Our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson uses the season's crop of apples to superbly tasty effect.
The fresh British apples found in the supermarkets right now are one of the treats of the year, and this recipe uses them in a delicious dessert or tea-time treat.
Melanie also has an easy recipe for Tarte Tatin, a dish chosen as a desert island dish by Sophie Grigson recently. ‘Heat 100g each of caster sugar and butter until the sugar has dissolved and is beginning to caramelise,’ she says. ‘Add six peeled, halved and cored eating apples to the caramel and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Arrange them in a neat circle on a baking sheet and top with a round sheet of puff pastry, leaving enough of an edge to tuck in around the apples. Bake at 180˚C for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden; once cooked, invert carefully onto a serving plate.’
Recipe: Apple-and-cinnamon tray bake
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 275g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
- 250g self-raising flour
- 4 large tart eating apples
- A squeeze of lemon
- 1tbspn ground cinnamon
For the icing
- 300g icing sugar
- 2tbspn water
Preheat your oven to 160˚C fan/180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4 and prepare a tray with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time—beating between each addition—together with the vanilla-bean paste. Fold through the flour and then pour into the prepared tray. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the mixture.
Peel, core and slice the apples, putting the pieces into a large bowl as you work and tossing with lemon juice to prevent them browning. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and toss them around to evenly coat. Scatter the slices evenly over the cake mixture in the tray. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and leave to cool.
Once the apple tray bake is at room temperature, carefully remove from the tin. Mix together the icing sugar and water so you have a toothpaste consistency and then drizzle it over the cake in Jackson Pollock style.
This deliciously tender bake will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
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