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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Quince Tarte Tatin - served

Q is for Quince Tarte Tatin

Quince

Quince is an old English fruit that is best described as a cross between an apple and a pear. It is not as fashionable as it once was and so is harder to come by, but is currently in season, so it’s worth asking at your local large supermarket or greengrocer. The fruit itself is hard and not particularly tasty raw, but once cooked it transforms from a green to a soft, sweeter pink flesh.

This fruit is typically used to make a jelly to be served with cheese or cold meats, but I wanted to be slightly more adventurous and create something with pastry and this recipe seemed to suit. In simply terms, a Tarte Tatin (which is traditionally made with apples) is a French upside-down tart – it’s cooked with the pastry on top and inverted to serve.

This dish is usually baked in a Tatin dish (a round, deep-sided and sloping sided metal dish), but if you don’t have one a skillet pan will work fine (as I have used).

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 quince
  • 1 lemon
  • 350g sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 litre boiling water
  • sweet shortcrust pastry (shop bought is fine) – defrosted and chilled in the fridge

Recipe:

  1. In a medium pan add the water, half the sugar, the zest of a lemon and half the juice of a lemon.
  2. Peel, core and quarter the quince (I find a small knife easier for peeling quince than an actual peeler, but use whichever implement is easiest for you) and add the pan of water.
  3. Turn heat up high and bring to the boil. As soon as the pan is bubbling, clamp on a lid, turn the heat down low and leave to simmer for 8 minutes. The drain the pan and set the quince aside. The idea is to par-cook them – you don’t want them too soft yet otherwise they’ll lose their shape later.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
  5. In the Tatin (or skillet) pan, add the remaining sugar and melt over a medium heat. You must not stir with a spoon yet, but can swill round. Just as the sugar has melted and is starting to go golden add the butter – now you can stir. Then take off the heat.
  6. Add the quince to the pan with the flatter faces down in a circular pattern around the Tatin tin. Drizzle over the remaining lemon juice and cinnamon.
  7. On a floured surface, roll out the sweet shortcrust pastry to about half a cm thick and cut to a circle that is just bigger than the Tatin dish and then place over the fruit.
  8. Push the edges down the side of the pan and then bake in the over for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling up the sides.
  9. Once out of the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges with a palette knife. Place a large plate over the dish and invert. A thump on the pan or a short but vigorous shake should completely release the pie onto the plate, showing all the fruit facing up. Don’t worry if one of 2 pieces are left in the pan – just remove them from the pan and squidge gently into the place in the pie.
  10. I serve mine warm with creme fraiche

Quince Tarte Tatin

 

Quince Tarte Tatin - served

Limes and mint

K is for Key Lime Pie

Over the past couple of weeks, I managed to do my L blog before the K one, so I’ve been holding off publishing it to ensure they go in order.

K this week was always going to be a fruit-based dessert, perhaps a kiwi or kumquat…something, but then it hit me, Key Lime Pie! As a fan of all pies, and with help from my all time favourite chef Eric Lanlard, the blog this week is Key Lime Pie.

Key Lime Pie Cheesecake - ingredients Key Lime Pie Cheesecake - ready to bake

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40minutes

Whisked egg whites

Limes ready to be mixed into pie mix

Ingredients:

  • 350g digestive biscuits (crushed into small rubble)
  • 125g unsalted butter – melted
  • 175g caster sugar (125g for syrup & 50g for the filling)
  • 125ml water
  • 4 large eggs (separated into yolks and whites)
  • 6 limes (2 finely sliced; 4 zested and juiced)
  • 1 tin (397g) of full-fat condensed milk
  • handful of fresh mint
  • 300ml whipping cream (whipped to peaks)

Recipe:

  1. This recipe starts backwards, as we start making the decoration first. Mix 125g of caster sugar and 125ml of water over a medium heat until it reaches a boil. Add 2 finely sliced limes and poach for 10minutes with a few of the mint leaves. Then take off the heat and leave the lime slices to stoop in the syrup overnight.
  2. To make the pie base, mix the melted butter and crushed digestive biscuits together and press into a buttered loose-bottom pie tin (ideally fluted). Leave to chill in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Bake the biscuit base blind for 10-15mins until it takes on colour. This is done by lining with baking parchment (crumpled) and carefully half-filling with ceramic baking beans.
  4. To make the pie filling, beat the egg yolks together and then stir in the condensed milk (making sure to not waste any from the tin – it’s precious stuff), lime zest and lime juice.
  5. In a separate, clean, dry bowl, using an electric whisk beat the egg whites together, slowly adding the remaining 50g of caster sugar until firm peaks are formed.
  6. Fold together the egg whites and lime mixture together then pour into the biscuit-lined cake case. Bake for 25minutes until the pie mixture is set. It should be lightly golden on top. It will rise a little and then sink back once out of the oven.
  7. Once completely cool, loosen and gently remove from the spring-form tin. Decorate with the whipped cream, fresh mint and the syrup-infused sliced lime.

Key Lime Pie Cheesecake

Key Lime Pie Cheesecake - badly decorated