Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An apple a day...

Melbourne has given us some chilly mornings this week, just to remind us that it's still winter. Despite the single-digit early morning temperatures, the days are getting longer and all the fashion stores are unveiling their spring/summer ranges. It's a reminder that warmer weather is almost here and my cooking focus will soon shift from hearty stews and comforting puddings to lighter meals.

I'm looking forward to the warmer days but I feel like I haven't made as many winter dishes as I'd planned. The next few weeks will no doubt see a flurry of baking to fulfil my cravings before the temperature rises.

Good old apple pie with sweet pastry and a dollop of thick cream is always a favourite. For a faster and different version, I decided to try a recipe for bourdelot, or Normandy apple pies, by Jill Dupleix. According to Jill, these apples pies are rarely seen outside of the Normandy region in France. A cored whole apple is stuffed with jam, wrapped in a blanket of puff pastry and baked, with the apple steaming to tenderness in the same time that the pastry cooks to a golden crisp. It is a simple but delicious dessert. Next time I might sprinkle in some sultanas or chopped nuts for extra interest.


500g puff pastry (or use sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry)
1 apple for each person
lemon juice
good jam or marmalade
egg glaze (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)
caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Peel and core the apples and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Roll out the pastry and cut into 15x15cm squares (or cut a sheet of ready-rolled pastry into half).

Place an apple in the centre of each pastry square. Stuff the cavity with jam and put a dob of butter on the top. Dip your finger into water and run along the edges of the pastry. Bring the four corners up to the top and pinch the edges firmly. Cut off any protruding corners and pinch the seams together to follow the shape of the apple.

Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Brush the apples with egg glaze (or just with milk, if you don't want to mix up an egg glaze), sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 30 minutes (or until golden).

Crack open the pastry and top with thick cream, creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

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