Taste the Season with British Apples and Pears:
Apple, Bramble & Pear Tray Bake Recipe
I LOVE autumn, it’s my favourite season by far, and one of the reasons I am so in tune with the season, apart from the glorious foliage, is the abundance of produce that is available now…….pumpkins, walnuts, cobnuts, squash, quince, blackberries, elderberries, cabbages of all shapes and sizes, onions, shallots, sprouts, carrots, leeks as well as two of my favourite fruits, apples and pears. Without getting into a deep debate, for me, the best apples and pears are British – we are a nation of orchard fruit growers and our climate is prefect for producing these two delicious fruits. Not only do we have the perfect climate, but we also have a multitude of different varieties, in fact over 17,000 apple varieties have been catalogued throughout history…….old fashioned names from my childhood spring to mind, and I remember eating apples such as Worcester Pearmain, Beauty of Bath, Egremont Russet, Crispin, Laxton’s Superb, Blenheim Orange and Catshead Cookers, which are brilliant cooking apples that my grandmother used to have in her garden. Some of these apples are very hard to source now, although there is a resurgence in resurrecting old orchards; but, I am pleased to say that all is not lost, as I have recently discovered that not only can I find some of these lesser known and old British varieties at my local farmer’s Markets, but I have also found them in Sainsbury’s supermarket too. In fact, Sainsbury’s has just been officially listed as the no.1 supermarket for British apples and pears, which is GREAT news……..
……..plus, they are Bramley Retailer of the Year – being the only supermarket to stock apples descended from the original Bramley apple. So, amongst the trays of Cox’s Orange Pippins, which incidentally are my favourite apple, you will also find Egremont Russet, Worcester, Charles Ross as well as Bramleys and Cox’s. I was also pleased to see British pears too, and I was able to buy some Conference and Comice pears in my local branch.
Apples and pears are the mainstay of the lunch box, and with good reason; they are the perfect snack and well as being healthy, who doesn’t love that first bite into a crisp, juicy apple or tender, scented pear……..one of my earliest memories is sitting in my grandparents garden, on an old wooden bench that was built AROUND the apple tree, and biting into a succulent, juicy apple…….sweets and chocolate were a weekly treat on Saturdays in those days; so, apples, as well as pears, were our daily desserts or snacks, and we were also allowed to pick them ourselves – how very grown-up! I also remember that alongside a tangerine, a new shilling and a bag of chocolate money at the bottom of my Christmas stocking, I would always have an apple, a Cox’s Orange Pippin, my favourite apple – sweetly scented, crunchy and tangy, and often eaten in the dark on Christmas morning with the weight of my “yet to be explored” stocking on my feet.……that simple pleasure still resonates with me today, when I enjoy an apple or pear as a mid-afternoon snack. And, one of my favourite meals is a Ploughman’s Lunch – served with a Cox’s Orange Pippin and all the other “trimmings” such as chutney or pickle, cheese, tomato and crusty bread of course…..
But back to my recent apple and pear tasting session! I managed to pick up several types of British apples and pears at my local Sainsbury’s recently, and my orchard booty comprised: Cox’s Orange Pippins, Royal Gala, Gala, Bramley apples, Conference and Comice pears. It was my plan to eat most of the fruit as a healthy snack, as well as with a ploughman’s lunch as you can see above, but I also wanted to create a seasonal recipe to showcase these British orchard fruits, and what better than an Apple, Bramble & Pear Tray Bake. Not only did I make this delectable tray bake with both apples and pears, for a combination of textures and flavours, but I threw in another seasonal fruit, the humble hedgerow blackberry – a natural partner for my apples and pears. This recipe is half cake and half pudding, and it was devoured with gusto when I placed in on the table the other day! I initially served it as a hot pudding, with a goodly dollop of cream, but I imagine that a creamy custard or rich vanilla ice cream would also be a perfect pairing. It’s easy to make and as I discovered, it freezes well too, making it a handy supper pudding to whip out when time is at a premium.
If you don’t have any fresh blackberries, then frozen berries, or even tinned will do, and with the British apple and pear season in full swing now, there will be no problem sourcing good home-grown fruits. Don’t forget Apple Day on the 21st October; this annual celebration of apple, orchards and local distinctiveness is a great excuse to buy, eat and cook with local apples, as well as pears. Initiated by Common Ground in 1990 it has since been celebrated each year by people organising hundreds of local events, including Apple Tree Dressing! I wonder if any of Sainsbury’s Concept Orchards will be dressed this year, with Britain’s traditional apple and pear orchards dwindling in recent years, they launched a pioneering idea called Concept Orchards in 2006. They now have four orchards in Kent, where new growing methods and varieties are trialled, giving British apple and pear production a much-needed boost. I may dress my apple and pears trees, as well as my quince tree too……I’ll let you know if I do and post photos with a new apple recipe!
