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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Days of an abundance of apples Part 2 -pies versus crumbles

I don't know what camp you're in, but when it comes to apples and puddings, I've always preferred a crumble to a tart or pie.

The soft apples taste virtually the same, but I like the crunchy topping of a crumble. And it's so easy isn't it to make a crumble? If I'm really busy, I will throw in the flour, sugar and butter and sometimes oats into my food processor, press the whizz button, and hey presto , within a minute you have a crumble topping.
At other times, especially if I'm worrying or thinking about something, or I'm cooking in advance, I will mix the ingredients by hand. It can be quite therapeutic, the rhythmic  crumbling the butter into the flour and sugar.

But there's a new apple recipe on the block, for me, anyway. It's one  which is extremely vague to say the least, but it's a keeper. And it's changed my opinion of apple pie.

It's from my friend and colleague Ben Jackson . Ben is an absolute foodie, and on many a Monday morning we talk about what we've cooked and eaten at the weekend. Ben was telling me about his Granny's apple pie and how fabulous it was, how rich, sugary and caramelly it was. Yes I know it's not a proper word so don't get all hoity toity and het up...but it perfectly describes the unctuousness of the pie's topping , so there.....

Ben's Granny is Dr.Eva Shirreffs, and she was one of the first female GPs.., practicing in the Second World War. Apparently she was a much loved family doctor, but I'm loving her recipe that's for sure.
Now there's no written recipe for this, it hasn't even got a proper name ,and I've adapted it slightly,  but here you go.....
Ben's Granny's Apple Pie
 or Dr Eva's Apple pie.......

shortcrust or sweet shortcrust pastry
6 apples
4 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons of goldren syrup
2 tablespoon Demerara sugar

1.Peel and core apples and slice. Put in an earthenware bowl with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the water. Cover and microwave for 2 - 3minutes
2.Roll out some shortcrust  or sweet shortcrust pastry and line the bottom of  a pie dish or tart tin.
3.Put the apples on top, sprinkle with merest hint of cinnamon  and cover with pastry.
4. Drizzle the golden syrup over the top of the pastry and sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top's one I prepared earlier..... ready for the oven

5. Cook in the oven at gas mark 4,180 degs Celsius  for about 30 minutes
6. Serve with custard or a good dollop of cream.....I prefer cream.

It's simply gorgeous....sweet, comforting, warming with a crunchy top and a rich golden juice with the apples.

As I said, I adapted it slightly, because I believe Ben and his Granny put the apples into the dish without cooking first, and cooked for about 45 minutes in the oven. You can try either method. I also used puff pastry instead of shortcrust pastry once....but that's only because I took the wrong packet out of the freezer. A word to the wise....don't bother with the puff, just make sure you use shortcrust or even better , sweet shortcrust pastry.

It's been a hit in our house that's for sure......

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