Founded by Common Ground in 1990, Apple Day celebrates the numerous varieties of apples grown in the UK. During the second half of October, events including Apple identification, growing advice, cooking, preserving, juicing and cider making, have become popular. Living in Somerset, an apple growing county, I am spoilt for choice with orchards welcoming visitors to taste varieties and take part in baking competitions, apple bobbing and orchard tours.
Miranda’s recently published “Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can” provided the inspiration for apple bakes using fruit from her trees. Before the baking started, Miranda served Little Apple Tea Breads and an Apple Tea Loaf. As tasters for the day ahead, they were moist, and full of flavour. Miranda quickly made Apple and Cheese Oat Breads, which met with universal approval. I’m always interested in recipes for baking with preserves. I was intrigued and delighted when Miranda made a Salted Caramel Cake with Mascarpone Frosting and Spiced Apple Curd, as well as an Apple, Chutney and Serrano Ham Pizza Cake. All the friends present, including Charlotte Pike and Jude Magee ate these for lunch. The preserves worked very well in the recipes, producing multi-layered flavoured bakes.
Apples, especially cooking apples feature in many recipes for preserves. Chutneys often include apples or they are the main ingredient. Mindful of the time to make a chutney and the lingering aroma of vinegar in a kitchen, I decided to take sample jars of chutney ready for baking, and make sweet preserves. My Autumn Armagnac Marmalade, is not a true marmalade, more a hybrid of a jam and marmalade. Bramley apples, grapefruit and lemons are gently simmered in water, before adding sugar, boiling to a set then adding Armagnac. As an alternative to jam or marmalade, this preserve is particularly good as a filling in pancakes.
Apple is an unusual fruit for a curd, as citrus fruits tend to be more popular and are perfect partners with eggs, sugar and butter. The colour of an apple curd does not have the wow factor of a lemon curd, and the flavour is often bland, without the addition of spices or lemon zest. With that in mind, I made a curd with apples, butter, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and ginger. It is a good choice for a sponge filling, or spread on toasted crumpets.
Spiced Apple Curd
Makes about 1kg
567g cored, peeled and sliced cooking apples ( prepared weight)
Juice of 1 lemon
5ml ground ginger
125g unsalted butter
345g granulated sugar
2eggs, beaten and strained
1) Gently cook the apples, lemon juice and spices in the water, in a covered pan until pulped.
2) Rub the mixture through a sieve and pour into a bowl large enough to fit over a saucepan of hot water.
3) Add the butter and leave to melt. Add the sugar and eggs. Stir thoroughly to combine.
4) Gently cook until the curd thickens and lightly coats the back of the spoon.
5) Pour the curd into clean warm jars to the brim. Place a waxed disc on the top of each jar.
6) When cold, add cellophane covers, secured with rubber bands. Store in the refrigerator and eat the curd within 4-6 weeks.
For baking recipes Bake me a Cake as Fast as You Can
Charlotte Pike of Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary
All photos by Jude Magee