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The apples are ripe,
The plums are red,
Broadbeans are sleeping in their blankety bed.
Did you sing that song for Harvest Festival in primary school? I can’t get it out of my head these days. This seems to be the most autumny autumn we’ve had in a while – all brisk winds, bright sunshine and russet-coloured leaves – so I went on the hunt for something seasonal to bake. I remembered, thankfully, a recipe for West Country Apple Dappy from a friend, not wishing to investigate dessert that featured broad beans, blankety or otherwise.
(‘It’s called what?’ said the Other Half. ‘Apple Dappy’, I repeated. ‘That’s a stupid name.’ ‘Well, blame the Victorians.’ )
This is essentially a doughy swiss roll, crammed with little squares of apple and covered in sugar. You dice the apple and let it simmer for a while in a pan with lemon juice, a little cold water and a sprig of rosemary. Predictably, I let it simmer for a little while too long and ended up with apple sauce rather than apple squares, but although I suspect it didn’t look as appetizing as it might have done, it didn’t make much difference to the taste.
The dough is fairly straightforward, even though I don’t have the specified food blender; brilliantly, after the butter, sugar and flour, you also add clotted cream, which has to be the most delicious route to a heart-attack I’ve heard of (the portions are quite small, so you don’t need to fear for your arteries). You roll out the dough, spoon out your apple squares [apple slop] over it, then roll it up and slice into little rounds.
Twenty minutes in the oven and the meagre-looking circles have swelled into magnificent golden wheels, glinting with sugar. They taste almost like jam roly poly, but they’re much lighter and softer than suet. The apples were a bit tart for my liking, especially after the lemon juice, but more clotted cream on the side balanced it all out nicely. You could add a little sugar to the apples in the pan, if you wanted. They’d be fabulous with custard as well (but what isn’t?).
Deliciousness: Cold-weather pudding at its best. Filling, warming, and altogether lovely.
Complexity: Soothingly straightforward, even without a food blender (one of these days…).
Washing-up pile: Ten, and a lot of it utensils. Not too bad.
Casualties: The scraped ends of my fingers. Peeling tiny Cox’s apples is not my strong point.