Talking of fruit trees, I will have to run along now, as I still have a mountain of fruit to pick and preserve; and I also want to preserve some of the pears I bought recently, and this is the recipe I will be using as my thoughts turn towards Christmas and the festive season: Spiced Mulled Pears in a Jar…………..
………the recipe for my Apple, Bramble & Pear Tray Bake Recipe is below; and please do check out my other apple and pear recipes – I have several on the blog, including my Old Fashioned Scottish Apple and Ginger Chutney, Apple Scones and Harvest Apple Cake, Pear, Goat’s Cheese and Walnut Muffins.……..more recipes can be found here: Apple Recipes. That’s all for now, do call back later, as I have a new giveaway, some more travellers notes and some new recipes! Karen
Apple, Bramble & Pear Tray Bake
|Serves||12 to 15 squares|
|Prep time||20 minutes|
|Cook time||55 minutes|
|Total time||1 hours, 15 minutes|
|Meal type||Dessert, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot|
|Occasion||Casual Party, Christmas, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 150g butter (unsalted, and a little extra for greasing)
- 250ml creme fraiche (half a 500ml tub)
- 200g golden caster sugar, plus a little for sprinkling on top (or soft brown sugar for a denser and more caramel flavoured cake)
- 3 free-range eggs
- 280g plain flour
- lemon juice
- 2 Bramley apples (peeled, cored and cut into small slices)
- 2 Conference or Comice pears (peeled, cored and cut into small slices)
- 250g fresh blackberries (or frozen if fresh aren't available)
Autumn fruits are brought together in a delightfully easy to make tray bake; juicy British apples and pears marry well with fresh (or frozen) brambles (blackberries) and a slice of this tray bake will be welcomed in the school (or work) lunch box as a seasonal treat, as well as being wonderful when served as a hot pudding with cream, custard, ice cream or crème fraiche. If you want a denser, more pudding and toffee tasting cake, then use soft brown sugar, but remember to use golden caster sugar for the topping finish! Perfect for cold weather picnics as well as a special dessert for a family mid-week meal or Sunday dinner. Can be frozen after baking.
|Step 1||Pre-heat the oven to 180C/360F/Gas Mark 6. Grease a large baking or roasting tray with butter and then dust with a little flour. Toss the prepared apples and pears in a little lemon juice, to stop them discolouring whilst you prepare the cake mixture.|
|Step 2||Put the crème fraiche and butter together into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil; set aside. Whisk the eggs into the sugar until the mixture is thick and turns a pale colour - this usually takes me 3 to 5 minutes with a hand whisk.|
|Step 3||Add the butter and crème fraiche mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk together for 2 minutes, then gently fold in the flour and mix until the batter is smooth.|
|Step 4||Arrange the blackberries over the base of the prepared baking tray and then pour over the cake batter, before scattering the apple and pears over the top; Sprinkle some golden caster sugar over the top, about 1 to 2 tablespoons, and put any apples and pears down into the batter that are sticking up, as they might brown too quickly.|
|Step 5||Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the cake top is golden brown and the middle of the cake is firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting in squares, or if serving as a hot pudding, allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving warm with cream, crème fraiche, ice cream or custard.|
|Step 6||Makes about 12 to 15 squares. Can be frozen.|
a STUNNING tray bake… I know exactly how wonderful your kitchen must have smelt because I have an apple and pear cinnamon cake in the oven as I type and the aromas are mouthwatering!… I love the idea of the tray bake as it really mushes and melds all those wonderful flavours together… divine stuff Mrs!
Thanks so much Dom, it was a veritable feast for the eyes and the nose when I pulled this beauty out of the oven!! I can’t wait to see your apple, pear and cinnamon cake, I bet its totally divine darlink! Karen
Im interested in the heating of the butter and Creme fraiche , does this work ok? I can imagine it curdles?
Karen Burns-Booth says
Hi – Crème Fraîche doesn’t split or curdle when heated as normal cream does. Karen
ok great! Going to bake now 🙂
Also, one other question, what size tin did you use?
