Make your party go with a bang.
Crunchy Maple Toffee Apples (serves 8)
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking time:15 minutes
8 small eating apples (such as Cox)
400g caster sugar
150ml apple juice
100ml maple syrup
1 tsp cider vinegar
150g sprinkle mix of roughly chopped nuts and fruits
You will also need
8 cake pop sticks or strong twigs wrapped with baking parchment at one end
Wash the apples and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Remove the stalks and push a lollipop stick about halfway into each apple in their place. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
Pour the sugar into a large, heavy-based pan and warm over a low heat until dissolved. Carefully add the apple juice, maple syrup and vinegar and stir. Increase the heat, bring to the boil and cook for 7–8 minutes until the toffee reaches 140°C. To check, use a sugar thermometer or drop a small spoonful into a bowl of cold water — the toffee should set instantly.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the sprinkle mix. Dip each apple into the toffee, let any excess drip back into the pan then place on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining apples. Leave to cool completely.
Bonfire Baguettes (serves 6)
Preparation time:25 minutes
Cooking time:10 minutes
4 tbsp peanut chutney (e.g. The Spice Tailor Peanut & Tamarind Chutney)
1 tbsp honey
600g pack beef sandwich steaks
1 cucumber, very thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large baguette
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Mix together the chutney and honey. Spread over the steaks and leave to marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the cucumber salad. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber with the red onion, rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high flame. Fry the steaks in 2 batches, for 2–3 minutes, turning once until nicely browned but still a little pink in the centre. Make sure to wipe the pan in between and add a little more oil for the second batch. Once cooked, use a sharp knife to slice the steaks into thin strips.
Cut the baguette into 6 even lengths then slice each in half and spread with a little mayonnaise. Place some steak strips in each one, then top with a generous helping of cucumber salad. Serve swiftly, while still warm.
For extra colour and crunch, try adding some finely sliced radishes to the cucumber salad.
Puff Pastry Catherine Wheels (makes 16)
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus chilling
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
125g plain flour
100g butter, chilled
1 red apple, grated
3-4 tbsp Nestlé Carnation Caramel
25g pecans, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Grease 2 baking trays.
Place the flour and salt in a bowl, cut the butter into small cubes and toss in the flour until coated. Using a round-bladed knife, stir in 80-100ml water to form a dough, keeping the butter cubes as whole as possible. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
Roll out on a floured surface to a rough 28 x 16cm rectangle. Fold the bottom third up to the centre, then fold the top section over, like an envelope. Chill for 20 minutes. Repeat the process 3 more times before finally rolling out to a 30 x 18cm rectangle.
Squeeze most of the juice from the grated apple. Spread the pastry with 2 tbsp caramel and scatter over the apple and pecans. Roll up from one long side and cut into 16 slices. Place the wheels on the trays and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Brush with the remaining caramel while still hot.
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