This summer has produced some fantastic fruit. Right now the hedgerows are filling with ripe blackberries and the garden has an incredible amount of apples. The apple trees are espaliered around the wall and some are really ancient – they’ve certainly been here longer than we have – and produce both fragrant eating apples and gnarled knobbly cooking apples. We have also planted lots of crisp juicy eating apples in our time here and these trees are literally drooping with apples.
We have been picking up the windfalls and our kitchen has buckets of apples lined up against one wall. This has started an apple cooking frenzy. We have apple chutney, apple compote, apple muffins and apple tart tatin on the go.
In our house one of autumn’s special treats is an apple tart tatin. They have to be the ‘queen’ of apple tarts and they also use an impressive amount of apples to make each tart, so are ideal in the apple consuming quest. To make a tart tatin the apples are gently caramelised in butter and sugar, then covered with pastry and baked. When the tart cools it’s tipped out onto a platter so the apples sit on top. It tastes divine. I wouldn’t normally be an apple tart person but these are the business. To prevent ourselves from dying of tart over consumption we are sharing these with the shop so if you would like to try a slice pop in and get a piece.
I was going to write the tart tatin recipe but when I sat down to write it I realised it was a bit tricky. It’s one of these recipes that you really need to see to unlock the secret.
Amidst all this apple mania I have been experimenting with muffin recipes. Muffins are a North American invention and the recipes are so simple that it’s possible to imagine early pioneers with very little in the way of a kitchen knocking these out. No fancy equipment needed, just bowls, a wooden spoon and an oven. Here’s one of my successful culinary creations: apple and blackberry muffins.
Apple and Blackberry Muffins.
100g whole wheat flour
125g white flour
225mls natural yoghurt or sour cream
1 dsp ground cinnamon
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp bread soda
125g light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
2-3 eating apples
1 large cup of blackberries
A little extra sugar for the top of the muffins
Pre heat the oven 180c
Grease a twelve-portion muffin tin with butter or line with muffin cases.
Melt the butter in a small pan then put aside.
Put the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar into a large bowl and mix together.
Beat the eggs together with the yoghurt or sour cream.
Peel the apples and chop into small pieces.
Tip the egg/yoghurt mix, chopped apples and blackberries and melted butter into the dry ingredients and mix briefly. Put a large spoonful of the mixture into each muffin case. Sprinkle the top with a little muscovado sugar then bake for 20-25mins.
Check the muffins by inserting a clean sharp knife; if it comes out clean the muffins are ready.