My other major food based challenge for last year was to bake more often and I must admit I was surprised by how much of a resounding success it was. Despite having a frankly rubbish oven for most of 2015, I baked a lot last year. To the extent that half my posts on here in the last year were about baking. I need to find an equally successful challenge for this year, as I want to make at least two posts a month to this blog over the coming year and while I’ve succeeded this month, I’ll need a running challenge to keep up the momentum rather than my feast or famine approach from last year.
Really this post (like the last one) should have gone up during my nablopomo stint back in November – I did intend to write them then – as my apple adventures actually took place in October. The place I was working over Mod week in October had a large apple tree in the garden and while I was working there someone gave the tree a good shake and a large bag of cooking apples appeared in the office kitchen for taking. Which made for a week or two of apple-based baking for everyone in the office as the unwritten rule seemed to be – you can take as many as you like as long as you bring some of the results in to share!
My first experiment were Chaussons de Pommes from one of my many Lorraine Pascale cook books. Chaussons de pommes are essentially little puff pasty pasties. They look rather like the savoury ‘bakes’ that you get out of Greggs bakers at lunchtime and rather make me want to try making my own savoury vegetarian-friendly varieties. The recipe instructed you to make a thick apple sauce which I did and despite having about half the apples that the recipe called for (and therefore having made half the expected amount of sauce) I ended up with lashings of sauce too much for the recipe. This was, however, no tragedy at all – though I’d have made more chaussons de pommes if I’d realised there’d be so much filling – it just resulted in me making a bunch of mini-apple tartlets. The sauce was in fact the nicest apple sauce I’ve ever eaten, I’m not normally a massive fan, but this I could have eaten on its own with a spoon.
By happy chance when I’d gone looking for puff pastry for my chassons de pommes, there’d been a special offer on the frozen pastry and I’d ended up picking up some short-crust pastry at the same time. (I want to learn how to make my own short-crust pastry eventually but I think that’s adventure for later this year.) And then…well they had this set of mini pie tins that I couldn’t resist. So I ended up making apple tartlets – I even gave them little latticework tops! I made them on a Friday night, had one with cream for supper and took the rest with me on a road trip to Elgin the following morning with some of my roller derby team. I perked them up with 10 minutes in the oven before I left and then made a tasty breakfast on the road – if the happy munching noises of my team mates can be believed!