Summer may be over but now’s the time to enjoy crisp walks, cosy scarves and warming, stick-to-your-ribs dishes like these…
Delicious Apple Crumble
- 400g bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm chunks
- Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 225g caster sugar, plus extra for dredging
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g ground almonds
For the apple crumble topping
- Knob of butter
- 2 eating apples (we used pink lady), cored and sliced
- 30g butter, chilled and cubed
- 50g plain flour
- 30g soft brown sugar
- Pinch ground cinnamon
You’ll also need…
Deep 23cm springform cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Toss the bramley apples with the lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the 225g butter, caster sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour with each.
2. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the remaining flour and the cinnamon, baking powder and ground almonds. Drain the apple pieces well, pat dry with kitchen paper, then stir into the cake batter (discard any juice left in the bowl).
Spoon the batter into the tin, gently level, then bake for 45 minutes.
3. As soon as the cake goes in the oven, make the topping. Melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the sliced apples and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning, to caramelise. Leave to cool. In a bowl, rub the butter and flour between your fingertips to a coarse breadcrumb-like mixture. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, then toss with the cooled apple.
4. After the cake has had its 45 minutes in the oven, take it out, then sprinkle the crumble over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes. The cake is ready when the crumble topping is evenly golden brown and the cake feels firm to the touch.
5. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and put on a serving plate. Serve warm or leave to cool (see make ahead).
Vacherin pithivier with caramelised onions and bacon
- Medium (450g) vacherin, slightly underripe
- 70g pancetta cubes
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, picked from the stalks
- 200ml dry white wine
- 2 x 320g all-butter puff pastry sheets
- 1 free-range egg, beaten, to wash and glaze
- Plain flour for dusting
1. Remove the top of the box from the cheese, then snip away the box around the sides and peel off the thin wooden spruce coating from the skin of the cheese. Keep it on its wooden base and put in the freezer while you prepare the other bits.
2. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and fry the pancetta until crisp. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions and thyme to the pan, turn the heat to medium high and cook, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes until the onions are soft and well caramelised. Turn the heat back up, pour in the wine and bubble until almost completely evaporated. Put in a bowl to cool. Stir in the cooked pancetta.
3. Unroll a pastry sheet, keeping it on its paper, and cut out a rough 22cm diameter circle, then put it, still on its paper, on a baking sheet. Take the vacherin out of the freezer and invert it onto the middle of the pastry. Ease off the wooden base, then top the cheese with the onion mixture, patting it down and making sure none topples onto the pastry.
4. Brush beaten egg over the pastry in a 2-3cm border around the cheese. Roll out the other pastry sheet on a floured surface to 2-3cm wider so it’s big enough to cover the filling. Drape it over the cheese, pressing it down onto the egg-washed pastry edge to make a 3cm lip around the cheese. Squeeze out any air as you go. Once sealed, trim around the 3cm border with a knife to form a neat circle, then press a fork around the edge of the pastry to decorate the lip and completely seal the pithivier. Brush all over with beaten egg and chill for 30 minutes (or in the freezer for 10). Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas
5. Brush the firmed-up pastry all over with beaten egg again, then score a pattern of curved lines on top using the tip of a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut through the pastry – just let the weight of the knife score the surface. Bake for 30-35 minutes until dark golden and glossy. Transfer to a lipped platter (to catch the runny cheese), leave to stand for 10 minutes, then slice to serve. Depending on its ripeness the cheese may be quite runny, so have a spoon ready to scoop it up. Serve with a crisp green salad
The ultimate French onion soup
- 75g unsalted butter
- 8 large or 12 medium onions, thickly sliced
- 2 bay leaves, a few fresh parsley stalks and a few fresh thyme sprigs tied together with string to make a bouquet garni, plus a few extra thyme leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1½ tbsp light muscovado sugar
- 250ml dry white wine, plus a glug
- 50ml brandy or cognac, plus an extra splash
- 1.7 litres best quality fresh beef stock
- 12 baguette slices
- 250g gruyère cheese, grated
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan that has a lid, then add the onions and bouquet garni with a generous amount of salt. Stir to coat the onions in the butter, then put the lid on and cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes to make sure the onions don’t catch.
2. After this time they should be reduced in volume, very soft and a pale golden brown colour. Once they get to this stage, remove the lid and discard the bouquet garni. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, over a medium-high heat for a few minutes until the garlic aroma softens, then add the sugar and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the onions are a rich golden colour and taste caramelised. You need to get them right here, as once you add the wine they won’t caramelise any further. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
3. When the onions are well browned and caramelised, turn the heat up high and pour in the 250ml wine and 50ml brandy/cognac. Bubble briskly for 3-4 minutes to reduce the liquid, then pour in the stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface, then season.
4. Meanwhile, put the baguette slices in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until almost completely crisp, but not too coloured. Remove and set aside, then turn the grill to its highest setting.
5. At the end of the simmering time, add the extra glug of wine and splash of brandy/cognac and taste again, seasoning if needed. Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls and top each with 2 baguette slices. Scatter over some cheese and a few thyme leaves, then put the bowls under the grill to melt the cheese.(If you don’t have heatproof bowls, transfer the soup to a large heatproof dish or pan, top with all the baguette slices and scatter over the cheese and thyme, then put the whole thing under the grill.) Serve immediately.
Source: Delicious Magazine