All About Apples
Apple season is upon us in the UK, you can make many things with this versatile fruit, from chilled desserts to steaming pies and crumbles. A sharp apple sauce is a classic with pork but also works well with other rich meats like duck, pheasant and black pudding. It can also be added to hearty autumn salads too.
10 Facts About Apples
1. Apples are part of the rose family, just like pears and plums.
2. There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples grown around the world. It would take you more than 20 years to try them all if you ate one a day.
3. Apples ripen up to 10 times faster when you leave them out than when you refrigerate them.
4. Ever wondered why apples float? It’s because 25 per cent of their volume is made up of air.
5. Many apples have a natural wax applied to them after they’re harvested. This isn’t just done to make them look shinier, it helps keep out bacteria and slows the ripening process.
6. Apple trees take four to five years to bear their first fruit.
7. The average person eats 65 apples each year.
8. A medium apple contains about 80 calories.
9. The average apple contains 10 seeds.
10. Apples contain malic acid, a chemical used in teeth whitening products, which helps dissolve stains.
Celebrate British apple season by trying our recipes below for delicious food and drinks.
Flat Apple & Vanilla Tart
375g pack puff pastry, preferably all-butter
5 large eating apples - cox, russet or braeburn
juice of 1 lemon
25g butter, cut into small pieces
3 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 rounded tbsp apricot conserve
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Roll out the pastry and trim to a round about 35cm across. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and toss in the lemon juice. Spread over the pastry to within 2cm of the edges. Curl up the edges slightly to stop the juices running off.
Dot the top with the butter and sprinkle with vanilla and caster sugar. Bake for 15-20 mins until the apples are tender and the pastry crisp.
Warm the conserve and brush over the apples and pastry edge. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.
Apple, Cream & Spiced Rye Pots
4 cooking apples
6 tbsp caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
100g brown breadcrumbs
100g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
ground cardamom from 8 cardamom pods
100g rye breadcrumbs
500ml whipping cream
5 tbsp icing sugar (or add to taste)
good squeeze of lemon
2 tbsp blanched hazelnuts , halved and toasted
Peel and core the apples and cut the flesh into chunks. Put these in a large saucepan with the caster sugar and 3 tbsp water and cook over a gentle heat until the apples are completely tender. Stir every so often and mash the fruit down roughly with the back of a wooden spoon. The finished purée shouldn’t be too wet – if it is, simmer it over a low heat until it reduces and loses some of its moisture.
Check the apples for sweetness – they shouldn't be too sweet as it's being mixed with sweet cream and breadcrumbs – and tip into a bowl to cool. In Scandinavia, the stewed apples are usually puréed until smooth, but you can also keep them chunky.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add the brown breadcrumbs and half the brown sugar. Sauté, stirring constantly, over a medium heat until the breadcrumbs are golden. Add half the cinnamon and half the cardamom and continue to cook for about 1 min. Spread out on a tray – it cools quicker this way – and leave until it’s room temperature. Do the same with the rye breadcrumbs, then mix the breadcrumbs together in a bowl.
Whip the cream, adding the icing sugar and the lemon (add the lemon before the cream is too thick as the acid in the lemon has a thickening effect).
Layer the apples, breadcrumbs and whipped cream in a glass bowl (so you can see the layers) starting with the stewed apples and ending with a layer of cream. Scatter over the hazelnuts just before serving.
Huntington Fidget Pie
450g Streaky bacon
300g Onions, chopped
450g Cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Generous handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
Beaten egg to glaze
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. De-rind bacon, chop and mix with diced onions and apple, season with salt, pepper and fresh sage.
Divide filling between 4 individual pie dishes or into one large dish. Pour in the cider.
Roll out pastry to fit large enough to cut out four pie tops and place over dishes, pressing the edges well to seal.
Cut a cross in the centre of each pie and fold back the triangles to expose the filling. Brush tops with beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes until pastry is golden brown and filling bubbling, serve hot.
Apple & Elderflower Gin Cocktail
200ml elderflower cordial
1l cloudy apple juice
apple slices and ice, to serve
In a jam jar, mix gin with cordial. When ready to serve, divide the mixture between 8 glasses, and top up with apple juice, apple slices and ice.
Apple Prosecco Punch
400ml cloudy apple juice
juice 2 lemons
1 green apple, cored and finely sliced
1 lemon, sliced
Pour the apple juice, vodka and lemon juice into a punch bowl and chill for 1-2 hrs. When you’re ready to serve add the prosecco, ice and apple and lemon slices to garnish.
Apple and Ginger Mojito
50ml dark rum
10 mint leaves
15ml lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
3 dashes bitters
ice cubes, a small handful
20ml apple juice
ginger beer, to top up
mint sprig and apple fan, to serve
Put all ingredients, except for the ginger beer and mint, in a highball glass. Gently stir the drink, then top up with ginger beer. Garnish with the mint sprig and apple slices to serve.