September is finally here, although you wouldn’t know it. I dug out all my cosiest knits over the weekend and was reunited with my favourite fluffy grey jumper. I very proudly threw it on to head off to brunch with the dog and husband on Sunday only to end up throwing it in the wash when I got back because it was drenched in my sweat. Lovely. Why does September always do this to us? Just when you let yourself get excited for colder days, jumpers and boots chunky enough to crunch through fallen leaves, one of those trademark September scorchers suddenly arrives. Sadly my favourite fluffy jumper is going to have to wait for a while, but there is one Autumn tradition that’s well and truly under way in my house and that’s Autumn baking – especially with apples.
One of my lovely neighbours gave me a bag full of cooking apples the other day and I cannot wait to get stuck in making making Apple Fritters, Apple Cookies and of course, my favourite Apple Pie Cake. But the truth is that I got a head start on the Apple Bakes back in August when I whipped up this Apple Rag Pie. The original recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, who made a traditional Greek Rag Pie using feta, sesame seeds and plenty of honey. Problem is, I’m not a big fan of Feta, but the basic idea was definitely something I wanted to try and so I switched out the cheese for spiced apples and toasted flaked almonds. Crunchy and packed full of juicy spiced apple chunks, it’s not only a doddle to make but is banging served hot with a blob of ice cream and packs a little extra punch from some Calvados soaked sultanas. It also freezes well, so whip it up now and it’ll be there waiting for you when those cold nights really begin to draw in. 🙂
4 apples, skinned, cored, chunked (…is that a thing?)
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar
100ml Calvados (or regular Brandy)
50g toasted, flaked almonds
Place the sultanas in a bowl, pour over the Calvados Brandy and leave to soak ideally overnight or until they’re plump and drunk. 🙂
Boil the apple chunks in water until they’re soft, but still hold shape. Drain, sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon and then set aside.
To assemble the Rag Pie; line the base of a deep rectangular baking tray with one layer of filo pastry, then brush with a little melted butter. Next, separate the remaining filo sheets into three equal piles. Take the first pile; tear and scrunch the sheets of filo – loosely balling them and placing them into the tray (careful not to press down!). Scatter over half of your apple mix and sultanas, then pour over a little more melted butter. Repeat the process with your next pile of filo.
Scrunch and tear the last layer to top the pile, then pour over the last of the butter. Section the pie into equal slices with a sharp knife, being very careful not to squash down your layers of filo (otherwise you’ll get a soggy pie). Whisk together the eggs and milk, then pour over the pie. Top with the toasted, flaked almonds.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 180°C and serve hot with ice cream or whipped cream.
(You can also freeze it and cook it from frozen, just pop it in a cold oven, then heat it up at 180°C for 45 minutes. 🙂
It’s officially the first day of Autumn, and officially – in my book anyway – the start of the best season of the year. One of the best bits about coming home from holiday (aside from being reunited with my favourite fur-ball, obviously) was the thought of coming home to chunky knits, boots (ones that are perfect for stomping on perfectly crunchy leaves), cold air and lots and lots of baking involving apples. I say that not because apple pies and crumbles and muffins are quintessentially autumnal (blimey, that’s a big phrase for a Monday afternoon…), but because I’ve actually got a tree full of the things for the very first time.
Back when Sunny and I moved into our house here in Cardiff three years ago, we bought a pair of apple trees (well, they were more like a couple of twigs really) for a couple of quid each. And this year – almost as if by magic (because God knows what we did differently) – one of them is full of apples! I’m going to be baking this Apple Pie Cake ten times over, I think! As well as these Toffee Apple Cookies. I tried something similar whilst I was out in the States on holiday (controversial opinion, but America does “Fall” Baking so much better than we do) and had to come up with my own version, and here it is: a lovely soft cookie full of spiced apple pie filling and toffee chunks, and drizzled with a salted caramel sauce. Once baked, warm them up in the microwave for thirty seconds for oozing toffee that won’t play havoc with your fillings! 😉 Just make sure you use a type of apple that doesn’t go too soggy and holds its shape when boiled – like pink lady or braeburn!
Toffee Apple Cookies
150g of apples, diced into small pieces
100g light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
50g of toffee, cut into small pieces
100g caster sugar
100g dark muscovado sugar
250g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
salted caramel salt to serve (buy it in store, or try this recipe)
sea salt to serve
First things first, whip up the apple pie filling. Chop up your apples into small, cookie-sized chunks and pop them into a saucepan. Boil up in the water, along with the light brown sugar and cinnamon for about 20 minutes. The apples will be ready once they’ve softened, but still have a little bite to them.
Set the oven to 180°C. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, cinnamon, caster sugar and dark muscovado sugar. Stir in the egg, then mix in the apple pie mix and toffee pieces. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough, then spoon small blobs onto a lined baking tray – making sure they’ve got plenty of room to spread.
Bake the cookies for twenty minutes, then transfer them onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
To serve, warm them up in the microwave for thirty seconds and serve drizzled with caramel sauce and sprinkled with sea salt. Yum! 🙂
It’s right about this time of year that my blood starts turning to into custard because – oh yeah – it’s finally getting cold enough to scoff puddings and pies again! I love pies, but when it comes to custard? Meh, I’m more of a hot, strawberry blancmange kinda girl if I’m being totally honest (I’m an 80s kid through and through, okay?). Sunny, on the other hand, is an absolute super fan who likes to drown his desserts in the stuff and would happily drink it on its own if I let him 😉 When it comes to the dessert itself, he does love a good old apple pie or crumble but would probably admit that at the end of the day they’re just a vehicle for the custard, and as for me I get a bit bored baking the same old apple dishes every year. So, I’ve been on a mission to come up with an apple pie that’s so damn good it upstages the custard.
Enter the apple pie cake. There’s no crust, just a fluffy, moist sponge, with juicy, cinnamon-spiced apples and it be eaten either hot or cold – unlike old humble apple pie. I adapted the recipe from the fantastic buttermilk plum cake I baked over the summer and came up with a keeper. 🙂
Apple Pie Cake
3 Apples of any variety (I used Pink Lady), peeled, cored and thinly sliced into segments.
Juice of Half a Lemon
175g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
50g Ground Almonds
Boil your apple segments in lemon juice and water until they’re just soft enough for a knife to pierce them, then leave to cool.
Set your oven to 170° and grease a 20cm open bottom cake tin. Sprinkle with a little flour and then set aside.
In your mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 125g of the sugar. Stir in the egg.
In a separate bowl sift together most of the dry ingredients; that’s the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Combine with the wet ingredients.
Stir in the buttermilk to make a light batter.
Pour the batter into your cake tin and smooth over the surface. Arrange the apples on top in a spiral starting about a centimeter away from the edge of the tin. Make sure you overlap them so that when the cake rises in the oven you’re not left with any gaps.
Before you pop the cake in the oven sprinkle over the remaining sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Bake for 50 minutes and then serve up warm with custard or ice cream. Add some toffee sauce to turn it into a toffee apple cake!
I honestly don’t think I’ll be baking any apple pies this year, it’ll just be this cake over and over and over again. If you want to see me making it, check out my IGTV for the recipe in video form. ♡