Autumnal Spiced Apple and Plum Pie

DSC05157 DSC05163DSC05155

There’s something about the change in the weather that immediately has me reaching for a cookery book. After  a bit of tinkering I came up with this, my spiced apple and plum pie which is to me epitomizes everything that’s good about Autumn.

This is the best season for plums and mixed with the apples and spices they combine to make a pie that’s perfect for a winter treat, and one that always proves a hit with my family and friends! Not  to mention that there’s something just so comforting about a slice of pie with custard of ice cream that makes it the food equivalent of a hug, and the perfect medicine to chase those winter blues away.

What You’re Going To Need

DSC05127

For the Short Crust Pastry

255g plain flour

Pinch of salt

140g hard butter

6 tsp cold water

For the Filling

5 Cooking Apples

2 Sweet Apples (I used Braeburns but any sweet apple would be just as good)

6 Plums (You can add slightly more or less depending on taste)

2 1/2 Tbsp of Cornflour

175g of Sugar (I prefer golden caster as it gives it a caramely taste)

155g of Brown Sugar (I used Demerara which is also perfect for giving a caramel flavour)

2tsp of Cinnamon

1 tsp Nutmeg (About 2 good pinches)

Milk to glaze

Then it’s time to get down to business!

For the pastry I cheated and sifted my flour and salt into my food processor and added the butter until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor just use your fingers instead, they work just as well! Slowly add the water until the mixture is combined then tip the pastry out onto a floured surface and lightly knead. Then clingfilm it and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool and relax the dough.

Then it’s time to prepare the filling. After peeling the apples core them and the plums, then loosely chop them and throw them into a deep saucepan. Add the sugar, cornflour and spices until the fruit has softened and the juices have combined to form a caramely liquid. Once the liquid had thickened and the fruit has softened take the fruit off the heat.

WP_20150922_11_06_59_Pro

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and remove a third for the topping. I prefer my pies to be open topped so I only removed about a quarter but feel free to decorate however you want! Roll out the pastry and line your tin (tip using the rolling pin to help you lift the pastry makes it much easier), then line it on top with greaseproof paper and baking beads, and pop it in the over for about 10 minutes. As you can see I didn’t have any baking beads so I improvised with linseed but rice works just as well.

DSC05140

Once it’s slightly coloured, remove the beads and paper from the pastry and glaze it with your milk. Cook it for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is fully dried out.

Meanwhile you can roll out the lid or decoration for your pie, and once it’s out of the oven you can fill and top it! I like to use a slotted spoon as it’s great to remove the excess liquid that can make your pie soggy, then I add my lid or decoration and bake it for 40-45 minutes. But make sure if you’re using a lid you mark a hole in the top to let the steam escape.

WP_20150922_11_07_48_Pro

But then voila, an autumnal spiced pie, perfect for those cold winter evenings, all that’s left is to serve it up!Af.

DSC05209DSC05224

I hope you enjoyed this post as I’m really trying to get back to posting recipes as I really enjoy it and Winter recipes are some of my favourites to make. I would love to know if any of you give it a go and what you think, or even your favourite recipes as I’m always on the look out for new ones!

Christmas Baking

WP_20141121_22_02_10_ProWP_20141121_22_09_29_Pro WP_20141121_22_02_37_ProWP_20141121_22_08_43_Pro  As a devotee of The Great British Bake Off and an aspirational baker myself, Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year to whip out that mixing bowl and get baking. There’s nothing I find more homely than a house that is full of the smell of baking and seeing as our student house celebrates Christmas a little earlier than usual, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my favourite Christmas recipes with you to practise just in time for Santa.

My first is a chocolate chip cookie recipe which is a firm favourite for me as it’s what Santa received from our house every year when I was younger. My personal favourite are those gooey, chewy versions so I borrowed this recipe from Tanya Burr’s website,adapting it slightly for a little less chocolate as I didn’t want too much added sweetness. Not to mention it’s incredibly adaptable so you can include any of your favourite chocolates that you like!

WP_20141121_22_02_56_Pro

My second recipe had to of course be gingerbread, as what is Christmas without gingerbread?! Although I am a great favourite of the gingerbread house, I tend to cheat nowadays in favour of the ikea flatpack version but I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the original cookies themselves. Thanks to this cookie recipe from the good old BBC themselves and some cookie cutters from the oh so glamorous Poundland, I ended up with these beauties.WP_20141121_22_08_54_Pro

If you give either of these a go or have any of your own traditional Christmas bakes let me know as I’m always on the lookout for some new offerings to leave for Father Christmas under the tree!

Don’t be frowny, make some Brownies!

WP_20140806_12_39_27_Pro

WP_20140806_12_40_55_Pro

WP_20140806_12_52_34_Pro

WP_20140806_13_00_17_Pro

Brownies must be the ultimate guilty pleasure food, I mean think about it, when have brownies ever been offered and someone’s said no? Never I bet, and if you answered yes then maybe get that person checked out as they are definitely an alien. Brownies are the type of food where there’s a type for everyone, whether you like them gooey or firm, from dark to white chocolate,with Oreos or nuts, brownies are the easiest pleasing bake there is.
Mine are adapted from Sam Stern’s book (who is great for simple, tasty dishes that aren’t too intimidating or contain crazy ingredients), and his “truffle bars” provide the most gorgeous gooey snacks.

I substituted all dark chocolate for half and half with some milk chocolate, just because I prefer a slightly less rich taste that you get from all dark chocolate, but without the sweetness that all milk gives. I also used slightly less vanilla extract as I was using vanilla paste which is much more potent than the liquid form. This is something I would definitely recommend being careful about as depending on the quality of the vanilla extract you’ll find you might need slightly more or less than suggested. But the good news is that this gives you the perfect excuse to taste some of the mixture as you go along!

WP_20140825_20_25_07_Pro

WP_20140825_20_12_58_Pro

So there they are! While the original recipe suggests some piped icing over the top I prefer them with a light dusting of icing sugar or even with some fresh berries and vanilla ice cream for a delicious chocolatey, refreshing pudding. I hope you all like the recipe and if there’s anything you’d like  to see me bake in the future then comments would be much appreciated!

Gemma xx