We are deep into harvest-time here, and even with our very small gardening efforts, it is quite hard work! I have been busy making jam and chutney, and freezing produce as quickly as I can. Today I made a couple of kilos of Delia Smith’s Old Dower House Chutney (scroll down for the recipe) , using plums and tomatoes from our garden, and apples from my mother-in-law’s mini-trees. I also made blackberry and apple butter (a River Cottage recipe, which is delicous!), again with fruit from our garden. We are also struggling to find 1001 different things to make with courgettes (zucchini) – what a difference from last year when our courgette harvest numbered 2!
We use a lot of cooking apples – so I am glad to have the apples from Grandma, especially as our neighbours have felled the ancient apple tree that we harvested from in previous years (an act of vandalism that makes me so sad I try not to think about it…). One of my boys will eat bowl after bowl of stewed apple sweetened with a little honey (not much, he likes it sour!), so we almost always have stewed apple in the fridge. I have developed this recipe to use up any left overs, when there are any!
It makes a large, quite dense, weave-your-own-lentils kind of loaf, which is brilliant for breakfast or afternoon tea. This is not sophisticated baking! However it is fabulously filling and makes wonderful toast, which is great for these cooler autumn mornings. Hope you like it!
You will need a large loaf tin for this large loaf! Mine measures 9″ by 5″ and is about 5″ deep. If you don’t have a tin this size, you could try dividing the dough in half and cooking it in two smaller tins. You will need to decrease the cooking time – check the loaves after about 25 minutes. I haven’t tried this yet, but it should work!
100g lukewarm water (and maybe a little more for later in the recipe)
5g dried yeast or fast action yeast (or 10g fresh yeast)
300g plain wholemeal flour & 300g strong white flour (or whatever combination of flour you want to use)
300g of stewed apple/apple sauce (basically cooking apples put in a pan with a very small amount of water and heated gently until you get apple fluff! 3-4 medium Bramley apples gives me about 300g. If you don’t have quite enough apple, then just add a little more water during the kneading process)
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
200g currants/sultanas/raisins (or a mixture – whatever you like really)
1) If using fresh yeast or dried yeast, put the water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast. Leave for a few minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve.If using fact action yeast, omit this stage and just add the yeast to the bowl with the other ingredients.
2) Add the flour, apple sauce, honey and salt to the water & yeast mixture. Knead or use your mixer to create a soft, very slightly sticky dough. If you didn’t quite have enough apple sauce, and the dough feels a bit stiff, add a little more water at this stage.
3) Add the dried fruit and knead a little more to distribute through the dough.
4) Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth/cling film, then leave until doubled in size – this takes an hour or so, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
5) When the dough has had its first rise, preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4/180C.
6) Transfer the dough to loaf tin lined with baking parchment. Place inside a large polythene bag and leave until nicely risen again (30 to 45 minutes).
7) Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
8) Remove from the tin to cool. If you like, whilst the loaf is still warm, you can brush the top with a little honey to give it an inviting shine.