South Leigh Seasonal Recipes

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Autumn 2009

When I am buying apples later in the year, I always have a guilty flashback to the number of windfall apples I left on the ground the previous autumn! Here are two recipes to help you deal with a glut of apples - one, which will help you use up a few of your windfalls and give you a versitile apple purée to use throughout the year, the other a delicious, moist apple cake, great for tea-time, dinner-time or anytime. The cake keeps well but can also be frozen. For more seasonal recipes, including Apple and Herb Jelly and Pork Chops with Apple and Sage, see previous seasonal recipe pages. E.L.

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PODGE'S APPLE CAKE (Serves approx. 8 / 10)

This cake is excellent when eaten immediately but is even better when kept for a few days in a cool place.

200g / 8oz butter
200g / 8oz self-raising flour
200g / 8oz caster sugar
1 large egg or two small eggs, beaten
a few drops almond essence
3 large cooking apples or 4 tart eating apples, peeled and cored
3oz / 75g raisins or mixed dried vine fruit
25g / 1oz flaked almonds
1 tblsp Demerara sugar

Grease and bottom-line a 22cm / 8½ inch spring-sided cake tin. Preheat the oven to 160°C / Gas 3.

Place the butter and flour in a large bowl and rub together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then mix in the beaten egg and the almond essence. Spread half the mixture into the base of the prepared tin. Cut the apples into thin, crescent-shaped slices and layer them evenly, together with the raisins or vine fruits, over the base-layer of mixture. Top with the remaining mixture and smooth the surface. (It doesn't matter if the mixture reaches to the top of the tin.) Sprinkle the top with flaked almonds and Demerara sugar.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1½ - 1¾ hours or until firm to the touch. Check the cake after approximately one hour and cover loosely with a sheet of foil if the cake is getting too brown. Allow the cooked cake to cool in the tin before removing. Serve warm or cold with cream or ice cream.

Recipe: Richard Chalmers

APPLE BUTTER (Makes approx. 3 litres / 5 pints)

A good way to use up some of your apple harvest - especially the windfalls. The jars of delicious, fragrant purée can be used throughout the year.

3kg / 6 lbs apples, wiped
600ml / 1 pint cider or apple juice
200 - 300g / 8 - 12 oz sugar
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Get ready some clean jam jars, with lids, and sterilise the jars in a hot oven (200°C / Gas 6) for 10 minutes. Sterilise the lids in boiling water for a few minutes, then drain and dry thoroughly.

Roughly chop up the apples, no need to peel or core them. Put them all in a large preserving pan with the cider or apple juice and simmer very gently until the apples are completely soft. Mash with a potato masher to break down the fruit. Cool slightly then, placing a sieve over a large bowl, push the cooked apples through the sieve a portion at a time. Discard the contents of the sieve. Rinse the preserving pan and return the purée to the pan, together with the sugar (between 200g / 8oz and 300g / 12oz depending on the tartness of the apples) and spices. Place the pan on a low heat and, stirring carefully so that the bottom of the purée doesn't burn, bring to the boil. I use rubber gloves at this point as the bubbling purée can burn!! Simmer gently, stirring all the time until the purée has thickened. If you have a jam thermometer, bring the purée up to 'sterilise' point and keep it at this temperature for a few minutes. Carefully ladle the purée into hot jars and wipe the rims with a clean cloth. Cover the hot purée with waxed discs and seal.

Recipe: Cecily Illingworth

Here are a few ways of using Apple Butter...
  • With yogurt, cream or ice cream.
  • With rice pudding, apple tarts, crumbles, pies.
  • In mousses, trifles or charlottes.
  • In steamed or baked puddings.
  • With roast pork or chicken.