Category: Autumn

The humble crumble

When it comes to autumn blogging, I just can’t get away from apple related ideas. It’s a well known fact that toffee flavours go well with apple so I thought I might wheel out the salted caramel recipe for this week’s post.

We had this after a large roast on Sunday and it was the perfect pud for a cosy autumn afternoon. One of my housemates (self proclaimed crumble connoisseur) called it “the zenith of desserts”, just saying, perhaps this crumble is not so humble after all.

The great thing about crumble is that it’s so quick to make and you can do it in advance, either cooked or uncooked and pop it in the fridge until you need it.


You will need

For the crumble:

140g/5 oz unsalted butter

125g/4.5 oz porridge oats

75g/2.75 oz ground almonds

50g/1.75 oz plain flour

50g/1.75 oz caster sugar

2 tbsp clear honey

4 cooking apples (bramley)

For the salted caramel:

100g/3.5 oz salted butter

80g/3 oz soft brown sugar

100ml/3.5 fl oz double cream

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp salt

(Serves 6)

Apologies to those of you who spotted the missing ingredients list for a while there!


Step one

Mix together the dry ingredients for the crumble topping (almonds, flour, oats and sugar).

Step two

Rub in the butter with your hands, it’s better if it’s cold as the mix will breadcrumb a bit more. Mine was a little on the soft side because I got distracted and left it on the counter for a while.


Step three

Add the honey and mix in with a wooden spoon.

Put it in the fridge until needed.


Step four

Place all the ingredients for the salted caramel into a saucepan (minus the cream).

Heat gently until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved and then bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir regularly so that it doesn’t catch and burn. Leave to cool for fifteen minutes to half an hour.


Step five

Once the caramel has cooled for a little while add the cream and stir until combined.


Step six

Peel and chop the apples.


Step seven

Put the apples in the bottom of your dish, sprinkle with a little light brown sugar. Pour just a third to a half of the caramel sauce over the apples and cover with the crumble mixture.

Step eight

Bake with on 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 40 minutes.

Boom. The zenith of desserts.




Until next time.


Crisp autumn pie

I realise it’s been a while since I did something quite fancy, and while people seem to prefer to make the easy ones, there’s definitely some love for the posts with lots of steps too.

With the return of my favourite season (I’m really fair-skinned, so shoot me if I don’t adore summer like the rest of you) and a little dinner party this weekend, I figured the only way to round off my housemate’s uh-mazing main course was with a little homage to the apple.

Without further ado here’s a recipe for a rather yummy apple and frangipane tart.


You will need

For the pastry:

300g/10.5 oz plain flour

170g/6 oz unsalted butter

30g/1 oz golden caster sugar

50ml/1.75 fl oz milk

1 egg yolk

A pinch of salt

For the frangipane:

70g/2.5 oz ground almonds

60g/2 oz unsalted butter

50g/1.75 oz golden caster sugar

40g/1.5 oz plain flour

1 egg

1-2 tsp almond extract (optional, but apple will likely overpower the almond a bit)

For the apple filling:

3 bramley cooking apples

100g/3.5 oz golden caster sugar

10g/0.5 oz unsalted butter

50ml/1.75 oz water

2-3 tbsp clear honey

For the topping:

4-5 braeburn apples (probably any eating apples would work)

2-3 tbsp apricot jam (for the glaze)

(My dish was 25cm and for quiches/pies, but there would be enough pastry and filling to do a slightly larger, shallower tart, perhaps up to 29cm or so).


Step one

Start by making the sweet shortcrust pastry.

First cube the butter and pop that into the plain flour. Using your fingers, rub the butter and flour together to get a crumb-like texture.

The colder your butter the better and the smaller the crumbs you will be able to get. My house is waaaaaaarm, so as you can see, mine was a tad lumpy at this stage.

If you have a food processor I am led to believe you can do this bit in that very quickly and easily. But we can’t all be posh like you so (clean) fingers are just fine too.


Step two

Stir in the caster sugar.


Step three

Make a well in the middle for the milk and egg yolk. Fairly sure you can guess what’s next…put yolk and milk in said well.

Bring the mixture together with your hands. It may be a bit crumbly so you can tip it onto a worktop and knead it together slightly to combine, but be careful not to over work it.

Wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.


Step four

Frangipane making time. Using an electric whisk (or a wooden spoon and some strong arms) beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.


