Cakes & Bakes: Apple and raisin puff pastry tart

Slice of apple and raisin puff pastry tart with vanilla ice cream | H is for Home

We are ‘pudding’ rather than ‘starter’ people and always have a sweet ending to our daily evening meal.

Soaking raisins in tea | H is for Home

Sometimes, I’ve got to the day and haven’t had the time to make a dessert. At times like this, there are a few quick sweet dishes that can be rustled up in about half an hour. One such is jam and coconut slice which is one of Justin’s favourites from his childhood – and also great for using up pastry scraps.

Putting apple and raisin filling on to ready-made puff pastry | H is for Home

Another is an apple and raisin puff pastry tart – using a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, of course.

Putting ready-made puff pastry lid on apple and raisin tart and brushing with melted butter | H is for Home

All it takes is a couple of cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped; a handful of raisins (pre-soaking them for an hour makes them more juicy and adds another layer of flavour – strong tea, brandy or armagnac perhaps – so recommended but not a necessity if your in a rush); a pinch of ground spice and aforementioned packet of puff pastry.

Home-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart | H is for Home

Delicious served with cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Apple and raisin puff pastry tart
Serves 4
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g/2⅔oz raisins
  2. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples
  3. 20g/¾oz butter
  4. 50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
  5. ¼tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1 packet of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastryHome-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Soak the raisins in a cup of hot, strong black tea for at least an hour
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  3. Peel, core and rough chop the apples
  4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter
  5. Add the chopped apples, soaked raisins, sugar and ground cinnamon
  6. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the apple just begins to soften
  7. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into two equal lengths
  8. Grease a 20cm/8-inch round or square baking tin and lay one of the lengths of pastry evenly into the tin allowing some overlap over the edge
  9. Spoon the apple and raisin mixture evenly on to the puff pastry
  10. Lay the other length of pastry over the top and brush with a little melted butter
  11. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of golden granulated sugar over the top if desired
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the puff pastry is a lovely golden brown
Notes
  1. Serve with vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & sultana strudel

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Bowl of home-made apple & sultana strudel with ice cream | H is for Home

Some say life’s too short to stuff a mushroom, I say life’s too short to make home-made filo pastry. I’m more than happy to whizz up a quick batch of puff, shortcrust or hot water pastry – I think it tastes much better than shop bought. Filo, at least to me, is just that little bit too finicky and time-consuming to make from scratch.

Apple & sultana strudel ingredients

Peeled & cored Bramley apples

That’s why I picked up a pre-made pack of filo for my apple & sultana strudel.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Cooked apple & sultana strudel filling mixture

Yes, I know that filo (or phyllo) is Greek and apple strudel (or apfelstrudel) is German, but the former is the closest thing to the type of pastry traditionally used to encase the filling. Apparently you should be able to read a newspaper through it, it’s so thin!

Brushing melted butter between sheets of filo pastry

Spooning apple & sultana strudel filling mixture on to filo pastry

The filling is quick to make, I added sultanas to my apples, but you could try adding walnuts, dates or figs instead. The trickiest part is the assembly. Place the pastry onto a clean tea towel or baking parchment before filling and use it to help with rolling.

Uncooked apple & sultana strudel

Cooked apple & sultana strudel

It’s best served hot, and always with cream… or ice cream… or both!

Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb, apple & cardamom crumble

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Home-made rhubarb apple & cardamom crumble | H is for Home

In a recent post, we mentioned that Justin wasn’t a massive fan of fruit crumble – there was utter disbelief amongst some of our readers! We’ve talked through it over recent weeks – it’s good to get things out in the open. To be precise, he doesn’t like a soggy zone between the fruit & browned topping. The merest hint of uncooked, wet flour and there’s real distress.

Rhubarb apple cardamom crumble ingredients

Now we’ve identified the true cause of his phobia, we’ve been able to work through it together (with the help of a crumble counsellor) and have experimented with different methods. We don’t add any water to the fruit or pre-cook it any more – and top with thinner layers of crumble mix to produce crispy, crunchy perfection. There’s no stopping him now – strawberry, pear, plum – bring it on!

Cardamom pods

So, for this week’s Cakes & Bakes we’ve got a crumble – rhubarb, apple & cardamom crumble.

Sugared crumble fruit

The cardamom adds a distinctive and really interesting twist…

Crumble ingredients

…and chopped almonds in the topping also worked well.

Uncooked rhubarb apple & cardamom crumble | H is for Home

So, the only decision left to make – custard, cream or ice cream. It was a custard kind of day for us!!

Bowl of rhubarb apple & cardamom crumble with custard | H is for Home

Second helpings for Justin – we really have moved forward from those dark, crumble-free years!

Pin the recipe for later!

Simnel cupcakes
Yields 4
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar + extra for rolling
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the cake mixture
  1. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  2. 115g/4oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
  5. 300g/10½oz mixed dried fruit ( any of currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, glacé cherries)
  6. 1tsp mixed spice (I didn't have any, so I made my own mixture)
  7. 4tbsp apricot jam (I used some home-made plum jam)
  8. cocoa powder, for dustingHome-made simnel cupcakes ingredients
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For the marzipan
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
  2. Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a log and wrap in cling film until the cake mixture has been made
  3. Any unused marzipan will keep for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2. Line the base and sides of each tin with baking parchment
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy
  3. Add one of the eggs and combine until well mixed. Add the other egg with 1 tbsp of flour and mix again
  4. Stir in the rest of the four and all of the dried fruit
  5. Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out the marzipan. Cut out 8 circles about ½cm thick and the same diameter as the tins
  6. Divide half the cake mixture between the tins and level the tops. Put a marzipan rounds on top of each and cover with the rest of the cake mixture
  7. Bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean
  8. Allow the cakes to cool in their for 15 minutes before remove them to cool completely on a wire rack
  9. Trim the top of each cake with a sharp knife to make them flat
  10. Heat the jam and brush on the top of each cakes before cover each with the remaining marzipan rounds
  11. Make 36 mini balls with the remaining marzipan. Put 9 balls around the edge of each cake, using a little brush of jam to stick them in place
  12. Lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Charity Vintage: Apple Mac SE30

