Apples, Apples, Apples

I am proud and privileged to live in the Garden of England and to work alongside the National Fruit Col Collection at Brogdale. Here are a few of my favourite apple themed recipes!

Easy Apple Crumble

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This recipe is one of my most popular in schools and at workshops. It is also just as easy to do outside in the Dutch oven as it is using more conventional methods. I've included the technique for both, using a 4 litre (20cm diameter) Dutch Oven. If any are available at the time blackberries make a welcome addition to this dessert!

Ingredients (serves 12)

1kg apples 

300g caster sugar

1 tbs  fresh herbs (rosemary thyme and lavender work well here)

For the crumble topping

300g flour

250g butter or vegetable based spread (diced)

150g caster sugar

150g peeled and roasted chestnuts

Method

  1. Core, peel and slice the apples into sizable chunks.

  2. Place the Dutch oven or casserole pot over a medium heat and then add the apples, sugar and herbs, stirring until the apples start to soften and take on the sugar.

  3. Remove the apples from the heat and set to one side.

  4. Make the crumble mixture by grinding the chestnuts and adding them to the butter, sugar and flour, lightly mix this with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb-like texture.

  5. Layer the crumble mix over the stewed apples and bake in an oven for about 20 minutes at 180c until the topping is golden. Alternatively if cooking outside place the Dutch oven lid on top of the pot and cover with hot embers, lifting the lid at intervals to see if it is done. More heat can be added by further hot embers or blowing more oxygen using bellows.

Caramelised Apples

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Ingredients

(Serves 1-4!)

4 peeled, cored and sliced firm dessert apples.

50g salted butter

1 tbs corn flour

250ml water

60g dark soft brown sugar

2 tsp of cinnamon or mixed spices of your choice.

I was asked to cook up some of the lovely apples at Brogdale  Collection's National Apple Festival in Faversham. I had a few initial ideas, then decided to get a few fresh tasty apples, caramelise in a pan over open fire and serve with a fresh flat bread. These turned out to be a real winner over the weekend. It is a simple dessert that I will definitely be cooking up again!

Please note: When I cook this, I add the ingredients by sight, so the measurements are just approximations! 

Method

1. Heat a large deep based saucepan or pan over a medium heat, before adding the butter to slowly melt.

2. Once the butter has melted, pour in the peeled and cored apples to soften and cook, stirring and turning occasionally.

3. While the apples are cooking, mix the cornflour with the water.

4. After 8-10 minutes of cooking the apples should have  softened, but still hold their shape, pour in enough of the cornflour mix to just cover the base of the pan before adding the sugar and spice.

5. Mix everything together in the pan until the sugar/cornflour mix start to thicken and caramelise,  producing a sweet treacle-like texture.

6. Remove from the heat and serve, with a fresh flatbread or in a bowl with custard!

Apple and Pea soup

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)

6 apples peeled ,cored and chopped

(dessert or cooking)

2 onions

50g salted butter

500g frozen peas

750ml vegetable stock

A few leaves of fresh mint, chopped

I first tried Apple and Pea soup while on holiday in South West Scotland, and while it is not a flavour we would usually find on the supermarket shelves, this sweet, fresh soup really does work!

Living in the Garden of England (Kent) and  having the opportunity to work with the finest apples grown at Brogdale, this was the perfect recipe to cook during their Heritage Orchard Walk days. A few people asked for the recipe, so here it is!

Method

1. Heat a large stock pot or Dutch oven and melt the butter on a medium heat before adding the onions to  soften.

2. Then add the apples to the pan and mix with the onions and melted butter.

3.Now add the frozen peas before pouring in the vegetable stock and half of the mint.

4. Bring to a boil before leaving to simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Blend with a stick blender before serving with a garnish of mint