It’s been a bumper year for apples, thanks to early rain and lots of sun. So here’s a SUPER EASY, dump-it-all-in-together-in-a-bowl rustic apple cake, to use up a few. It also involves cider – why wouldn’t it? – but you can easily replace that with liqueur, apple juice or even just milk.
For the cake:
100g salted butter
125g self-raising flour
125g golden caster sugar
50g roughly chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)
1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 large free-range egg, beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake or pudding dish.
Soften the butter until almost melted (5 second blasts in the microwave works well).
Dump all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir together well.
Spoon into the tin and smooth over.
Bake for around 30 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Drink the rest of the cider.
Cool for a few minutes in the tin, before turning out onto a wire rack.
Serve warm with clotted cream OR with a hunk of cheddar cheese.
I’ve been obsessed with blackberry and bay ever since reading about it in Bee Wilson’s wonderful article about jam for the Financial Times. There, she wrote about London Borough of Jam in Hackey, where owner Lillie O’Brien makes a blackberry and bay jam that is “dark, rich and full of back-to-school autumnal promise”. It was only then I remembered that I had read about blackberry and bay as a flavour combination before, in Olivia Potts’ Vintage Chef column. (She makes blackberry and bay jam filled doughtnuts. Aaaaah).
The joy of a galette is that they are super easy to make, and even easier to stick in the oven and forget about for half an hour. The bay leaf adds a subtle flavour; a kind of grown-up, botanical muskiness to the jammy berries.
It’s also incredibly easy to make this recipe vegan, as most ready-made pastry uses vegetable fat. Just replace the egg-glaze with nut or oat milk.
1 packet of ready-made shortcrust pastry
100g whole or blanched hazelnuts
400g blackberries, defrosted if frozen
1 large cooking apple
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
6 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 dried bay leaves
1 egg or 2 tbsp of milk, to glaze
clotted cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
Place the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan and toast over a low heat for around 3-4 minutes. Keep your eye on them; they burn easily.
If they still have their skins, tip into a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove. It doesn’t matter if some stay on.
Use a hand blender or spice grinder to grind the nuts (I like to leave a few chunky bits) and set aside.
Peel, core and roughly slice the apple. Place into a bowl with 200g of the blackberries, 4 tbsp of the muscovado sugar and the mixed spice. Toss together and set aside.
Place the remaining blackberries in a pan, along with 3 tbsp of water, the caster sugar and the bay leaves. Place over a low heat, stirring regularly for around 8-10 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and blackberries have broken down to form a compote-like texture. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To assemble the galette, roll the pastry on a floured surface into circle slightly larger than a dinner plate. Transfer to the baking tray.
Scatter all but 1 tbsp of the hazelnuts across the pastry, stopping about an inch from the edge, then scatter over 1 tbsp of muscovado sugar.
Heap the apples and blackberries into the middle of the pastry.
Take the bay leaves out of the compote, then spoon it over the mound of fruit.
Fold the edges of the galette into the centre, leaving a hole in the middle.
Brush the pastry with beaten egg or milk, then scatter with the remaining hazelnuts and sugar.
Bake in the oven for around 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown and the fruit is bubbling.
Serve straight away, with a large scoop of clotted cream.
This recipe first appeared in the November edition of my newsletter. Head over here to subscribe for exclusive recipes, news, photos, sneak previews of books, and more.