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Apple Mac SE30 for sale by & in support of Emmaus Bristol(Ends 1 Sept, 2014 11:30:57 BST)

We’re big Apple Mac fans at H is for Home – in fact, we never part with them. We have a vintage Apple Mac SE30, iMac G4 and MacBook stored in the loft; and currently use a MacBook Pro and iPad Mini… and that’s not to mention the iPhone, iPod and iPod Nano!

If you have the space, wouldn’t all the various models look great displayed on a long shelf, charting the history of computer technology? A veritable Mac museum!

Way back in 1989, an Apple Mac SE30 would have set you back a cool $6,500 US. This one, for sale by & on behalf of Emmaus Bristol*, is currently a mere £26.00.

Emmaus Bristol provides “A bed and a reason to get out of it”. They are a community of formerly homeless people who do not claim benefits but work full time in their own recycling workshop repairing and refurbishing donated goods such as furniture, bicycles, electrical goods and bric-a-brac and selling to the public at reasonable cost.



Charlie Brown decal

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Charlie Brown laptop decal from Vinyl Revolution

We were sent this Charlie Brown laptop decal by the folks at Vinyl Revolution.

Charlie Brown laptop decal from Vinyl Revolution

It was much easier to apply then we thought – there’s a short, helpful video on YouTube that guides you through the process. We’re very happy with the way it looks. We love Charlie Brown – the newspaper cartoons, the TV adaptations – and of course the amazing music – various Jazz scores by Vince Guaraldi. This particular image looks like Justin & Fudge –  staring at the view contemplatively – not saying much, just enjoying each other’s company. When the computer is turned on the Apple logo looks like the sun setting.

Charlie Brown laptop decal from Vinyl Revolution

Vinyl Revolution makes decals for many MacBook models and they also produce wall art, fridgewraps, vehicle decals and are happy to take bespoke orders too.

[disclosure*]

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & blackberry pie

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apple & blackberry pie with a slice removed

Every year around this time we are given a bucketful of homegrown apples from the neighbour of Justin’s parents. Because they’re generally tiny and malformed I’ve usually turned them into apple cheese (no peeling, no coring).

red, vintage wire bucket filled with small, misshapen apples

There were about half a dozen biggish ones this year, so I combined them with some of the remaining bramble offerings that I had stored in the freezer and made an apple & blackberry pie. I may have confessed in some previous post that I’m not the greatest pastry maker – but I was going to give it another go!

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & blackberry pie

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: serves 6-8

Cakes & Bakes: Apple & blackberry pie

Ingredients

  • For the pastry
  • 350g/12oz plain flour
  • 80g/3oz butter or margarine, cubed
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-5tbs cold water
  • For the filling
  • 450g/1lb apples (about 4 medium-sized apples)
  • 225g/½lb blackberries
  • 100g/3½oz granulated sugar
  • For the glaze
  • 3tbs milk
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar

Instructions

  1. Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve up as high as possible to give the flour an airing
  2. Add the cubed butter/margarine to the flour
  3. Using your fingertips, lightly & gently rub the pieces of fat into the flour, lifting your hands up high as you do this (again, to incorporate as much air as you can) and being as quick as possible
  4. When the mixture looks uniformly crumbly, start to sprinkle roughly 4 tablespoons of cold water all over
  5. Use a pastry blender or round-bladed knife to start the mixing
  6. Carefully add more water as needed, a little at a time, then finally bring the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth ball of dough that will leave the bowl clean (if there are any bits won't adhere to it, you need a spot more water)
  7. Divide the ball of dough in half and make 2 smaller balls
  8. Put the balls into a zip-lock bag or wrap in cling film or foil and put them in the fridge for half an hour while you prepare the filling
  9. At this point, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  10. Wash & drain the blackberries and peel & slice the apples into 1cm chunks. Mix them together and set aside until the pastry is ready to come out of the fridge
  11. Lightly grease a pie/flan dish (I save my butter wrappers for just this job!)
  12. Take one of the balls of pastry from the fridge and roll it out so that it's about 4cm/2 inches wider than the pie dish
  13. Carefully lift the rolled out pastry onto the pie dish using your rolling pin. Press the pastry down gently into the pie and up the sides
  14. Spoon the apples & blackberries onto the pastry and sprinkle the granulated sugar on top
  15. Take out the other ball of pastry from the fridge and roll it out so that it is large enough to form a lid on the pie
  16. Using a pastry brush, dampen the edge of the bottom pastry case with water
  17. Fix the pastry lid into position pressing it very firmly all round
  18. Trim the edges with a knife
  19. You can use these trimmings to make shapes to decorate the top of the pie - just affix them with a little brushing of water
  20. Brush the top of the pie with a little milk then sprinkle on a dusting of caster sugar which will give a crisp surface when the pie is baked
  21. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie for steam to escape
  22. Put the pie on to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes
  23. Allow to cool a little on a wire rack, slice and serve
  24. Serve with a little cream, vanilla ice cream or just on its own - although I think it's gorgeous with a dollop of clotted cream!

Notes

http://hisforhomeblog.com/cakes-bakes/cakes-bakes-apple-blackberry-pie/

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