Parkin

The nights are long, the air is cold and thoughts turn to spiced, baked treats!  Yorkshire Parkin is a dark, sticky, oaty, gingerbread type of cake traditionally eaten around Bonfire Night.  Made ahead and stored in a cake tin, it will be at it’s sticky best for your bonfire party.Parkin2

I like to whizz up the oats in the food processor for a finer texture, but they can be left whole if preferred.

Ingredients:
220g butter
120g dark brown soft sugar
100g black treacle/molasses
150g golden syrup
120g oats – ground up on the food processor
200g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1tbs ground ginger
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cloves
2 extra large eggs, beaten
50ml milk

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 140°C/275°F and generously butter a 22cm² baking tin

Place the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a heavy based pan and gently heat until everything is melted together, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Take care not to boil.  When all the ingredients are nicely melted and molten, set aside to cool a little.

In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder salt and spices and mix in the ground oats.

Baked Parkin

Pour in the sugar and treacle mixture and mix to combine.  Everything should be well mixed and coated.  Mix in the beaten eggs and then add the milk.  The mixture should be wet and pourable, so once the eggs are added, you might not need all of the milk to get to a nice pouring consistency.

Parkin1

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for at least an hour and a half.  Check the cake after this time, it should be firm and spring back when gently pressed.

Leave to cool in the tin for around 30 minutes.  You can serve it warm or keep for a few days and it will increase in stickiness and be at its very best.
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Cut into squares and enjoy with hot coffee, tea, or mulled cider!

 

 

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

The weather is getting cooler and the nights are starting to draw in, thoughts are turning to recipes baked with seasonal fruit and spices.

Apples and blackberries are a classic combination and I often make apple and blackberry pies and crumbles.  For a change, this is a cobbler and uses buttermilk and melted butter in the ‘cobbles’ which makes the topping very tender and moist.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler2

The sweet fruit and spices all baked together makes the kitchen smell wonderful.  The finished cobbler has sweet, juicy fruit on the bottom and the gently spiced topping is soft on the inside and a little crusty and golden on the top.  It’s the perfect alternative to a crumble or a pie and really easy to make.

Although the temptation is to dive straight in the finished pudding, it’s best to leave it to cool a little before serving as the filling is incredibly hot straight from the oven.

Filling:
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 punnet of sweet blackberries, washed
Juice of half a lemon
150g brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
1tbs cornflour

Topping:
250g self-raising flour
150g butter, melted
240g buttermilk
100g sugar
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
A little melted butter for brushing

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F and butter a baking dish

Place the sliced apples, spices, cornflour, lemon juice and sugar in a pan and heat gently.  When the sugar has melted and the juices thickened a little, place into a bowl and gently stir in the blackberries.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler

Place into the buttered dish and prepare the topping.

For the topping, place the flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix together.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter and buttermilk.  Stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler1

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, or two spoons, drop spoonfuls of the batter over the fruit and top with a little extra brown sugar.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler3

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cobbler is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cobbles comes out clean.  When the cobbler is removed from the oven and still hot, brush the top with a little melted butter.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler5

This is best served warm and is good with ice cream, custard, whipped cream, or just on its own.  It’s also good cold the next day.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler4

Apple Hand Pies

The welcome arrival of September (and my very favourite season) also means the arrival of apple season.  We have a tree full of apples to use in the garden and one of my family’s favourite things is apple pie.

Apple Tree.jpg

These are little hand pies and they are just the thing to have on hand for hungry children.  They are portable too, so great to take with you on a trip to the park or to work.

Apples are available all year round, but it’s really worth looking out for the new seasonal arrivals that have been grown locally, to enjoy apple season to the full.

Caramel apple hand pies2

Crust:
375g plain/all-purpose flour
165g butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated
2tbs sugar
1tsp salt
Iced water
1 egg and a little milk to make a wash

Filling:
2 crisp dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
Juice from half a lemon
3tbs sugar
2tsp cornflour
1tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2tsp salt
10 soft caramels (like Werther’s) cut into tiny pieces (optional)

Caramel apple hand pies4

Method:
Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a food processor, fitted with the steel blade and pulse until crumbly, with pieces of butter still visible.

Then add one tablespoon of the iced water at a time, pulsing until the dough just comes together – around 4-5 should be enough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, cut in half and pat each half into a disc.  Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Caramel apple hand pies5

For the filling, place the apples into a large bowl and toss them with the juice from the lemon so they don’t turn brown. Then add the sugar, salt, spices and cornflour and turn to coat.

Leaving one batch of dough in the fridge, roll out the first batch evenly on a lightly floured board and cut out circles for the bases (using a cutter measuring approximately 7.5cm/3 inches).  Place them onto a lined baking sheet, re-rolling until most of the dough is used up.  Refrigerate any scraps.

Then place a small, heaping amount of the apple mixture into the centre of each one and top with a few caramel pieces if using.  Take care to leave a gap around the edge.

Caramel apple hand pies

Roll out the rest of the dough and cut out the same number of circles, but use a slightly larger cutter.  Use up the scraps of the first batch if needed.

Brush the pastry bases around the apples with the egg wash and place the remaining pastry circles over the filling.  Crimp and seal the edges together using a fork, dipped in flour to stop it sticking.

When they all have their lids, it is important to chill the pies before baking.  Leave them in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.  This helps stop the pastry shrinking and bursting open in the oven.  They can also be frozen at this point too.

Caramel apple hand pies1

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F

When you are ready to bake, brush the tops with the egg wash and cut little vents in the lids to allow steam to escape.  You can also sprinkle with a little extra sugar too.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until the pies are golden and cooked through.

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These are the perfect after school treat, but a personal pie is good at any time and these can be taken on a picnic, or placed into a lunchbox too.

Caramel apple hand pies3