Step five

Add the egg and beat again with the whisk.

Stir in the almonds, almond extract and the flour.

Voila. Set aside.


Step six

Prepare the stewed apple filling. Being by peeling and chopping the three bramley apples. If you have a bit of lemon juice handy a quick squeeze will keep the chopped ones pale while you see to the rest.


Step seven

Put the chopped apples in a saucepan with the butter, honey, water and sugar. Bring to a medium-low heat and stir occasionally until the apples are mostly broken down. You want a pulp really (an appetising thought, I know).


Step eight

Remove the pastry from the fridge (providing an hour has passed). Place onto a lightly floured surface (you don’t want to add much more flour to the mix if you can help it).

Roll the pastry out as evenly as you can, until your chosen dish can sit in the middle with an inch or two on all sides. You don’t really want your pastry to be thicker than 5mm.


Step nine

Transfer your pastry by rolling it at least half of it up onto your rolling pin and unrolling it over the top of your dish.

I then needed to lift the edges back up and place them back in to tease them better into the corners. Do this gently so as not to tear it. Having said that, I was a bit heavy handed and tears can be fixed quit easily by sticking a bit of excess pastry on top.


Step ten

Rip a bit of pastry off the overlap and use it to press the crust further into the crevices.

Use a fork to pierce the base of the pie, this will help the pastry stay flat in the oven.

Pop him back in the fridge for another 20-30 minutes.


Step eleven

While the pastry is chilling again, peel and slice the braeburns/eating apples. You need to do this carefully as it will be the making or breaking of how your pie looks (no pressure). Try to peel nice and evenly and cut the apples as thinly as you can.

Have a large tupperware filled with cold water nearby to put your cut slices into, which will stop them from browning, again, if you have any lemon juice a few drops wouldn’t go amiss but not essential.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4/350F


Step eleven

Remove the pie from the fridge and trim some of the excess pastry off the sides but still leave an overlap.

Place some baking paper in the pie and fill with baking beans. If you don’t have any then rice works too, and most dried lentils/pulses really.

Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.


Step twelve

Using a grater remove the excess pastry at this stage. Doing it this way helps to avoid your pastry shrinking in the oven.


Step thirteen


First spoon in the frangipane and spread out, followed by the stewed apple puree mixture.

Finally add your eating apples. Start with the outside and work inwards. Make sure your apples overlap each other quite a bit; the cooking process reduces the water so they will shrink and flatten out.

Bake for another hour on 180C/350F/gas mark 4. I advise checking in at regular intervals after 30 minutes as every oven is different.


Step fourteen

Pop a few tablespoons of apricot jam in the microwave for 10-20 seconds (keep your eye on it as it’s sugary and will heat up quickly). Brush over the surface of the tart, being careful not to move the apples around, spoiling your lovely design.




Step fifteen

Get a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on that guy.

You can reheat your pie in the oven or individual slices in the microwave if you aren’t eating it straight away.

Until next time. x


You might notice there’s a different pair of disembodied hands in the post this week. That’s because my lovely housemate was on half term, and ever since we watched this year’s GBBO we have wanted to make our own doughnuts (I’ve been informed donut is the wrong way to spell it). Thanks for your help Vicky and for very patiently allowing me to photograph the occasion.

We’re having a little get together for bonfire/fireworks night on Wednesday and we thought we would make some appropriately themed treats. We bring to you a doughnut double whammy, flavoured with toffee apple and cinder toffee.

Disclaimer – these aren’t quick to make, but they are IN-credible, I was very sad to put them into the freezer, and I hope they emerge as delicious as they went in.


You will need

Please note: doughnut recipe makes 30, so the extra flavourings recipes are for 15 of each. If you want to make just one of the versions you will need to double the quantities of the fillings and toppings or halve the doughnut mix.

For the doughnuts:

350ml/12 fl oz Warm full fat milk

700g/1lb 8 oz Strong white bread flour

2 Eggs

70g/2.5 oz Unsalted butter

100g/3.5 oz Caster sugar

1 tsp Salt

14g/0.5 oz Dried yeast

50ml Warm water

For the toffee apple version:

2 Bramley (cooking) apples

3 tbsp Soft light brown sugar

1 tbsp Water

300g/10.5 oz Granulated sugar

6 tbsp Water

For the cinder toffee version:

200g/7 oz White chocolate

2 Crunchie bars/some cinder toffee

1.5-2 tbsp Golden syrup

1.5-2 tbsp Full fat milk

150g/5.5 oz Icing sugar

50g/3.5 oz Unsalted butter

1 tsp Vanilla extract


1.5 litres/50 fl oz Vegetable oil for frying

15 Cake pop sticks for the ‘toffee apples’

Flavour injector (if you don’t have one of these, a long thin piping nozzle should also work)


Step one

Put the yeast in the warm water and wait until frothy.

