25 September 2013

Apple glut continues

It would be a shame to waste those apples ... this compilation of recipes may help. One can only make so much jelly, applesauce, apple butter, apple chutney - not only does the supply of saved jam jars run out, but there's still the jelly, applesauce, etc from previous years to eat up ...

Gathering together some recipe ideas, I quickly tired of the internet and started looking at the neglected cookbooks on my own bookshelves, many of which date back to the 1970s.

These two apple cakes are from the BBC Woman's Hour website; one has an interesting way with fractions -

'Cakes: Regional and Traditional' by Julie Duff, Published by Grub Street, ISBN 1904943195.
Potato and Apple Cake Recipe
I do admit that I find potato an unlikely addition for cakes, but on the other hand potato flour is often used in Europe so why should it be any different here? Certainly, once I began looking into the use of potato in cakes I realised that whilst not common, it was an ingredient that was used and after all it is not that much different to adding carrots, which are now so acceptable. This Potato Apple Cake is excellent and well worth experimenting to quell such prejudices.

225g / 8oz self raising flour
115g / 4oz cooked and mashed potato
½ teaspoon mixed spice
2 large cooking apples
150g / 5oz butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
115g / 4oz soft brown sugar
Little milk if necessary

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
Sift the flour and spice into a bowl and rub in the butter until it forms the texture of fine bread crumbs.
Stir in the sugar and the potatoes.
Peel and core the apples and dice them into small pieces, stir into the flour mixture, finally adding the eggs and mixing to a soft dough. Add a little milk if necessary.
Spoon into a greased and lined 900g / 2lb loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 1 ¼ hours or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.
Remove from the oven and turn out gently onto a wire rack 

Apple Cake made with Oil


Of all the apple cakes, this is my favourite. It is a moist cake, particularly good at the end of a meal with a dollop of cream. It is also one of the few cakes made with oil instead of butter. Use a mild Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil if you can, but ordinary olive oil will do just as well.

Serves 8 to 10

3 quarters cup golden raisins
2 thirds cup olive oil
1 cup golden sugar
2 extra-large free-range eggs
2 + 1 third cups Italian 00 flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 + half tsp baking soda
Half tsp cream of tartar
Half tsp salt
1 pound dessert apples, peeled and
diced small
grated peel of 1 lemon, preferably organic or unwaxed


Soak the golden raisins in warm water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350F. Pour the olive oil into a bowl, add the sugar and beat until the sugar and oil become homogenized. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture has increased in volume and looks like thin mayonnaise.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the oil and sugar mixture, folding them in with a metal spoon. Mix thoroughly and then add the diced apples and lemon peel.

Drain and dry the golden raisins and add to the batter; mix very thoroughly. The batter will be very stiff at this stage.

Butter and flour an 8-inch springform cake pan. Spoon the batter into the pan and bake for at least 1 hour until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry. Remove the cake from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Tagliatelle al Limone e Erbe Odorose is one of the recipes in Anna del Conte's Gastronomy of Italy (Pavilion Books, ISBN: 1862051666, 29.95.

The one I wanted, immediately after hearing about it on the programme, was said to be on the website but wasn't there yet when I looked... Apparently it uses a lot of apples, from which the cake gets its moisture, not needing milk - and oil is used instead of butter.
There are of course a million recipes for apple cake, variants on a few basic recipes, with or without cinnamon, some with raisins, others spiked with booze, using sliced, chopped, or grated apple - or even applesauce. A while back we had some starter for Herman the German Apple Cake, which is delicious, but throwing out half the starter rather bothers me, and after a while you've had absolutely enough of the cake, and the freezer still has several, so you give up on the whole project.
This is a good apple year, except our tree keeps dropping the fruit, and most apples have mothy bits that need cutting out (treat for codling moth next year).
As far as apple desserts go, we are getting tired of apple crumble. Here's a simple but delicious, in fact amazing, apple dessert -

Pan fried apple slices

Version 1: Mix 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon with 1/2 cup (110g) sugar. Core, peel, and thinly slice 2 apples. Toss the apples in the sugar mixture while 2 Tbsp butter is melting in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat till the apples are tender, about 10 mins.

Version 2: Quarter, peel and core one apple per person, and slice thinly. Melt lots of butter (almost tablespoon per apple) in a heavy frying pan and add the apples. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till the apples are almost done. Then add sugar - a tablespoon or two per apple, according to how sweet you like it - and cook till apples are done. The sugar will melt into the butter and make a lovely sauce. Serve warm with whipped cream or pouring cream.
Another idea is "Crepes Alsace" (The Brunch Cookbook (1972), p154) - which involves making crepes, sauteeing apples with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, then adding vanilla, brandy, orange juice, and orange zest. When cool, fill the crepes, which are placed in a rectangular dish or pan, drizzled with butter, baked in a 180C oven for 5 mins, and served with whipped cream.

Cakes and desserts are not the only use for apples - you can't beat applesauce (or stewed apples) with potato pancakes, of course, but a trawl through the indexes of my cookbooks brings a few other savoury suggestions to light. 
From the 1953 edition of THE classic American cookbook you can get recipes for an apple and onion dish, apple and sauerkraut salad, apple-onion-and-raisin dressing, apples filled with sausage meat, sauteed apples and bacon, and apples stuffed with sauerkraut. 
Chez Panisse combines apples with cabbage, cooked or raw, and other exciting salads.
My standby in the late 70s, More-with-Less has only sweet uses of apples (but the argentine spinach pie looks promising ... another time ...)
 Two recipes for the liver-apple combination - the other uses chicken livers.
 Sweet things from Germany, but among them are rice with apples and Himmel und Erde - potatoes cooked with apples, mashed, served with bacon and onions.
Green apple salad, from one of the 101 Recipes series, is based on green mango salad.

Even without a juicer, you can make a healthy beetroot-carrot-apple-ginger juice -
Or, blend 11 large green apples (2.2kg), cored and chopped, with a large raw beetroot (200g), peeled and chopped, and a 5cm piece of ginger, chopped - then push through a sieve. Makes about a litre of juice.

If you don't have rocket to hand, you can use baby spinach -
 Finally, an unusual soup - apple and cherry - from Iran -
and cauliflower and apple soup, recipe here. And red cabbage and apple soup, recipe here or here.

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