Recipes for Bramley apple week

Normally I wouldn’t do two consecutive posts both being recipes as I like to give you, the reader a more varied diet on here. But as this week is National Bramley apple week I thought I’d try to push the boat out for you. So coming up are several recipes that are all clear about the apples I’ve used, including Bramleys & the role they play. Unlike when Gordon Ramsay was paid for promoting Bramley apples in 1999, then switched them with Granny Smiths: Full story via The Independent.

First up is a firm favorite of mine & although the various components can take some time to make, they can all be done in advance.

Fine Apple Tart

  • 4 Granny Smith apples, slow baked with cinnamon (see recipe below)
  • 2 Bramley Apples, made into purée (see recipe below)
  • 250g Puff pastry
  • Icing sugar for dusting

The slow baked Granny Smiths: Pre-heat oven to 150°C. Peel the apples then cut in half going from top to bottom. Using a melon baller (parisienne scoop) remove the core neatly. Be quick in doing this as you don’t want to be putting them into water to prevent browning. Once all the Granny Smiths have been cored, brush all over with melted butter & lightly dust with ground cinnamon. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes until cooked but still firm. Reserve & Chill.

Bramley Apple purée: In a thick bottomed sauce pan bring 50g of unsalted butter to foaming point, then add one split vanilla pod & one cinnamon stick. Reduce the heat & toast the spices in the butter. Next add the peeled & chopped Bramley apples, reduce the heat & stir to ensure all the apple pieces are coated in the flavoured butter. Cover the pan with a lid and stew until the apples collapse. Remove the cinnamon & vanilla & blend until smooth. Chill & reserve.

Pastry base: Roll out the puff pastry to a the 5mm thickness, dusting with icing sugar instead of flour as you go. When the required thickness is reached, dock the pastry with a fork repeatedly to prevent rising. Then bake at 175°C sandwich between two sheets of greaseproof paper & weighted down with another sheet, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool & reserve.

The Assembly: Firstly smear quite liberally the pastry base with the smooth purée. Then slice the baked Granny Smiths very thinly & layer in a slight overlapping style (see header image). Using a serrated pastry knife, gently cut the large tart to the required size. Warm in the oven prior to serving with Chantilly cream, crème anglaise or vanilla ice cream.

Bramley apple

Next up is probably one of my most recent & favourite chutney recipes.

Toffee apple chutney

  • 800g Bramley apples (about 4 medium), diced
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 180ml Cider vinegar
  • 200g Muscavado sugar
  • 1g Sea salt
  • 2tsp Mustard seeds
  • ½tsp Hot paprika
  • 1 Vanilla pod, split
  • A grating of nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon clear honey
  • 100ml Apple juice
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 75g Unsalted butter

bramley apples

In a thick bottomed sauce pan gently melt the butter with the spices, vanilla pod & the diced onion. Continue cooking until the onions are soft & have changed colour. Add the sugar & the vinegar, dissolve and reduce the liquid by half.

bramley apples

Now add the diced bramley apples & continue to cook on a medium heat with the lid on for about 7-8minutes until soft but not mushy. Next add the Granny Smiths & the honey, continue cooking but with the lid removed. Stir occasionally to ensure that all the apples are coated in the liquid. reduce to the required level, taste,add the sea salt if required & transfer to a sterile storage jar.

bramley apples

The final recipe has fast become a classic with people I cook for, it takes the idea of something that is so familiar & reinterprets it with classic French cuisine. Some of you may notice that I’m using ‘Cup’ as a measurement, this isn’t because I’ve gone all American, but because it’s a handy reference to equal quantities of volume.

bramley apples

Apple Crumble Soufflé

  •  250ml Sweet cider
  • 2 Bramley apples
  • 75g cornflour, made into a solution with cold water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Lemon, zested
  • Coarsely grated shortbread
  • ½ cup of egg whites
  • ½ cup of caster sugar, plus extra for dusting moulds
  • 1g Sea salt

Soufflé base: Peel & core the apples, roughly chop and combine with the lemon zest, cinnamon & the cider. In a thick bottom sauce pan bring the apple mix to the boil & simmer with the lid on until the apples collapse, taste & correct with seasoning as required. At this point whisk in the cornflour solution slowly & gradually until a thick dropping consistency ‘jam’ is formed. Reduce the heat & cook out the cornflour for a couple of minutes, remove the cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and cling film tight to the top of the mix to stop a skin forming. Cool to room temperature & reserve.

Meringue:  In a ultra clean bowl whisk the egg whites, with the sea salt until they reach soft peaks. Reduce the speed of the whisking to a medium pace & slowly, in a steady stream add the sugar. Continue whisking until a shiny meringue is formed.

bramley apples

Assembly: Using a spatula (I use something like this at home) roughly measure out 1 part soufflé base & 1 part meringue, but keep seperate. Then divide the meringue in half again. In another clean bowl, put all the base you’ve measured out plus 1 half of the meringue. Beat with a whisk by hand to full incorporate  the two mixes, next fold in the remaining half . Next put a spoonful of mix into a buttered and sugared ramekin & tap on the work surface to fully ensure that all the mix has made it into the corners, then top up with remaining mix and level off. Run you thumb around the top of the ramekin to create a free space for the soufflé to rise. Top with the grated shortbread. Bake at 185°C for a normal 4oz ramekin for 9mins. As a rule of thumb, the larger the soufflé the slightly cooler the oven should be  – coupled with a longer cooking time, the opposite is true for smaller ones.

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