Step two

Combine half the flour with the rest of the dough ingredients (including the yeast froth). Remember to put the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl, they don’t get on.

Step three

When the batter is smooth, gradually add the rest of the flour and stir. The dough should be sticky but not impossible to work with. Vicky and I found we had to add a lot of flour in kneading so I’ve adjusted the recipe for y’all.


Step four

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. It’ll still be quite sticky, don’t sweat it.


Step five

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. While that’s going on you can prepare your toppings and fillings.


Step six

For the puree which will fill the toffee apple doughnuts, peel and chop the apples into small chunks.


Step seven

Place the apples in a saucepan with the 3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Heat on medium until the apples have reduced.

Step eight

If you have one, use a food processor to liquidise the apple mixture. If you don’t, do what we did and use a potato masher and then pass the mix through a sieve.


Step nine

To make the filling for the cinder toffee donuts combine the butter, icing sugar, milk, golden syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and set aside.


Step ten

Tip the risen dough onto a floured work surface. Squeeze into a long sausage shape and chop into 30 pieces.


Step eleven

Roll into balls and leave on a tray to prove for another hour. Make sure you leave plenty of space. The picture above was before these rose, and they almost filled the tray after.


Step twelve

About 20 minutes before the doughnuts have finished their second rise, begin to heat the oil.

It’s beyond important that you heat the oil really slowly on a low heat to avoid risking a pan fire. There’s no reason to worry as long as you heat this gradually.

Test your oil heat with little pieces of a doughnut. When the sample floats and bubbles straight away you’re good to go.


Step thirteen

Fry the doughnuts in batches, you will get a good idea when to turn them pretty quickly, it only takes a few minutes for them to get golden.

Leave your doughnuts to rest on a few sheets of kitchen roll which will soak up any excess oil.


Step fourteen

When the doughnuts are completely cooled inject 15 of them with the apple puree and 15 with the cinder toffee filling.

We went in at the top because we knew we were going to cover the holes, otherwise you would use the side. For those of you with a flavour injector (and of course that will be most of you…) we did 10 ml per doughnut.


Step fifteen

For the cinder toffee doughnuts you need to crush up the crunchie bars (easily done when they’re in their wrappers) and melt the white chocolate. Do this slowly in the microwave to avoid burning it.

Dip the doughnuts  in the chocolate to coat the upside down top, and sprinkle with crunchie pieces. Leave to one side for the chocolate to set.


Step fifteen

Make a hard caramel by combining the 300g of granulated sugar and 6 tbsp water in a saucepan.

Heat on a low-medium heat until the mixture takes on a dark honey colour. Do not stir it as the sugar will crystallise. I’m afraid I did this by eye so I don’t have a temperature, but use the pictures above for a reference point for the colour and you’ll be fine, it’s not an exact science.

Remove from heat and cool by dipping the bottom of the saucepan in a mixing bowl full of cold water.

Spoon over the top of the doughnuts. I did one layer on each and popped the sticks in, then went back once the caramel got a little thicker (this happens as it cools) to do another and to secure the sticks in place.



Step sixteen

Chow down.

Oh hey pumpkin

With an invitation to a Canadian Thanksgiving feast this weekend I started to crave pumpkin pie. I also live very near a Lakeland and happened to wander in and procure myself a little individual cake tin. Too much GBBO consumed by me I think. The result of these two happenings brings you mini pumpkin pies.

If you don’t have a tin like mine (get one) then this recipe will work as a big pie in a cake tin or whatever you have to hand.

These are super easy to make and totally DE-licious. I recommend them warm with a big dollop of sour cream.


Things you need

For the filling:

425g can of Pumpkin (I got this from Waitrose, if you want to chop up and boil a real pumpkin you can, but I’ve done that before and it wasn’t any kind of fun)

2 Eggs

170g/6 oz Granulated sugar

285ml/9.5 fl oz Evaporated milk

1 tsp Ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground ginger

1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg

For the base:

200g/7 oz Dark chocolate digestives

75g/2.5 oz Butter

Pot of soured cream and some pecans for topping

Makes 12 (or one big pie)


Step one

Combine all the filling ingredients until smooth (lightly beat the eggs with a fork first). Pour into a jug.


