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5.3 PRODUCE. 16. Apples.JPG.jpg

It is amazing to see so many people leaving apples hanging on trees ‘for the birds to enjoy’, when other folks scrump any available apple tree of every fruit - even the scabby ones.
Of course, once an investment is made in a fruit press, the cider makers come out of the woodwork!
It might be a good idea to communally buy a press, and book it out for individual use?
In rural Bulgaria, where using a ‘still’ isn’t illegal, whole communities get together once a year in the village ‘big shed’. They bring barrels of mixed fruit to press (and distil) for the following years supply, while at the same time drinking up the last of the previous year’s stock.
It’s a long and happy night I’m told!
Of course, you can simply store your glut of apples in a cool dark place and hope they do not develop bruises from their falls.
Failing all this, try some of the recipes below.


Pastry: Filling:
6oz hard margarine (or butter for luxury) 4oz marzipan (more if liked!)
10oz plain four 4oz margarine
2 level tablsp caster sugar 2oz caster sugar
1 egg, beaten 4 large cooking apples, peeled and grated
2 egg whites
Make pastry: rub fat into four, add sugar & bind together with beaten egg & little cold water to make firm dough.
Chill for 1 hour.
Roll pastry out to fit 10” loose bottomed flan tin (or whatever else you can find!) Keep pastry trimmings for lattice decorated top.
Grate (or thinly slice) marzipan & line bottom of flan
Cream marg & sugar together, then mix inthe grated apples.
Stiffly whisk egg whites & fold into the apple mixture.
Spread mixture over marzipan.
Roll out remaining pastry, cut into 1⁄2” strips & criss-cross a lattice top (unless you have a fancy cutter like mine........or feel festive & want cut out leaves/circular patty tops or even gingerbread men cut outs on top!)
Brush top with spare egg yolk & bake in preheated oven 425F/220C/Gas 7 for 35/40 mins, until a rich golden colour.
Serve hot or cold, with cream, custard or ice cream.
***To freeze, cool, open-freeze, remove from flan tin, wrap, seal & label. Keeps 3 months.
To serve, thaw, unwrapped for about 4 hours at room temp. If serving warm, heat in oven at 350F/180C/Gas 4 for 15 mins.


30g salted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, halved and finely sliced
1⁄2 bunch of thyme, leaves picked
30g plain flour
500ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
450g potatoes (we used Maris Piper), cut into 2-3cm chunks
3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1-2cm chunks
150g mature cheddar, grated
For the pastry
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
70g cheddar, grated
150g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten

First, make the pastry. Tip the flour, cheese and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and mix. Add the butter and rub it in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in 4-5 tablsp cold water, and bring together into a dough. Wrap and chill for 30 mins. To make the filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, then add the oil and onions and cook for 10-15 mins until caramelised. Add the thyme and fry for 1 min more. Tip in the flour, and stir to combine. Gradually stir in the stock, adding it in small amounts to prevent lumps forming. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the mustard and vinegar towards the end of the cooking time.
Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 mins until just cooked and still holding their shape. Drain well, then stir into the sauce. Add the apples, cheddar and some seasoning, and stir again.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Pour the filling into a 28cm oval baking dish (ours was 28 x 18.5 x 6.5cm). While it cools, roll out the pastry on a surface lightly dusted with flour to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut into strips roughly 1cm wide. Lay half the strips across the dish horizontally, leaving gaps of a few millimeters in-between, then, one by one, weave in the remaining strips vertically, using an over and under technique, also spacing them apart by a few millimeters. Re-roll any trimmings and cut into flowers, leaves, or other shapes to decorate, if you like (see tip, below).
Arrange any pastry shapes on top, then brush with the beaten egg.
Bake for 50 mins, keeping an eye on it – protect the top with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Leave to cool for at least 10 mins before serving.


575g Bramley apples peeled, cored and sliced thinly
2 tablsp golden caster sugar
For the crumble
175g plain flour
110g golden caster sugar
110g cold butter
For the topping
1 tablsp rolled oats
1 tablsp demerara sugar
Double cream, or custard, to serve

Heat the oven to 190C/170 fan/gas 5.
Toss 575g peeled, cored and sliced Bramley apples with 2 tablsp golden caster sugar and put in a 23cm round baking dish at least 5cm deep, or a 20cm square dish. Flatten down with your hand to prevent too much crumble falling through.
Put 175g plain flour and 110g golden caster sugar in a bowl with a good pinch of salt.
Slice in 110g cold butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs. Shake the bowl and any big bits will come to the surface – rub them in. Alternatively, pulse in a processor until sandy (don’t over-process).
Pour the crumb mix over the apples to form a pile in the center, then use a fork to even out.
Gently press the surface with the back of the fork so the crumble holds together and goes crisp, then lightly drag the fork over the top for a decorative finish.
Sprinkle 1 tablsp rolled oats and 1 tablsp demerara sugar over if liked.
Set on a baking tray and put in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the apples feel very soft when you insert a small, sharp knife. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g peeled and cubes parsnips
1 litre vegetable stock
2 teasp curry powder
1 teasp ground ginger
2 tablsp apple sauce
1⁄2 teasp chopped fresh thyme
150g fat free plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley.

Put onion, garlic and parsnips in a large heavy duty saucepan. Add 250ml of the stock. Cover pan with lid and bring to boil.
Boil 5-10 minutes. Add curry and ginger powders, thyme and remaining stock. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer gently 15-20minutes.
Blitz soup (stick blender is ideal). Return pan to very low heat adding apple sauce and yogurt. Do not allow to boil.
Season to taste and serve sprinkled with the parsley and a swirl of extra yogurt.
Freeze in single servings.


1LB/450G Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2” (about 2cm) cubes
1 lemon, juice only
1lb/450g brambles (AKA blackberries)
2lb/1k granulated sugar

Put two small plates in the freezer for testing the set of the jam later.
Tip apples into a heavy pan (or preserving pan) with the lemon juice and 1⁄2 pint/250ml water.
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-8 mins until soft.
Add blackberries and sugar, stirring stir to combine.
Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat up to medium and simmer for 30-35 mins until the jam is at setting stage.
To test the jam, take one of the plates from the freezer and add a teaspoon of jam onto it - if it sets when you run your finger through it and it wrinkles, it's ready.
Using a funnel, transfer the jam into a sterilised jar. Seal the lid.
Double ingredients if using a glut of fresh fruit.

If you are reading this and have a favourite apple recipe you are willing to share, please use our contact page and we will try to include it.

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