Sunday, 26 September 2010

'Something Fruity for the Weekend Sir?'

The Bramley Apples are ripening up nicely, which means weekends have now been reclassified as: Baking Saturdays, and Preserving Sundays. The least scabby apples will be carefully boxed up and stored in the shed for the mice to enjoy, whilst the rest will need skillful processing of one sort or another.

Apple Pies and Crumbles are certainly popular in this household. On any given weekend Karen the Crumble (as she's known round here) vies with her arch nemesis Scone-Bread-Pie Mark for ascendancy in the kitchen. Karen the Crumble usually wins of course...

They're both classics of baking simplicity, Apples & Sugar, topped off with something Arable, and a Dairy component of your choice. Simples! The rules are that no other fruits or spices are allowed to spoil the pure appley flavours on show, other than Vanilla of course, in the form of that ultimate dream-topping, Custard.

You can have too much of a good thing though. Sometimes we like to 'Ring The Baking Changes', or indeed add a 'New Twist' to our Bramley Apple offering. So in a radical departure from the well ploughed furrow of Pie & Crumble with Custard, we thought we'd try something straight out of the 'Fusion' school of modern baking, an Apple & Custard Cake.

The inspiration for this delicious cake came from the risible BBC Good Food Magazine, via the lovely Rhi's Foodie World Blog. A Rhubarb & Custard Cake would probably have tasted even better, but our Rhubarb is now well past its best, and we like to Eat the Seasons whenever we can.

So, I par-cooked around 500g of Sliced Bramley Apples in the merest splash of water, with a good Dessert Spoon of Sugar. Meanwhile I hand whisked 250g Butter with 250g Sugar, 5 Small-Medium Molly Maid Eggs, a Tsp of Vanilla Extract, and 100g or so of Custard which I'd made up earlier. I gradually added 250g of Self Raising Flour with 1/2 tsp Baking Powder, whisking furiously until smooth, and very achey in the elbow area.

I then poured a third of the mix into a well-greased, loose bottomed (or spring-form) cake tin. Dotted the mix with a third of the Apple Slices and a few dollops of Custard. Then repeated, finishing with a lovely display of Apple and Custard on top and a sprinkle of Sugar for added crunch. I baked at 180C (160c Fan Oven) for 40 mins, then forgot to cover with foil before baking for another 20 mins. It tasted exactly how I'd imagined it would... Delicious.

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