Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Suffolk Foodie: Apples ..... more Apples!

Windfall Bramleys

Autumn's dropouts

Thump!  Another one hits the patio!  It's the sound of Autumn arriving.  Having recently moved back to stay with parents I have been looking at the family tree.  The family apple tree.

The apple tree has long been a feature of our family gardens.  As a child the first thing that happened when we arrived at my Grandfather's North London house was to climb the apple tree.  Whichever cousin (there were eventually twelve of us) arrived for the gathering first, the trick as we reached a certain age was to be the first up the tree!

Harvest time as my grandfather became older involved being sent out with a bag to gather the windfalls.  Large quantities of apples were then transported back (picked or naturally harvested either by wind or own weight) to Suffolk.  As the convenience and availability of apples in shops took over the apples increasingly fermented to themselves and were eventually dumped! 

Little Panther at tree base as I Telework
in the Garden trying sufficiently
early in season to avoid windfalls
A sappling was planted nearly 35 years ago in the parent's lawn in Suffolk.  It was supposed to be a half standard!  Over the years it has spread it's boughs unchecked producing a variety of sizes of apple. It has become a cat exercise frame, a bird feeder support, washing line post, a swing platform for nephew and nieces as well as a slalom hazard for the lawn mower. As it becomes older it is succumbing to various diseases to a greater or lesser extent!

We haven't yet had a transfer of misteltoe as often happens with birds placing seeds from a last meal in a convenient crevice.  This parasitic plant  can reduce the vigour and health of an apple tree.  The season of christmas with mistletoe becoming an economic crop could be one reason to poke about in old orchards.  Old Orchards are becoming sought after as repositories of forgotten varieties that store well and have good taste.

The resurgence of interest in cider is a good example where "artisan" producers are looking to find the mix of good apple that produce juice, enough sugar for natural fermentation but are not necessarily the best for storage.  The variety Sturmer Pippin, very popular in Australia and New Zealand,  was recently rediscovered in the village of Sturmer not 3 miles from where I am writing this blog!  Suffolk has a great tradition of producing good apples and good cider (Aspalls being an example but more on that another day).

Recipe then for windfall apples called Windfall Apple Pudding!

6 oz  (150 g) flour
3 oz (75 g)  cooking fats (Lard etc)
Pinch of salt
Cold water to mix
2 large eating apples
1 egg
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
1 large cooking apple
1 oz (25g) self raising flour
2 oz (50 g) seedless raisins,
Icing sugar for dredging

Step 1:Set over to 375°F or 190 C .
Step 2 :  Put the fats, salt and flour into a bowl, cut the fat into small pieces and rub in lightly.
Step 3: Add about 1 and 1/2  tablespoons water and mix with a fork.
Step 4: Knead lightly and roll out on a floured surface and line an 8 inch pie
plate. Overlap the rim by 1/2 inch (approx 1.5 cm) and turn back the pastry overlap to form a double

Filling and putting it together.
Step 1: Peel, core and slice the apples, mix with the raisins and pile in the
pastry case.
Step 2: Beat the egg and sugar together in a bowl until thick and creamy, fold
in the flour and pour over the filling.
Step 3: Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Dredge with icing sugar and serve with custard or pouring cream.

Tomorrow?  More Apple stories that may involve Chips but only of the type prepared from fruit from the tree!

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