If you look a little further than the supermarket shelves, you can find British apples pretty much all the way through from August to May. I wasn’t planning on dookin’ or making toffee apples this Halloween, instead choosing a couple of recipes from my River Cottage Everyday book to warm us up.
The first was an apple and almond “pudding cake”. The book calls it a pudding cake, as it is apparently equally nice as a dessert or sliced with a cuppa. We had ours cold and sliced up as a cake but it didn’t last long! I think the best bit was the caramelised apples, which you do before putting them on the cake. I’ve not done much caramelising so far, but it was dead easy and made the kitchen smell wonderful. You just want a little bit of colour on them, as they are going to bake on top of the cake later.
The almond part came from ground almonds in the batter, which gave the cake a nice nuttiness.
Make it as pretty as you can, it will impress people. It doesn’t look quite so spectacular after it’s been in the oven, but it tastes great.
Now on to another people pleaser – apple crumble. The little extra in the River Cottage recipe was walnuts, which I’d never put in a crumble before, but they do provide a nice surprising crunch every so often. I was lucky enough to get some local garden apples, which made the pudding feel that little bit more special. I stuck to the more traditional topping of flour, butter and sugar, but the recipe suggests ground almonds in there too as an option. Instead of the oatmeal I just used porridge oats, which I’ve been adding to my crumble toppings for a while now.
Whether you make your apple crumble with blackberries, cinnamon or with an almond and oatmeal topping, the big question is what to serve it with…custard? cream? ice-cream?!