Autumn is my favorite time of the food year as the harvest starts to roll in. Not only from my meager garden containing the random smattering of potato and tomato plants but from the world at large!
I’m very fortunate to find that my home city of Nottingham is bountiful when it comes to free food. From the plums and damson trees lining the canals to the cherry trees that seem to be found alongside all the city streets and churchyards. That not to mention the seemingly neverending supply of blackberries, apples, rosehips and elderberries that seem to make this town so great!
Unfortunately I often find that people quite often turn their noses up to this free fruit and I am quite used to confused children asking me why I am climbing trees for plums or foraging for berries. Unless packaged in a neat and tidy container with a best before date stamped on the lid, so many people are mistrusting of natures finest.
Well sod that I say! Get outside with your bags and tupperware! Stock up your supplies of jam and chutneys. Get into the kitchen a make pies, tarts and cakes without having to pay the extortionate prices for your fruit!
To start you off, here is my recipe for a wicked Dorset Apple Cake. This recipe started out as one of Hugh Fearnley’s but, as I’ve been making it for years, it has now become an altogether different beast.
Thick and stodgy with an overabundance of Appley goodness. This cake will take a minimum of 40 mins to bake so make sure you keep an eye on it and cover it if need be to stop it browning too much. It’s ridiculously easy to make this one though with the only time consuming bit being the peeling of all the ruddy apples!
Best served slightly warm with a good dollop of double cream. The ground almonds will help keep this cake moist for a good couple of days as long as you store it in a good air-tight container.
125g Caster sugar
75g Self-raising flour
75g Ground almonds
For the apples
4-5 eating Apples
1 tbsp Caster Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Grease & line a 9” spring-form pan.
Peel and core the apples, cut them into quarters and then slice each quarter in to about 3 pieces. You don’t have to be too precise.
Heat the butter and sugar in a frying pan and then gently fry the apples. When they are nearly tender and starting to caramelise, add the cinnamon and take off the heat.
Allow to cool completely. feel free to stick it in the fridge to help it along.
Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric whisk until fluffy.
Add the eggs, then the flour, then the almonds. Mix together.
Fold in the cooled apples.
Scrape into the tin, smooth over the surface.
Bake for 40-45 minutes (until a skewer comes out clean). Leave for 20 mins before removing from the tin and leaving to cool.
Top with caramel sauce and caster sugar.