20 May 2012

the nigh of fall

It struck me the other day that autumn was nearing it's end and that I haven't baked a single apple pie or crumbles and I haven't collected any acorns either. While apples are available all year round, it just feels more special to use them during the autumn season. Pumpkins, sweet potatoes and mandarins are still on my list to-do! But I guess, I'll have to wait until winter rolls in.

These are usually made with a frozen puff pastry base but, I thought the chilly weather was perfect for making pastry as it is easier to handle without creating a sticky mess. Either way would be great though (instructions at bottom)!


Sweet shortcrust pastry:
120g plain flour, sifted
35g almond meal
30g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
50g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg, from the fridge

For the filling:
2 royal gala apples, washed, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tb brown sugar
yellow-box honey, as required
sliced almonds, as required
beaten egg

For the pastry: Put flour, almond meal, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and process until dough resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and process until dough begins to form. Remove dough from the processor and gently knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm (1 - 2 hours or overnight).

Meanwhile, prepare the apples and soak them in a mixture of lemon juice and water to prevent them from oxidising. 

Roll out dough to 3mm thick and place inside a lightly floured tart tin*. Drain the liquid from the apple slices. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the pastry. Overlap the apple slices around the outside of the pastry, working your way inwards. Finish with a small row of apples slices in the middle. Squeeze honey in a circular motion around the tart. Fold over pastry hanging from the sides, overlapping where necessary. 

Brush pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with almond slices. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until pastry is cooked and golden brown.

Cut and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

*If you don't have a tart tin, roll out pastry into a rectangular shape or if you are using frozen puff pastry, arrange the apple slices in overlapping rows instead.


I find that store bought muesli lacks the amount of seeds, nuts and dried fruit that I want so I prefer to make my own. Here I've combined these maple and brown sugar pecans into a new batch of autumn-inspired muesli which are adapted from here. No dried fruit this time, but chopped pieces of dried apple or pear would be perfect. This recipe makes one large jar.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit
handful of sliced almonds 
handful of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tb vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Spread out evenly on a baking tray. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

When cooled, stir in 1/2 - 1 cup of maple & brown sugar pecans. Be sure to refrigerate them in an airtight jar to retain their crisp.