The day before Halloween and even with horrible weather we have had our best Halloween for many years. I imagine partly due to it falling on a Saturday, sales of tarts, crumbles, ghost and pumpkin shaped biscuits and chocolate and orange muffins have been selling rapidly all week. But for me the star has been our Apple and Toffee Parcel (see photo). The recipe for this product was kindly given to me by a very good friend and BCA colleague, Martin Wienholt (actually it was his daughter Heather) who own and run a wonderful family business in Alderley Edge, Manchester (well worth a visit if you are in that area).
If you would like to try this recipe at home: Peel core and cube 1 large cooking apple (this apple will make 3-4 parcels), stew until slightly softened in a pan with a knob of butter and one or two tablespoons (depending on how sweet you like your apple) of light soft brown sugar. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Using an ice-cream scoop portion the apple onto a sheet of silicon paper on a tray and freeze. Next day cut 6/7 inch discs of puff pastry (you can buy this ready rolled), place frozen apple in the middle with a toffee sweet on top, fold pastry into the centre and clamp together. I recommend freezing this again and when needed bring from the freezer, egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake from frozen in a pre-heated oven 200 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes. Check temperature and reduce after 15 minutes if it is colouring too much. (Freezing of both the apple and the finished product helps to hold their shape when baking).
Having seen one been devoured by Clare (our sales and marketing girl) with a large dollop of fresh cream at lunch time and when asked she described it as "yummy"! I think this will make a wonderful hot comfort food and will be on our shelves all Winter.
This week North East Ireland Slow Food had a supper event at Nick's Warehouse titled 'Slow Meat' where Nick demonstrated slow cooking methods for cheaper cuts of beef, lamb and pork. He had slow cooked some ox cheek which most of the 26 attendees had never tasted before and to their surprise gave it top marks. This being the first of a series of Slow Food events for the North East Ireland Convivium. The next one on 19th January, also at Nick's Warehouse, will be a presentation by Michael Young MBE, Chairman of the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers, on beekeeping for beginners. If you are interested in this event please contact Clare at: email@example.com
Next week at the bakery Christmas production starts in earnest with mince pies. Christmas cakes and puddings have already been started and the product development hats will be on and hopefully a lot of new ideas for the Season to be Merry, forget the 'credit crunch'!