Friday, 12 November 2010

Necessity is the mother of invention.

What do you do if you have one of these?:

Not to mention three of these:

(yes, I realise they do look a bit nasty but they're the ones that came off the tree yesterday, so they got bashed around a bit by the wind).

Well, first you chop up six kilos of them and put them in your freezer.  Then you realise that you now don't have any room for anything else in your freezer, so you take some of them out and make apple puree, apple chutney, apple sauce (yes, I know it's the same as apple puree but my children don't, and it turns out they'll eat pork if you cover it in sweetened apples, which is a bonus), apple crumble, apple pie, baked apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples...

Does anybody want some apples?

You'll have got the gist.  We've got a lot of apples and we're rapidly running out of ideas as to what to do with them. And then I realised that the prize in English Mum's Big Autumn Bake Off is a copy of a book called Food from Plenty: Good Food Made from the Plentiful, the Seasonal and the Leftover with Over 300 Recipes, None of Them Extravagant by Diana Henry.  And if there's ever a book I need, it's that one.

So, for the first time in my life... I made up a recipe.

I give you:

Apple Fairy Cakes (I need a snazzier name, I know, any suggestions?)

And you know what, they were delicious. So delicious in fact, and I'm so proud of myself (and L, who did some very valuable stirring) that not only am I blogging about them, in a blow your own trumpet sort of a way, but I also made them again, only in a big tin this time, and served it with creme fraiche as a pudding.

So, for my own reminder, when I can't remember this time next year, how I did it, and for anyone else in the same boat, here's the secret:

You need:

3 medium sized bramley apples
lemon juice (jif is fine)
teaspoon of cinnamon
demerara sugar
2 large eggs
caster sugar
plain flour
teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade. (I have no idea what that is in farenheit, sorry)

Peel, core and chop up your apples into smallish chunks (you're going to put them in the middle of a fairy cake after all), and put them in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice, a tablespoon or so of demerara and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Weigh your eggs, shell on.

I know, you think I'm weird don't you? But honestly, this is how Mrs Beeton used to make a sponge cake, and if it worked for her... It's also the only way I know how to other than following a recipe, because it's how my mum told me, and presumably hers before that, and hers before that. I find something very comforting in the idea of all these women baking in the same way.

Weigh out the same amount of butter, caster sugar and flour.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one by one.  Then fold in the flour and baking powder. You can probably use self-raising instead if you like, I just didn't happen to have any.

Lay out fifteen (or so, that's how many it made for me) fairy cake cases (I've got the ordinary sized ones you can get in the supermarket - about two and a bit inches across (she says, vaguely, having absolutely no sense of spatial awareness)) and put a heaped teaspoon of mixture in each one.  Put two or three bits of apple on top of that, and then another, smaller, teaspoon of mixture on top. It'll be a bit sticky, and it probably won't spread down, but don't worry, it will in the oven.

Sprinkle some more demerara sugar on top and put them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown.

If you do it in a big tin, mine is about 20 cm in diameter and it took more like 50 minutes to cook.  It was quite thin too, so next time I might do it with three eggs and increase all the other quantities as above.  It was also one of those cakes that was better the next day.

Oh, and if anyone has any other ideas as to what I can do with a million Bramley apples, do say.

ps Tescos had blackberries on special offer this week.... crumble for lunch on Sunday I think.


  1. I had this problem as a teenager when I used to bake for the family. At the time I actually thought about publishing a cook book on 1001 ways with apples: I used to use apple in place of other fruit in every dessert you can think of and then there were jellies and jams with other fruits, and every kind of apple cake and bread :)

  2. Wow that is a lot of apples!!
    We often put apple in savoury dishes, in with the mash on a shepherds pie, which my hubby insists makes in settlers pie, apparently.
    And shred a load with shredded potato, carrot and onion make into patties and fry....chuck them in a gratin with the spud....Ummmm We've put lumps of it in with casseroles too, I guess pork would work but I'm veggie so don't know a lot about that sorta thing.
    You could dry them perhaps? NOt that I have any clue how you do that, but dried apple is yummy! Good luck using them up!

  3. oh and that apple fairy cake sounds yummy, I'll be trying that tomorrow!! Thanks for sharing it

  4. So Plan B stands for Plan Bramley?

  5. hmmmm good receipe.....I just don't have any apples!!!!!!!!!

  6. Blue Sky - apple bread?! Mmmm. Off to look for a recipe!

    Podgypixiejo - how did you get on? And thanks for all the ideas too. Will definitely be putting it in the mash on a shepherds pie, and just googled dried apple and may well try that too!

    Iota - in this instance possibly, although "I desperately need a plan Bramley" might be more appropriate. I could of course just let the "£^£$Y%&*$%£ things rot, but somehow that seems wrong.

    Kelloggsville - I'm sorry, I'm not sure they'd survive the post...!

  7. Pommepoms?
    Himself is the apple man in our household. That involves cleaning up after the June drop, throwing the rotting fallers into the field behind and daily cooking the bucketfuls before they go 'orrible.
    My contribution to the apple problem amounts to ladling the stewed apple onto rice cakes and smothering the lot in whipped cream.
    You will have to delegate with those quantities.


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