Donal Skehan

Sticky Maple, Apple & Ginger Cake

The Method

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Big Ball Of Autumn Fun…

So I admit it, after all my complaining about the summer coming to and end, I have finally embraced the autumn! I’ve been out picking blackberries, baking up a storm with lots of autumnal ingredients and best of all, I’ve been making soup. One of the biggest lessons you learn when you cook a lot is to understand the seasonality of produce. As a home cook, learning to buy fruits and vegetables which are in season is not only ultimately satisfying but you also get the pick of the crop! At the moment there is so much in season to get excited about; wild mushrooms, blackberries, apples, elderberries are just some of the key ingredients you should try to make the best of over the next few weeks.

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Tarte Tatin with Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

 This recipe comes from the fantastic Ms. marmites AKA Kerstin Rogers cookbook “Supperclub”

Serves 4-6
Juice of 2 lemons
1kg (2lb 3oz)/about 8–10 eating apples (such as Cox,Russet or Braeburn)
125–175g (4–6oz) unsalted butter, slightly softened
125–175g (4–6oz) caster sugar
4–6 star anise
200g (7oz) puff pastry, rolled to a disc the same dimensions as your frying pan
Crème fraîche ice cream, to serve

Squeeze both lemons into a large bowl. Peel and core the apples, then halve them and put in the bowl of lemon juice to prevent them going brown

Smear butter generously over the frying pan, up the sides too. Sprinkle sugar over the top in a nice thick layer (this will be the toffee bit, so if you

like lots of toffee, put extra butter and sugar)

Remove your apple halves from the lemon juice and embed them in the butter/sugar mixture, with the holes (where the cores were) facing downwards.

Pack the apples in tightly. Tuck a few star anise between the apples

Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF), Gas Mark 7. If using an Aga, prepare the roasting oven

Put the frying pan over a medium flame on your hob. Keep an eye on it; this will caramelise. You have to be brave here and keep it going for about

15 minutes – you want a deep golden caramel colour and texture to develop

Once this has happened, leave the pan to cool, then plop your pastry disc on the top of the pan, tucking in the edges. Place the pan in the oven and

bake the tart for 15 minutes or until the pastry has risen

Here is the tricky bit: find a plate slightly larger than your frying pan and lay it over the top. Holding the handle firmly and keeping the plate pressed

tightly to the pan, flip them both over.

The plate will now be on the bottomand the frying pan on top. Lift the pan off to reveal a gorgeous, sticky, toffee-apple tart. If some of the apples have become displaced, don’t worry, just take a fork and prod them back into place

Cut into slices while hot and serve with a scoop or quenelle of Crème Fraîche Ice Cream.

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Frozen Fruit Smoothie

This smoothie recipe is the perfect pick-me-up for any sleepy head. It has the ideal combination of sharp and sweet and provides the ice-cold hit that could wake anybody up. Don’t be tempted to add sugar or any extra sweetness, as the banana and apple juice will balance out any sharpness from the berries.

Serves 2
100g frozen berries
1 banana, peeled and broken into chunky pieces
Apple juice, not from concentrate

Allow the berries to thaw slightly before putting them into a high-sided container with the banana.

Fill the container with apple juice up to the level of the banana, then blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

Serve in a glass with some ice.

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Rustic Apple and Blackberry Galettes

These are one of my favorite little autumnal (yes I said autumnal, it rolls off the tongue doesn’t it!) desserts, because they are really easy and make you look like a baking genius, when, realistically all you do is make some pastry and fill it with apples and blackberries. No messing around with blind baking, pie tins, or fancy latticing here, this is a no fuss dessert which you have to serve with cream or, even better, a soft scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Serves 4
250g of plain flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
140g of chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons of cold water

250g of blackberries
250g of cooking apples, peeled and sliced thinly
4 tablespoons of light brown sugar
A good squeeze of lemon juice
1 egg whisked together with a drop of milk to brush on the galettes

Add the flour, sugar, salt and butter to a mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, combine the dry ingredients with the butter, until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. This can take time, but don’t worry the mixture will come together. Add the egg yolk and water and form the dough using your hands. Press the dough into a sausage shape and cover it in clingfilm, place in the fridge to chill for at least 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190oC/Gas mark 5.

Mix together the blackberries, apples, sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. Split the dough in four and roll each quarter out into 6″/15cm circles on a floured work surface with a rolling pin. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet with a non stick surface. Add a handful of the blackberry apple mix to the centre of each pastry circle and fold the sides of the pastry up and over the sides of the fruit mix. Brush with the pastry with egg wash and place in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving with a dollop of thick, cool whipped cream and dust with a little icing sugar.

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