This time of year is fantastic for all the wonderful fruit that is available in the Orchard.
Apples, pears and quince are in abundance (well this year anyway). Last year wasn’t such a good year, but this year is ….. So many recipes and so many nice things to eat.
I have the smell of the sweet crispy apples with the buttery pastry filling the kitchen as I write this. I did make these apple and caramel pies last week, but writing this post this morning, I could not resist the thought of them, so in between writing and uploading the pictures, I went into the kitchen to whip up another batch…. (yes they are that easy).
The great thing about apples, pears and quince are they don’t need to be just for dessert, they can be the heart and sole of a fantastic tea time treat too.
These apple and caramel pies were a little ‘extra’ treat to bake while I was making a gift for a friend…….
Last week I made a fantastic cake Apple Streusel Cake, (My recipe to follow) the recipe I found was great, but had all the american measures, so I had to convert and tweak a bit, although it did produce a great cake, a lot bigger (thankfully I put a large paper collar on my baking tin) it took a lot longer to cook than stated on the original recipe, I know my husband assumed I was feeding the 5 thousand…….
I was glad in the end that we had such a large offering as I had a couple of friends that I decided needed to share in our good fortune.
When I passed on a large slice of this cake to a girlfriend who had been to a hospital appointment and needed a bit of cheering up, I received a lovely email to thank me for the cake. It made my day….
“Just popping in to thank you for the delicious apple cake. What a tonic. It reminds me of my childhood when we visited our grandma in Somerset …………she would bake us an apple cake, and we loved it.”
As by way of an excuse to re-work the recipe and produce a smaller cake, I just had to make the cake again and send it to my friend for testing and continued path of cheering her up. IT WORKED.
Of course I also need to create something nice for us as I was waiting for the cake to bake and I had some left over chopped apples, I decided some apple pies would be the order of the day.
I checked to see what pastry I had (I always have pastry in the freezer), a nice piece of rough puff pastry was in the fridge as I had it left over from making a chicken pie (a recipe for another day).
So puff pastry apple pies, it had to be.
This recipe is great, as there is no pre-cooking of the apples, they just need chopped into smallish pieces, some lemon juice (to stop them from browning), a little sugar and flour and away we go. I have added some caramel to these pies but you can leave out if you prefer to.
Choose nice, crunchy apples, as you want them to keep their shape while cooking and of course their flavour.
Chop the apples and place them in a bowl with the lemon juice, mix them around to make sure they are coated and then sprinkle in the sugar and flour and toss to cover, this will help with an juice that coves out the apples and help to make a bit of a sauce, so the pastry doesn’t get too soggy. (Don’t want soggy bottoms to our pies).
Roll out your rough puff pastry, I make my pastry as it is not easy to get good puff pastry here, but by all means use shop bought puff pastry.
Using a pastry/cookie cutter or just a glass/cup/plate, what ever you have to hand that is the right size for your pies.
Cut out 12 circles, (an even number, from the size of your pastry) crack the egg into a small bowl and beat it, then brush 6 of the circles with the beaten egg and then place a spoonful of the chopped apple mixture into the centre and then top with a small spoonful of caramel. (You can use shop bought caramel).
I had some salted caramel in the freezer from a previous recipe (Raymond Blanc, Chocolate fondants with salted caramel centre) it worked a treat here.
Cover the pies with the remaining pastry circles, taking care not to pierce the pastry with the apple pieces, pinch the edges of the pies with your fingers and then with the tips of a fork, just to make sure they are sealed.
Place them on a covered (grease proof paper) oven tray and brush again with the beaten egg and sprinkle with some castor sugar.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Please take care when you take the pies out the oven and don’t be tempted to ‘just take a bit’ as the apple and caramel filling with be piping hot…… allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes, enough time for you to put on the kettle, get your cup sorted, a little plate and then you can sit down and take a bit of your apple and caramel pies.
I do hope you enjoy them as much as we did.