Step two

Using the end of a rolling pin (or a food processor if you have one) crush the biscuits into a fine crumb.

Step three

Heat the butter on a low setting in the microwave until just melted. Stir into the crushed biscuits.


Step four

Pop the loose bottoms in and lightly grease the tin.

Place a dessert spoon of the biscuit mixture into into each basin and press down with the back of the spoon.

I guess you could give this a go with a muffin tin if you don’t have a loose bottomed one, let me know how it goes if you do!

If you have time to stick this in the fridge then 30 mins will make sure your base stays firmly at the bottom. I didn’t do this and it turned out fine, just rose up a little at the sides, so don’t worry too much if you’re in a rush.

Time for a gif? I thought so too.


Step five

Pour the mixture to the top of each basin. Don’t worry about it overflowing, it only rises up a little bit and is quite solid so doesn’t spill. I had a bit of mix left over so I just poured it into a spare ramekin, you always need a little sample anyway.

Sprinkle a little more ground nutmeg on.


Step six

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40 minutes on 180C/350F/gas mark 7.

Leave to cool a bit before removing from the tin. They are really yummy warm, so either let them cool and whiz them in the microwave before serving or cook just before you want to eat them.


Step seven

Help yourself to one (or five)

Autumn mess

Chaps! Welcome back, apologies for my prolonged absence. Holidays have been had, possessions been moved, and I’m back online.

Still riding high on my summer vacay, everything I thought of for this post was just not seasonal. Autumn is my favourite season usually, but, quite out of character, I’ve actually enjoyed summer this year. To get myself into a cosy autumnal mood I decided to turn an old summer favourite – Eton Mess – into a pudding perfect for fall.

I present Autumn Mess (or Fall Mess, I guess, if you’re across the pond, but that sounds a bit too much like a road traffic accident).


Things you need

For the meringue:

2 large egg whites

110g/4oz Golden caster sugar (that’s all I had – white would be fine – probably better)

1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon


For the salted caramel frosting:

100g/3.5 oz Salted butter

80g/3 oz Soft brown sugar

100ml/3.5 fl oz Double cream

2 tbsp Golden syrup

2 tsp Salt


For the rest:

50-100g Pecans (chopped)

300ml/10 fl oz Double cream

1-2 Bramley cooking apples

Nutmeg (optional)


Makes 6-8 servings



Step one

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. I actually used 1/2 a tsp of cinnamon, but felt it was a little strong, others disagreed, so go with your gut. It depends on whether or not you are a cinna-fan.

Using an electric whisk whip the egg whites until they are three times their original size and starting to turn glossy.

Gradually whisk in all the sugar until you have stiff peaks (and can turn the bowl upside-down without the mix falling out).


Step two

Using two teaspoons place blobs of the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Don’t grease this to stick it down. If you need something to stop it curling up, dab a little of the mixture under each corner as glue.

This doesn’t need to be done too carefully as the purpose of this dessert is not to look pretty.

Step three

Bake on gas mark 1/2, 130 degrees C or 250 degree F for an hour. Turn off the oven and leave until completely cool before taking them out.



Step four

While the meringues are in the oven, you can get going on the rest of the components.

Peel and chop the cooking apples into small chunks. Place into a microwaveable bowl.


Step five

Add three tablespoons of water and three tablespoons of caster sugar and place in microwave.

Microwave on a medium-high heat until you have a pulpy consistency. This took about 10 minutes with fairly regular stop and stirs.


Step six

If you are thinking you have seen these pictures before, I’m sorry, I’m plagiarising myself. I know I know, in the very next post too.

In a saucepan add together the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and salt. Heat gently until melted and then bring to a simmer.

Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir regularly so that it doesn’t catch and burn. Leave to cool for about half an hour.


Step seven

Stir in 100 ml of double cream and leave to cool.

Step eight

Whisk the remaining double cream until thick and gloopy.

Step nine

Once everything is cool combine the meringues, cream, caramel and apple to taste. I let everyone do this to their own preferences in individual bowls which worked really well.

Sprinkle chopped pecans and grate nutmeg over the top (if you like it) to finish.



It’s great to have you back.