The month of May in New Zealand is the dregs of Autumn (Fall), the ground is carpeted with decaying leaves as the trees embrace nudism. The earth is starting to knuckle down for the Winter season. The last of the summer produce looks pathetic – the tomatoes are clinging to dying vines and the chillies are begging to be harvested before the killer frost arrives. On the bright side we have loads of mandarins and lemons and the grapefruit is gearing up to supplement the meagre fruit supplies over winter. And the silverbeet is enthusiastically taking over the straggly garden so we will eat some greens this winter.
The fruit & vegetable bin holds a good quantity of small red eating apples. These apples have been overlooked in favour of all the bright Autumnal fruits so while these apples are past their eating best, they aren’t yet chook fodder.
Armed with some sugar & butter and a heavy skillet, these apples are about to become Sunday night pudding tea. A lot of apple recipes begin with peel & core the apples but unless the skin is heavily blemished, I don’t peel the apples. It saves work and you get to keep all the good nutrients that hide just beneath the skin. Read an interesting article on the Nutritional Apple Peel here.
This is a really easy pudding and can be chopped and changed according to your garden’s produce. If you have no apples, try it with pears or feijoas. In summer, use apricots or peaches. The sponge topping can be changed to a cobbler (scone or biscuit) or crumble topping and served right way up. Alternatively, place a layer of flaky pastry over the par-cooked apples and finish in the oven for a Tarte Tatin. The caramelised apples can also be eaten as a simple fruit side with ice-cream or pancakes.
Served with vanilla ice-cream or berry frozen yoghurt, this pudding would be improved with a hefty pouring of custard. I love custard and will have it with almost any dessert. The Anster suggests a pool of cream would also do very nicely thanks (but then he would pour cream on almost any breakfast or dessert).
3 T butter
5 -6 small sweet apples, cored & sliced
1 T raw (turbinado) sugar
2 T raw (turbinado) sugar
½ t ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 small lemon
1/3 cup apple cider
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add apples and sprinkle with the first measure of sugar.
Sauté, stirring, for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle second measure of sugar, cinnamon & lemon zest.
Toss apples gently over medium heat until sugar begins to caramelise.
Add cider to the pan, and simmer until it is reduced by half.
Top with sponge topping (see below) and bake at 180ºC for 35-40 minutes.
Remove pudding from the oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Invert pudding onto a large flat platter or dish and serve while warm.
Serve with lashings of hot pouring custard and vanilla ice-cream.
125g softened butter
½ cup white sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
2 t baking powder
¼ cup milk
Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg, and beat well. Sift in flour and baking powder. Add milk and vanilla extract then fold the mixture together.
Dollop sponge topping over the par-cooked apples. Don’t worry if there are gaps, they will disappear in the cooking.