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Anna Jones’s maple toffee apple and pear crisp

This is everything I want in an autumn pudding. Melting orchard fruits spiked with ginger and cardamom and a topping that’s half crisp and half crumble, which reminds me of oatmeal cookies. I eat this with thick Greek yogurt mixed with a little honey and vanilla or, if it’s really cold, good hot vanilla custard.

Serves 4-6

  • apples 3
  • pears 3
  • maple syrup 2 tbsp
  • prunes 75g
  • dried figs 50g
  • candied ginger, 2 pieces, finely chopped
  • unwaxed lemon 1
  • vanilla pod 1, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla paste)
  • ground cinnamon ½ tsp
  • ground cardamom ½ tsp

For the topping

  • rolled oats 100g
  • ground almonds 50g
  • butter or coconut oil 100g
  • light brown sugar 75g
  • white spelt flour 100g
  • salt a small pinch

To serve

Greek or coconut yogurt whipped with a little vanilla and honey

Preheat your oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

Peel the apples and pears and roughly slice them. Toss them with the maple syrup in a roasting tray and cover the tray with foil. Roast for 15 minutes in the hot oven, then remove the foil and roast for a further 10 minutes until the edges catch and caramelise.

Meanwhile, roughly chop 50g of the prunes and all the figs, finely chop the ginger, and place the whole lot into the bottom of a 24cm round (or equivalently sized) baking dish. Grate over the lemon zest and add the juice of ½ the lemon, add the vanilla and spices and mix everything together. Cover the dish with a clean tea towel and leave to one side.

Make the topping by rubbing the oats, almonds, butter, sugar, flour and salt together with your fingers. It will feel wetter than a crumble topping and you’ll be left with larger pieces of butter, but you should have a very rough crumbly dough after about 4 minutes. Chop the remaining prunes roughly and mix them through too.

When your apples are ready, mix them with the fruit and spices in the baking dish, then sprinkle over the topping. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until deep golden.

I serve mine with some Greek or coconut yogurt, whipped with a little vanilla and honey.

From The Modern Cook’s Year: Over 250 vibrant vegetable recipes to see you through the seasons by Anna Jones (Fourth Estate, £26)

Apple Gingerbread Cake

Elise’s Apple Gingerbread Cake with some modifications by Jean
I think it was originally from Canadian Living

Ingredients

  • 13/4 cup (425ml) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 13/4 cup (425ml) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup fancy molasses  I use about ¼ to 1/3 cup corn syrup topped to 1 cup with molasses
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon plus ½ tsp each of salt, ground cloves and nutmeg  I use less salt and cinnamon: ca. 1 tsp cinnamon plus 1 tsp mixed spice* and freshly ground nutmeg

Method

Set oven at 350F I use 325F on fan setting

Bring apple sauce to boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat, whisk in molasses and allow to cool but remember it will pour more easily when slightly warm.

Beat eggs in large bowl, beat in sugar, continuing until pale and thickened. Gradually beat in oil until blended.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Stir into egg mixture alternately with apple sauce mixture. Ensure any lumps of flour are properly mixed in.

Scrape into 10 inch (3 litre) Bundt pan. I use a non-stick one lightly oiled.

Bake at 350 (325 fan) for about an hour until edges firm to touch and centre springs back. Fan setting cooks in 50 to 55 minutes.

* Mixed spice is a standard spice mixture available ready mixed in UK supermarkets. The precise mix appears to vary but I would blend cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice and maybe caraway. Some mixes contain ginger but I always have that as a separate spice anyway.

Chocolate Oat and Nut Bars

Adapted from Chocolate Nourish Bars in “gather A Dirty Apron Cookbook” by David Robertson

Ingredients

  • 100g Hazelnuts*
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 100g chopped pecan nuts
  • 170g unsalted butter**
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 300g chocolate chips 70+% cocoa 
  • ¼ cup hazelnut butter*
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp Kosher (ie large flake) salt
  • 17g cocoa powder

Set oven to 350F. Toast hazelnuts on a baking tray until skins beginning to fall off and nuts golden. Transfer to cool plate so skins can be rubbed off between sheets of kitchen paper towel. Put oats on tray and start toasting before adding pecan nuts which brown more quickly. Nuts and oats should be golden. When hazelnuts are cool and skinned, chop coarsely.

In a heat proof bowl combine maple syrup, chocolate, butter, nut butter, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder. Place bowl over gently simmering water and stir until chocolate melted. Or use a heated bowl set to 120F. Remove from heat and add toasted oats and nuts, mixing in with a spatula.

Line a 9 inch square metal baking tin with parchment paper and pour chocolate mixture into it, smoothing to ensure no air bubbles are trapped. Chill in fridge for several hours or preferably overnight. Cut into small rectangles and store in fridge.  NB it is quite difficult to cut – use a sharp knife, possibly run under the hot tap and dried.

I think this would work just as well with mixed nuts.

*recipe uses sliced almonds (and almond butter) which are toasted with the oats

** recipe calls for coconut oil which I used first try but I think unsalted butter will work just as well if not better as it stays firmer at a slightly higher temperature. The butter must be unsalted as salted butter has a higher moisture content.

The original recipe uses twice my quantities and a pan 9 by 13 inches.

Chocolate orange GF cake

NB see the note about the amount of ganache, probably half quantity would be sufficient

** Chocolate orange truffle cake (Thomasina Miers)

A layered cake of citrussy zing and chocolate truffle ganache.

Prep 15 min
Cook 45 min
Chill 4 hr
– Serves 10 – 12

Torte

  • 2 oranges
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder (gluten free if needed)
  • 3 eggs
  • Candied orange, to top(optional) I didn’t bother, it’s quite enough with the orange base

Ganache try half quantities

  • 300g dark chocolate, plus extra to shave(optional)
  • 3 tbsp liquid glucose white corn syrup can be substituted
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau, Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • 400ml double cream

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Put the oranges in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes to remove the bitterness from the pith. While these are cooking, line a 22cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper and cover the outside with foil to stop any leaks.

Once the oranges have simmered, take them out of the water, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and put in a food processor with the caster sugar, almonds and baking powder. Whizz for a minute, add the eggs and process for a minute longer – a few lumps are OK. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 12-14 minutes, until pale golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, break up the chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl resting above (but not touching) a pan of barely simmering water. Add the liquid glucose and orange liqueur, and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted, set aside.

Beat the cream until it has slightly thickened (but not so it’s stiff), fold half of this into the slightly cooled chocolate, mix gently, then fold that back into the remaining cream. Pour the mixture over the sponge, tap the tin gently to even out the filling, or use a palate knife, and refrigerate for at least four hours.

This amount of ganache seemed too much and I used only about 2/3 on the cake, reserving the remainder for serving with ice cream as she suggests.

To serve, run a hot palette knife around the torte and loosen. Transfer to a plate and decorate with shaved chocolate, or candied orange.

I found that it freezes well: cut into serving pieces on waxed paper, freeze on a metal baking tray, when frozen wrap in the paper followed by cling film. Store in a box in the freezer. To thaw: unwrap while still frozen because the ganache does not freeze completely solid  and leave at room temperature or store in fridge.