tagged ‘apples’

Cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies

in Desserts, Taste -

Fall baking can’t get any easier than these cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies with they buttery, fragrant filling and crunchy sweet crust.  

Cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies

Fall is probably my favourite time to bake; after a long summer, which is mostly spent devouring fresh vegetables and fruit, merely tossed with some extra virgin olive oil, fragrant herbs and crunchy nuts, when the days get darker and shorter, I truly crave time spent around the stove. And apples and pears, along with beautiful thick-skinned vegetables, provide just the right starting point for that.

Cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies

Apples especially never cease to amaze me, with their endless variety, different colours and versatility in ways they can be cooked: in my favourite autumnal cake, paired with brown butter and hazelnuts; made into a jam, along with chubby, sour blackberries and lemon juice; and of course, you certainly must use them in a pie, buttery and crumbly on the outside, with beautifully juicy filling. Apples also love cheese: they are always my go-to when assembling cheese platters for those first post- summer gatherings and they are a delight paired with sharp cheddar and saffron; combined with stilton and sage for an intensely flavoured, thick soup, is also ideal for warming lunches and quick dinners.

Cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies

Still, out of all the ways one can enjoy an apple, two are my most favourite: taking a big bite out of one, juices running down my chin and turning them into a pie. These cinnamon & lemon ones are a child’s play to put together, yet punch so much flavour- I hope you give them a try and enjoy them time and time again, using different varieties of beautiful apples.

Cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies

Cinnamon & lemon mini apple pies

WHAT

3 small/ 2 medium apples, peeled, cored & cubed (you can use any variety you like- just make sure you add a little extra honey if the apples are quite tart)

20g unsalted butter

zest of one lemon and a squeeze of its juice

30g honey (about a tablespoon)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 sheet of butter puff pastry

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons temerara sugar

HOW

  1. Put the cubed apples, butter, lemon zest & juice and spices in a small pan over a medium/ low heat; cook until the butter is melted and the fruit soften, about 8′. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into six squares; place about 1/2 tablespoon of the filling onto the centre of each square and wet the edges with a touch of water, using your fingers.
  3. Bring one corner of the square over to the opposite side and press to seal with a fork. Repeat with the other squares.
  4. Carefully place the pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment and put in the fridge for about 20′, allowing the pastry to firm up again; preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC FAN).
  5. Remove the pies from the fridge, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with demerara.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20′, or until they are puffed and golden.
  7. Remove from the oven, allow them to sit for about 5′ and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

in Breakfast, Desserts, Taste -

This apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam is thick, as sweet as it should and has made me fall in love with apples all over again! 

Apple, blackberry & cinnamon jam

Ever since I moved to London, every autumn, without fail, I find my self in awe of all the apple varieties available: there’s small, sour ones, with light pink and green flesh; and bigger ones, very sweet and very pink; shinny green apples, crunchy and juicy, perfectly sour and refreshing; and then others, large and brownish, with a subtle sweetness which reminds me of pears. One is truly spoilt for choice and one is hopelessly enamoured every year, all over again.

I buy large quantities and I slice and sometimes peel and eat at least one a day; I freeze for smoothies and grate for spicy oatmeal; they’re added in cakes and pies, often alongside juicy, blushing pears, or eaten hungrily, on the spot, with just a drizzle of tahini and another of honey. They’re set aside to be used in warming stews, with sprigs of rosemary or tarragon and sweet potatoes, or even added to buttery mash for a touch of sweetness. Autumn is for apples, every year, and every year I am without fail hell-bent on celebrating apples as I should: often, repeatedly, enthusiastically, hungrily. [READ MORE]

Apple, pear & cardamom pie

in Desserts, Taste -

Apple, pear & cardamom pie

It’s cold! And sunny! And cold, dammit, so very cold! But hey, it comes with the season, along with a few other things, so lovely and so close to my heart: leaves with the most stunning colours, Halloween and Bonfire night right around the corner and, you guessed it, delicious, hearty food. I honestly can’t get enough of fall’s fresh produce: crispy carrots and so many pumpkins, leeks and sage, swede, celeriac and beautiful wild mushrooms. And the fruit! Oh, all the different varieties of crisp apples and sweet juicy pears, which all just beg to be used in a pie!  [READ MORE]

Blackberry Cointreau mulled wine

in Taste -

Blackberry Cointreau mulled wine

It’s proper winter here in London. It’s cold and windy and you need about a bazillion layers in order to step out but not freak out (at least I do). I hate the cold, but let me tell you, I LOVE winter! Maybe not as much as say, autumn and all its beautiful colours; or summer and its perfect vegetables & fruit and all the ice-creams and time spent at the beach; I love winter because of the coziness that comes with it. It’s the season that invites gatherings at home, heart and body warming meals, decadent desserts and comforting drinks. [READ MORE]

Turmeric apple tart

in Desserts, Taste -

TurmericAppleTart-620-4

As of late, my favourite mid-day snack is a red, juicy apple, cut in thick wedges, with some tahini drizzled on top, finished off with some sea salt flakes. I always love combining sweet and salty flavours and this one is just perfect for a quick bite: the fruit, along with the nutty sesame paste and just a touch of salt is not only fulfilling, but also just right to keep me full for a few hours and stop me from attacking dinner like a mad person.

[READ MORE]

Apple cheddar muffins

in Small bites, Taste -

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Food that combines savoury and sweet flavours is usually my favourite. In desserts I often crave a hint of saltiness- it doesn’t get much better than these dark chocolate cookies with sea salt flakes. In savoury dishes, I love the combination of fresh fruit with vegetables and cheese: savoury breads, salads, pasta or pizzas- I love them all!

AppleCheddarMuffins-620-1

These apple and cheddar muffin are just this: a little sweet and a little salty.

I used Braeburn apples- my favourite red variety, because of their gorgeous red/yellow colour and for having the right amount of sweetness and firmness. Cut in small pieces, they add softness and balance the saltiness perfectly.  The cheddar leaves the inside soft and elastic; the extra sprinkles on top give the muffins a pizza-like crunchiness. I mean… More. Please.

AppleCheddarMuffins-620-2

INGREDIENTS (makes 12)

2 ½ tablespoons butter

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup low fat yogurt

1 large egg

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1 cup sharp cheddar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

1 ½ apples, cut in small pieces 

a few threads of saffron (optional)

freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 170C.  Line 2 muffin pans with lightly buttered cases.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, until browned and fragrant (it will smell slightly nutty). Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt; add cheddar and stir to combine.

In another bowl, beat the egg with the sugar until pale, add the yogurt, brown butter and saffron (if using) and mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine. Add the apple pieces and black pepper and fold gently until incorporated (the butter will be sticky)

Using a large spoon, fill 2/3 of each muffin case and sprinkle with extra cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Take out of the oven, let cool and eat while still warm.

Spicy apple cake

in Desserts, Taste -

AppleCake-620-4

With September well underway, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that summer is gone. It took me a while. Just two weeks ago, I was still in flip flops and light summers dresses, sunglasses almost permanently on, no watch, just suncream. It feels like I’ve blinked and found myself wearing layers again and trying assume a happy back-to-school attitude. [READ MORE]