T is for Toffee & Apple Crumble Pie

As a fan of both pastry and crumbles, I hate being in a restaurant and having to choose between desserts, so in today’s blog I’ve used a recipe that will turn anyone’s eyes bigger than their stomach.

The recipe for toffee is conveniently on my previous blog entry, and you’ll be pleased to know this recipe only uses a small amount of it, so there’ll be plenty of toffee left to devour in your own time.

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Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-rolled sheet of shortcrust pastry;

For the filling:

  • 100g butter;
  • 100g caster sugar;
  • the zest of 1 orange;
  • 4 Bramley apples (peeled, cored and cubed);
  • 4 Braeburn apples (peeled, cored and cubed);
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a large handful of small toffee pieces from my previous recipe

For the crumble:

  • 200g plain flour;
  • 100g caster sugar;
  • 35g ground almonds;
  • 10g flaked almonds;
  • 80g butter;

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Recipe:  

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 150°C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 0.5cm thick so that the pastry is big enough to fit inside a spring-form baking tin and goes up the sides. Gently push into the base of dish. Tear off a large square of baking parchment, crunch up and then unfold and place over the pastry, then pour in ceramic baking beans. Leave to bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  2. For the filling, add the butter, sugar and orange zest to a medium-sized pan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chopped Bramley cooking apples and cinnamon and cook until the apples are very soft. Then add the chopped Braeburn apples and cook for another 2-3 minutes only, then turn off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and set aside. This will ensure there are different textures in the crumble filling.
  3. For the crumble, add butter, sugar, flour and ground almonds to a bowl. Rub the mixture between the pads of your fingers and thumbs until it is like coarse sand. Then add the flaked almonds and tip into a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir the mixture around every 5 minutes so that it cooks evenly.
  4. To assemble the pie-crumble, pour the apple mixture into the pre-cooked pastry and push in a handful of small toffee pieces around the mixture. Then pour the crumble on top.  Add small pieces of toffee on top of the crumble and bake at 180°C for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for a couple of minutes then gently ease away the sides of the spring-form tin. Cut up and serve with ice cream or cream.

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O is for Orange and Fig Muffins

I wanted to make something sweet this weekend, and then conveniently stumbled across this recipe for orange and fig muffins. As a huge fan of fig-based food (except fig rolls – who eats those?) I had to give this recipe a go.

Having cooked dinner for a friend last week including figs with greek yogurt and honey for dessert, I learnt that being a fig fan is more of a minority than a majority (given the amount of left overs). So apologies if you aren’t a massive fig fan; however these muffins are deliciously light, fruity and sweet so please try at least once.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 200g fresh figs, stalks discarded, chopped into 1cm pieces, plus 1 whole fig for decoration
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. If you have muffin cases, line 8 holes of a deep muffin tin or 12 holes of normal sized muffin tin. If you don’t have any muffin cases, grease the muffin tin holes well with butter and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Place the softened butter in a large bowl with the sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the beaten eggs and sifted flour a bit at a time (I did it in three turns) and fold in. The idea is that the flour doesn’t go everywhere and you’re not beating all the air our the mixture.
  4. Finally fold in the orange zest and chopped figs and ensure evenly distributed.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases – if not using muffin cases fill to near the top of the brim of the muffin tin hole. Place a final slice of fig on the top of each muffin. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until risen and golden brown on top. You can check the muffins are cooked by piercing with a knife and checking it comes out clean.
  6. Whilst the muffins are cooking, heat the honey and orange juice in a small pan over a gently heat until slightly reduced – it takes about 5 minutes.
  7. Once the muffins are out the oven, drizzle over a little of the orange syrup over each muffin (which will seep through the muffin infusing flavour). Leave for about 20 minutes to cool down before turning out and gorging.

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Eton Mess

E is also for Eton Mess

This is an incredible easy recipe, unlike the previous E. Just a few key ingredients, a few moments of effort are required to deliver this delicious dessert.
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 meringue nests (homemade or bought)
  • 300g strawberries
  • 200g raspberries
  • 400ml double cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons of caster sugar
Recipe:
  1. Cut off the green stalks front the strawberries and cut each fruit into similar sizes as the raspberries.
  2. Set aside a couple of pieces of strawberry and raspberr and dribble the balsamic vinegar and caster sugar over the strawberries and leave to stoop for a couple of hours. Don’t worry, the balsamic ail help bring out the taste of the fruit rather than overpowering it.
  3. Crush the meringues. You want a mix of chunky pieces, small pieces, and sand-like dust.
  4. When you’re ready to serve the dessert, whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks (this should only take 1 minute by hand).
  5. Fold in the fruit (juice and all), meringue into the cream and top each serving with a couple of pieces of fruit.
  6. This recipe should serve 4 greedy people

Eton Mess - fruit

Eton Mess