Tag Archives: apples

Little Rhubarb and Apple Turnovers

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Every year, I look forward to the appearance of rhubarb in the shops; I absolutely love baking with it and experimenting with new recipes.

When I was growing up, there was always  an abundance of rhubarb at home, as we had plenty in the garden.  We started making turnovers with my mother as an alternative to rhubarb tart. 

Initially we were using shortcrust pastry, and making them into large triangles. I have evolved the recipe over time to the current, more indulgent version, but you can easily sustitute the puff pastry for shortcrust, and vary the size and shape of the turnovers. 

 You will need (for 40-45 turnovers):

For the rough puff pastry:
500 g plain flour
500 g cold butter, diced
2 tsp salt
250 ml very cold water

For the filling:
40 g butter
500 g rhubarb, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp golden caster sugar

For glazing:
1 egg yolk, beaten

Method:

Make the pastry:
Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle where you will put the butter.

With your fingertips, lightly rub the flour into the butter until you end up with very small pieces of butter and a sandy consistency.

Gradually add some of the water, mixing as you go, until you have an elastic, coherent dough (you probably won’t need all of the water). Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 30 min.

On a well-floured board or worktop, roll the pastry out to a 40 cm x 20 cm rectangle. Fold it in 3, then give it a 1/4 turn. Roll it out again to a rectangle, fold as before, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 min.

Repeat the last step in full, then rest the pastry in the fridge for another 20 min. It is now ready to use.

Meanwhile, make the filling:
In a large frying pan or sauté pan with a lid, melt the butter on a medium heat. Add the apple and the rhubarb and cook for about a minute. Add the vanilla and sugar, stir, then turn the heat down and cover.

Cook for about 15 min, or until soft and the rhubarb starts falling apart. Leave to cool.

Assemble the turnovers:
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/  180ºC fan/ Gas 6.

Cut the pastry in half, leave 1 half in the fridge until needed and roll the other one out on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about 4 mm.

Stamp out as many circles as you can with a 10 cm fluted cutter. Spoon a little bit of filling in the middle of each circle, about 2 tsp should do.

Brush the edge of each circle with a bit of water, fold the circle in half and press down along the edge with your fingers to seal.

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Re-roll the trimmings and repeat, then roll out the other half of the pastry. Keep going until you run out of filling.

Transfer to a floured, non-stick baking sheet. Brush some egg yolk over the top, and bake for about 12 min or until well-risen and golden brown.

 

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Tart Up Your Cake: Cake Tatin

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I love Tarte Tatin. I think it is just about the best apple dessert in the known universe. I don’t know about you, but there is something about apples and caramel that makes me go a bit weak at the knees.

I also happen to be quite partial to cake, as you may have noticed from some of my previous posts. So it is only natural that I would try and come up with what would be the love child of saucy Ms Tatin and naughty Mr Cake.

This recipe is the result of a lot of trial and error. The trick was to figure out how to incorporate the caramel element into an apple cake.

I knew I couldn’t use a similar technique to Tarte Tatin: lining the cake tin with caramel wouldn’t work, as a cake needs baking for longer than a tart, and the result would just be a burnt, blackened mess.

I toyed with the idea of filling the cooled cake with some toffee cream, but this would just be a layer cake, and although probably delicious, this wasn’t what I was going for.

An attempt at caramelising the top of the cake at the end of the baking time wasn’t very successful: it looked good, but the taste wasn’t what I had in mind.

I realised that I needed the caramel to be baked in somehow, so the apples would take on the toffee flavour, like in Tarte Tatin. But I was a bit stuck as to how exactly I could achieve this.

And then I came across a recipe by Edd Kimber, for salted caramel brownies, where a salted caramel filling is baked between two layers of brownie dough.

I knew it wouldn’t work in quite the same way with apple cake, as the density of the batter is different to the one of brownie batter, and the caramel filling would end up mixing with the bottom layer during baking. And, guess what? This was exactly what I needed!

The next trial was a resounding success, and the addition of the butter and almond glaze ensured the top of the cake stayed moist and golden. So, with thanks to Mr Kimber, here is the recipe!

You will need:

For the salted caramel:
175g caster sugar (unrefined if possible)
A large pinch of sea salt flakes
150 ml double cream
10 g unsalted butter, softened.

For the cake:
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 apples
6 eggs of about 60 g each
360 g self-raising flour (or the same weight as the eggs; the same goes for the rest of the ingredients)
360 g caster sugar
360 g butter, softened

For the glaze:
100 g butter
3 tbsp sugar
50 g ground almonds

Method:

Make the caramel: in a large, non-stick frying pan, heat up the sugar over a medium heat until it melts.

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Try and avoid stirring at this stage as it would crystallise. Keep a close eye on it, and as soon as it takes on a dark copper colour, take it off the heat and add the salt and half the cream. Be very careful as it will bubble up fiercely, and caramel burns are very painful!

When the mixture has settled a bit, add the rest of the cream and the butter. (If your caramel is lumpy, put it back on a low heat and stir until smooth). Cool in a glass jug or bowl.

Peel the apples, then dice two of them and slice the other two.
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Preheat the oven to 190 C/ fan180 C/ gas 5-6. Butter a rectangular cake tin of 31 x 18 cm, line with baking paper, then lightly butter the baking paper (a tin with a removable bottom, or even better, with removable sides is ideal here; I use a Silverwood multi-size square tin which works brilliantly Alan Silverwood).

Make the cake batter: in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, then the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add half of the flour, mix thoroughly, then add the other half.

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Assemble the cake: Pour half the batter into the tin, then scatter the apple cubes on top, and press lightly with your fingers to make them “sink” a bit.

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Pour the caramel over the cake batter, being careful to avoid the sides. Try and spread it as evenly as you can, but it doesn’t need to be too neat.

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Now pour the rest of the batter over this, make sure you cover the caramel completely. Decorate the top with the apple slices, and push them in a bit.

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Put the cake tin into your preheated oven, and prepare the glaze. Gently melt the butter, then mix in the sugar and ground almonds. When the cake has been baking for 20 min, quickly pull it out of the oven, spread the glaze all over, and put in back into the oven. Do this as quickly as you can to avoid losing too much heat.

Leave the cake in for another 30 to 40 min (so 50 min to 1h in total), or until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out dry. If you think your cake is browning too quickly, cover the top with foil and continue baking.

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Cool in the tin for at least 20 min, then carefully remove it from the tin, remove the paper, and cool on a rack. Be very careful as this cake is very moist, and therefore quite fragile!

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