

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APPLE GRANOLA BREAKFAST PARFAIT

Apple granola parfait

So, for one reason or another, I had a lot of apples that I needed to make use of quick-smart before they started to turn themselves to cider right there in my fruit bowl. The obvious answer was to make apple sauce which I could then put in my freezer. Which is what I did. Now I have lots of apple sauce in my freezer. Cue this yummy solution.
Obviously you could make up a multiple batch of the granola and just eat it like that, maybe with some dried fruit and nuts tossed in it, but I really like to serve it this way, with extra apple sauce and lots of creamy, tart Greek yoghurt. Certainly more appealing than my usual bowl of shredded wheat for breakfast.

Apple granola parfait

To make the apple sauce you just need to peel, core and chop your apples and simmer them in a little water until they are soft and mushy. No sugar, no spices, no extra juice, just fruit and water. This keeps it super-versatile.
I haven’t put a number of portions here because it totally depends on the size of your serving dishes, but I should imagine that this would be enough for 3-4 people unless they were really hungry.

Ingredients

85g oats

85g unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
pinch of salt

fat-free Greek yoghurt and extra apple sauce to serve.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°c.
Stir together the apple sauce, oil, honey, spices and salt in bowl. Fold in the oats and mix it well. Spread the mixture onto a non-stick baking tray and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring it occasionally so that it browns evenly. Once the granola has cooked leave it to cool on the tray.
When you are ready to serve it simply layer it with some Greek yoghurt and apple sauce in a pretty glass. If you like you can sweeten the apple sauce with a little sugar/honey or flavour it with some spices/vanilla.

Apple granola parfait

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APPLE AND MINCEMEAT CRUMBLE

Apple and mincemeat crumble

I know that it’s January and we’re all supposed to be at our most health conscious, trying to make amends for our festive indulgences, but it’s still winter out there which, as far as I’m concerned means that it’s totally acceptable to eat comfort foods! Plus I have half a jar of mincemeat in the fridge and I think being less wasteful is as good a resolution as any.

Ingredients
serves 4

2 apples
2 heaped tbsp mincemeat
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp rum/whisky/brandy (optional but why wouldn’t you?)

Topping
150g plain flour
80g sugar
85g butter
2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp flaked almonds

Apple and mincemeat crumble

Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and peel and core the apples. Roughly chop these up, I like a mix of different sized chunks so that some stay a bit more crisp whilst others cook down nicely. Toss the apple with a teaspoon of sugar, the booze and the allspice and put them in your baking dish. Dollop on the mincemeat and set the dish aside whilst you make the topping.
Mix together the sugar and flour and then lightly and gently rub the butter into it until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir the oats and almonds through this mixture. Use this to cover the apple and mincemeat, pressing it down very lightly at the edges of the dish to minimise any juice bubbling over.
Bake the crumble for around 50 minutes, by which time the topping should be lovely and golden. Serve hot with plenty of cream to cut through the richness of the mincemeat.

Apple and mincemeat crumble

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