Apple Recipes: Harvest Festival – A Surfeit of Juicy Apples
We had our own ‘Harvest Festival’ at home – a surfeit of juicy apples – the fruits of our labours. Or put simply, our Pink Lady apple tree, branches bowed down as if aching with the abundance of big shiny pinky-red juicy apples, was crying out for us to relieve it of its burden. Super shiny, crispy on the outside, streaky pink on the inside, just gorgeous red apples.
(An Apple Tree brought Erik and myself together – or rather, the story I told him of my favourite Apple Tree, a knarled, ancient fallen one which became my seat, my friend, my confidant – my place to sit and cry when my father died. A very special Apple Tree.)
So what could we do with all these juicy fruits?
After giving away bags full-to- overflowing to friends and neighbours, we were still left with big basketfulls. Out came the recipe books and files, for variations on Apple Sauce, Apple, Crab Apple and Rosemary Jelly, Apple Pies, Apple Juice and from Delicious magazine, Tartes Fines with Caramel Crisp.
Even Caramelised Apple Slices with Pork Chops. And that still left plenty to eat from our big fruit bowl.
To be fair, Erik is the one who makes jams, jellies and chutneys, so it was he who thumbed through his archives and found the recipe for Apple, Crab Apple (Oh yes, we had a surfeit of those, as well) and Rosemary Jelly, which is fantastic with cold meats, pork pies and pates. He’s also made the Apple Juice, which is very, very pink and tastes delicious.
We will be writing up all our Apple Recipes and Harvest Festival recipes within a week or two, and will link them back to this page. Hope you like them, especially the Tarte Fine with Caramel Crisp – the caramel comes out lovely and crunchy!!
Goes so well with Pork, Chicken, Goose and Duck, and can be served hot or cold. Use a spoonful in casseroles or gravies to give it a sweet and spicy lift. The apples that I used are the Pink Lady variety, and the flesh is pink, hence the pink sauce in the photograph of the Spicy Apple Sauce with Calvados.
- 2 lbs / 1 kg apples - all the same, or a mixture - peeled, cored and cut into even sized chunks.
- 6 fl ozs / 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 Lemon - zest and juice
- 3 ozs/90g sugar
- 1 tsp Chinese Five-Spice powder (or Cinnamon or Nutmeg if preferred)
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 3 fl oz Calvados
- Peel, core and cut the apples into roughly even-sized chunks and add to a large saucepan. Add the zest and juice of half a lemon.
- Add the water and place on a medium heat, and add sugar to the pan, stirring frequently until the apples are soft, approximately 20 minutes. Don't let the pan get too hot, or the apples will catch and burn.
- Turn the heat down, and mash the apples with a potato masher until the mixture is as smooth or rough as you like. (The masher really works well).
- Stir in the Chinese Five-Spice powder, sea salt and Calvados. Taste, and add more sugar if it is not sweet enough for you.
- Stir frequently to prevent catching, then raise the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil for one minute, then remove from the heat.
- If bottling, place warmed sauce into bottles and close lids. Store in a dark, cool place for up to a year - once opened, keep in the fridge.
- The Spicy Apple Sauce with Calvados can be thoroughly cooled, put in freezer containers or bags then frozen for up to 6 months.
I have adapted Erin's recipe to suit British and American measurements.
Preparation time: 15 minutes chopping
If preserving in bottles or kilner jars, have these already sterilised and waiting.
I chanced across this stunning recipe, Apple Tarte Fines with Caramel Crisp, in a recent Delicious magazine, and thought it would make a change from the Apple Pies and Tarts that I usually make with a glut of our gorgeous juicy pinky-red apples. It needs quite a lot of apple slices - use a bit more than it states, because the apples sunk down a bit when cooked. It wasn't too difficult to make, and it tasted superb. I've also frozen some - see below.
- 500g pack Puff Pastry (with Butter is best)
- Plain flour for dusting
- At least 4 crisp Red-skinned medium to large eating apples
- 100 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- A knob of melted butter
- 1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten to glaze
- 100g Apricot Jam, gently warmed & passed through a sieve, to glaze
- Double cream, lightly whipped.
- Good quality Vanilla Icecream (optional - but we love it)
- Preheat conventional oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. For AGA place wire shelf on floor of roasting oven.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut out 6 x 12cm (5 inch) circles. Put on a baking sheet, prick all over with a fork and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Quarter the apples, core and slice very finely (leaving the skin on).
- Bring the pastry circles out of fridge, sprinkle evenly with caster sugar then top with overlapping layers of the thinly sliced apples (lots of them), leaving a 1 cm (1/2 inch) border around the edge. Brush the apples with melted butter then sprinkle them with more sugar. Brush the pastry edge with more egg.
- Bake for approx. 15 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from the oven and brush the apples with the apricot glaze. Set aside.
- Gently heat the 100g sugar with 100ml of water in a pan until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and bubble for about 5 minutes until it has thickened and turned a dark golden caramel colour - this can happen suddenly, so watch it carefully. (I always use a stainless steel pan when making caramel, not a non-stick pan, as the sugar gets incredibly hot).
- Using a teaspoon, drizzle the caramel over the top of the tarts, then leave to set and get crisp (it does this very quickly). If you want to make it special, get two forks and play around with the caramel making swirly fun pieces, or go one step further and using an upturned bowl, make a cage in caramel to top the tartes.
- I love to serve these with a strong Vanilla ice-cream, or thick cream
Cooking Time (including chilling): 30 minutes
I made double the amounts, and froze these tartes in a box. I stopped before I made the caramel and put a note on the box in the freezer for the amounts to make the caramel for when I serve up the tartes. Defrost for three hours in the fridge before reheating for about 10 mins whilst making the caramel crisp. Enjoy - we certainly did. And the tartes looked just like they did in Delicious magazine. Amazing!