I hate it when you spend good money on something to eat and then when you get it home, it tastes like cardboard. I bought a bag of apples the other day, and not just any old apple either . . . Pink Ladies. When I got them home and bit into one, it had about as much flavour as a piece of paper. ZIP!
There was no sweetness to it . . . none of that juiciness that you would expect from an apple. Perhaps I am just spoiled . . . or maybe it is just apples at this time of year. In any case I was really disappointed and I had spent almost £3 on 4 apples. If the price of petrol wasn't so high I would have gone back to the store with them., but instead I just grumbled about it and that was that.
It was the same as a punnet of pears that I bought, supposedly home-ripening. HAH! A week later, they are still as hard as rocks, and I took a bite from one today and it was BLECH! I seriously doubt they will ever ripen. It's positively criminal. I can't wait until the apples, plums and pears are ready on our trees!
I had gotten some Granny Smith's to make Todd an apple pie with, but today I didn't feel like making a pie and I made this apple tray bake instead, which is (in my opinion) just as good if not better than an apple pie, and I think a whole lot easier and I was feeling rather lazy . . .
With their buttery short bread base and sweet apple filling, not to mention that short buttery crumble topping, these always go down a real treat. You can use whatever flavour of jam you want in them. Today I used raspberry jam because that is what I had on hand. They turned out fabulous! As always. Not quite pie . . . but then again, I never heard anyone complaining either!
*Apple Crumble Tray Bake*
Makes one 8 inch square pan
Delicious apple bars with a shortbread type base, a layer of raspberry jam, a sweet apple filling and a moreishly butter topping. Glaze or not as desired.
For the base:
187g of plain flour (1 1/3 cups)
2 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/2 cup)
For the filling:
4 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
5 TBS granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash each of ground cardamom and freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp corn flour (corn starch)
2 TBS lemon juice
2 heaped dessertspoons of raspberry jam (about 1/4 cup)
For the topping:
70g plain flour
3 TBS granulated sugar
4 TBS unsalted butter, softened
pinch each salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line with baking paper, leaving an overhang. Butter the paper. Set aside.
Sift the flour for the base into a bowl. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Drop in the butter and rub it in with your finger tips until you have a mixture resembling bread crumbs.
Press this evenly into the prepared pan, pressong down firmly. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges.
To make the filling, put the apples into a skillet along with the sugar and spices. Cover over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, but still holding their shape. Whisk together the corn flour and lemon juice. Stir this into the apple mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Make the crumble topping by whisking the flour, sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingers until you get a clumpy mixture.
After the initial baking of the crust, remove it from the oven. Loosen the jam with a fork and then spread it evenly over the hot base. Top with the apple filling. (I use my hands to spread it out evenly) Top with the crumble topping, scattering it evenly over top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the pan before lifting out and cutting into squares to serve.
An optional glaze can be made by whisking together 65g (1/2 cup) of icing sugar and enough lemon juice to give you a smooth and drizzable mixture. Drizzle this decoratively over top of the apple bake and allow to set prior to cutting.