My lovely daughter had a party, and someone bought these delicious apple butter and caramel rolls. They are very sticky, and the cider vinegar elevates the apple butter to complement the caramel stickiness. The technique is a bit like making a tarte tatin, in that it is cooked upside-down and turned over to reveal the sugary fruity nutty topping.
For the apple butter:
4 tart eating apples, or cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
115ml apple cider
75g light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a generous grating of nutmeg, around 1/4 tsp
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of salt
55g butter (use vegan ‘butter’ as a substitute)
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the caramel
175g dark brown sugar
100g walnuts or pecans. If you are using walnuts and they are a bit bitter, soak them in water first.
For the yeasted dough
50g caster sugar
8g dried yeast
700g strong plain white flour
1 tsp salt
100g dark brown sugar
Mix the chopped apples with the spices, salt and cider and simmer slowly over a low heat, for about an hour. Check and stir regularly to make sure they are not burning. Add a little water if the mixture is beginning to stick.
When the apples are very very soft, use a blender, and return the puree back to the pan and simmer it until it is a thick creamy consistency.
Make the pecan caramel sauce. Mix the butter and sugar in a saucepan and warm until everything is dissolved and smooth. Add the nuts and pour into a greased baking tray and leave to cool. The baking tray should be quite deep, and measure around 33cm by 23cm.
Make the dough. Melt the butter into the milk and sugar, and leave until it is just warm.
Sprinkle in the yeast and stir it in. Leave in a warm place until the yeast is beginning to bubble.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture and mix well to make a sticky messy dough. Don’t bother trying to kneed it at this stage.
Cover the dough bowl with a damp teatowel, and leave in a warm room for up to an hour, until it has puffed up. This is a good time to set the oven to preheat to 180C.
Knock back the dough, and kneed it until it is stretchy and elastic. Stretch and roll it into an oblong, about 30cm by 60cm, and about 1cm thick. If it is not behaving, leave it to relax for a few minutes and have another go. You might need a dusting of flour on your surfaces to stop the dough from sticking.
Spread half the apple butter onto the dough and sprinkle on the dark brown sugar. Roll the dough up lengthways, swiss roll style, to make a long snake. Don’t squeeze at all, because the apple butter needs to stay in the roll.
Slice the snaky roll up into 15 slices
Arrange the dough slices like rosettes on top of the nutty caramel, 3 rows of 5, and leave to rest for around 20 to 30 minutes
Bake at 180C for around 30 minutes.
Turn out onto a larger tray, while hot, and before the caramel sets, and leave to cool.
Bramble season in the Hebrides, much later than on the mainland. The blackberries we picked last weekend were sharp and flavourful, juicy and small. I’ve frozen some for making bramble jelly later, but I made a crumble for Malcolm, because he loves it.
1 very large cooking apple
around 200g blackberries
2 tbsp date syrup or dark brown sugar or any other sugar
a pinch of cinnamon, or allspice
120g self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 180C
Make a crumble mix – rub the butter into the flour and then add the sugar. You can add porridge oats, ground nuts, flaked almonds use brown sugar, or add spices if you wish.
Peel and chop the cooking apple, and then combine with the blackberries and the date syrup and allspice (or other sugar, sweet spice).
Put the fruit evenly in the bottom of an oven-proof dish, then cover with the crumble mix.
Bake for around 30 minutes, then serve with custard or cream.
Dear Angela. Here is the original recipe for the chutney. I got this from Christina at the surgery, whose mother got it from a friend. The quantities are quite ‘loose’ and depend on what is in the store cupboard.
2 lb cooking apples
as much garlic as you like
1 3/4 pints malt vinegar
1 lb dates, stones out and chopped
1 lb raisins
1 lb brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp salt
ginger, peeled and grated, if wished
Chop the unpeeled apples, garlic and ginger, and simmer in a pan with the vinegar, until soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring regularly.
Makes about 6 jars. The recorder of the recipe advises keeping your fingers crossed; I suspect because she is free and easy with the quantities.