Karen Burns-Booth says
Hi again, I cannot remember, but it will have been one about 20cm x 18cm or 10″ x 9″ – or thereabouts! Karen
I love Russet apples and managed to buy some at the local farmers market last week. I like cox apples too but only the first ones of the season when they are really crisp and sharp. Great bake there, we finished off our pear and bramble tart last night, it kept really well in the fridge.
Russets are also a favourite of mine too Janice, and my mum adores them! Can’t wait to see your apple and bramble tart, hope you are sharing it on your blog? Karen
Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand says
Beautifully seasonal tray bake. So delicious and seasonal. Happy and comforting food!
Many thanks Jacqueline – it was an instant hit the other day when I served it as a “pudding” with cream! Karen
Camilla @Fabfood4all says
I love cooked apples, pears and blackberries and baked in an envelope of caramelised yumminess, what could be better at this time of year:-)
Thanks Camilla! I know what you mean about cooked apples, pears and blackberries being baked in an envelope of deliciousness, and this was a pretty delish tray bake! Karen
No cant get Bramley’s in my part of France and as yet not come across anything like them??
But will give these a try with something else
Hi Cath! Whereabouts are you in France? I am in the Charente Maritime and a local garden centre sells Bramleys, as they have some trees! If you are not in the area, than, Granny Smith or Braeburn are good substitutes! Karen
What a gorgeous post, evoking the joys of autumn, my favourite season too! I went to an apple fair last weekend and filled a pick n mix bag with about 20 different local varieties – the problem is there were so many delicious ones I can’t remember the names of them!
Thanks for the information about Apple Day – I’d never heard of it but I think I may dress my trees – they deserve a treat as they’ve served me very well this year!
Your bake looks absolutely lovely, I love these sort of cakes. I still have some of my apple harvest left and was debating about doing a tarte tatin but I think I’m going to try this one – I can’t resist!
Thank you Karen!
Thanks for your lovely comments Katharine! I am so pleased that I managed to evoke the feeling of this most glorious of seasons….I am HUGELY envious of your bag of apples too, what a find. I DID dress my apple trees last year and I may do it again this year, why not eh? Let me know if you dress yours too! Tarte tatin, oh yes, another favourite of mine! Karen
What Kate Baked says
What a great post Karen- I loved reading all your descriptions of all the scrumptious seasonal fruit. And a lovely, lovely sounding Autumnal recipe- half cake and half pudding is always a winner!
Thanks Kate, I also LOVED your apples and pears post – such lovely autumnal photos too…..Karen
That looks great Karen. I’m a big fan of baking with fresh, seasonal fruit and this looks just the ticket – moist and more-ish. I think I’d have mine with custard. I think my favourite apples are coxes orange pippin and egremont russet – I love an apple with a crisp crunch and refreshing flavour, and hate anything mealy or soggy. Pears are tricky. I like them, but it’s hard to catch the right point to eat them at. I do like a crisp conference though. Yum.
Your favourite apples are my favourites too Caroline! I do love our own home-grown apples in the UK, so crispy and full of flavour. I know what you mean about pears, they can be a bit “blah” if you don’t catch them at the right time….luckily, the conference pears I used in this recipe were just right!
I am across at Poitou Charentes but nearly into Limousin, will try the Granny’s
Love your Blog and follow it each day, made some lovely dishes
Followed your Salted Caramel Apple Pie’s the other day and they are to die for
But next time going to make them a little bigger, 3″ was to small..lol
Ah, we are not that far away then! We used to live near Couhe and Poitiers, before we moved from the Vienne to the Charente Maritime….SO pleased you follow my blog…..I do have some nice new recipes for autumn coming up, Karen
Andrea Mynard says
Enjoyed the post and love the look of this recipe Karen, perfect as I have just been picking apples today and was in need of new inspiration. Thanks. Andrea
Thanks Andrea…..I enjoyed creating this recipe and also enjoyed writing the post too…..I have some more apple recipes coming up next week as well as some Quince recipes. Karen
The tray bake looks absolutely amazing!
Maya Russell says
Absolutely love the pictures. The recipe looks yum too!
Alan C says
This looks like a great way to use up fruit
Karen Booth says
IT is SUCH a tasty and EASY dessert to make!
Lisa Williams says
This looks so great thank you this will use up the glut of apples from my tree perfectly 🙂
Fiona Matters says
This looks so lovely. I have a load of apples that need used up and this is very tempting.
Fiona Matters says
This is exactly what I’m looking for to finish off my fruit before I move home! Really looking forward to making it later this week. Shared on g+