Almond Caramel Apple Shortcakes

Today’s post is proudly inspired by Mary Berry.


If you’ve never heard of her, firstly, do you live under a rock? Secondly, I’d like you to Google the Great British Bake-Off. I’ll give you a moment to catch up with the rest of the world before coming back to this post. Are we all on the same page now? Good, let’s continue.



Last week my mum and I were watching her cooking show, Mary Berry Cooks, this particular episode being about summer entertaining and afternoon tea. In case you missed it: last week I hosted a Wimbledon afternoon tea party that included this cake. I opted to make one large strawberry shortcake but Mary Berry chose to make several smaller scones to make serving (and thus eating and clean-up) easier. As someone who had heaps of cream dropped over the table, chairs and floor next week, I can testify that making individual shortcakes is a superior method- plus they still look just as appetising.




I paid tribute to Wimbledon with the classic strawberries and cream last week, so I decided that this week would belong to a different combination- apples, cinnamon and caramel. Trust me, it will not disappoint you.



What are some of your favourite flavour combinations? I’m looking to be more adventurous in my recipe testing and I’d love to hear from some of you!

Almond Caramel Apple Shortcakes

Ingredients

For the scones:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar + extra for dusting the scones
  • 2 tsp baking powder*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 tbsp) cold butter, grated like cheese or cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 egg (optional, the recipe still works well without it)
  • a handful of crushed slivered almonds, optional

For the apples:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, sliced thinly
  • 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • 2 tsp icing sugar, optional

For the caramel sauce: 

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh cream
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Start by baking the scones. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350F°. Grease a large rimless baking sheet and like with parchment paper.
  2. Sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the butter to the dry mixture and use our hands to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a dry coarse sand.
  3. Whisk the buttermilk and egg (if using)  together in a large measuring cup or a small bowl, making sure there are no streaks of egg yolk remaining. Reserve about a tablespoon of this mixture for brushing the scones.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should be slightly wet but not so much that it is sticking to your hands. If the dough is too wet then add flour, one tablespoon at a time until it holds together.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and use your hands to press it into a large circle, about 2 cm/¾ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or a small glass to cut the dough into scones. Gather any remaining scraps of dough and mould them together to make one huge scone.
  6. Add the cut scones and your scrap-scone to the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg/buttermilk mixture before topping with the granulated sugar and almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Whilst the scones are baking, core the apples and cut into thin slices. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Toss with the apples, making sure to coat them in the lemon juice. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the caramel. Add the brown sugar to a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Allow the sugar to melt, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula to prevent it from burning. Once the sugar has melted completely and you have a smooth dark brown liquid, pour in the fresh cream. The mixture will sputter and spurt and that’s okay. Cut the butter into the hot brown sugar and stir until it’s completely melted. You should have a smooth, golden brown caramel. Stir in the vanilla essence and a pinch of salt, if desired.
  3. Once the scones have cooled, cut them in half. Layer first with sliced apple, followed by whipped cream and finally topping with warm caramel. If desired, you may dust with icing sugar. Enjoy!
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Hasselback Apple Streusel Cake

What is better than warm apples, cold ice cream and sweet caramel sauce?

The answer: NOTHING. This cake combines all my favourite things into a glorious slice of heaven. It is absolutely beautiful, moist, filling and the crumble just takes it that extra mile. I’ve been in love with this cake since I made a variation of it 2 months ago with bananas. It had all the same themes here, crumbly streusel topping, smooth vanilla ice cream and a gorgeous caramel drizzle to seal the deal. I’d been meaning to make that cake again but unfortunately bananas are out of season! With this unforeseen obstacle ahead, I decided to use apples instead and the result was just as gorgeous. 


Even if you’re not a fan of all the toppings and  add ons, this cake is still beautiful in its natural state. It looks just as wonderful next door to my new ice cream scoop! All in all, this is a winning dessert, reminiscent of winter dinner parties or the holiday season. This cake is perfect for any family get togethers, dinner parties with friends or even when you’re sitting at home with a glass of Chardonnay.

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Hasselback Apple Streusel Cake
Ingredients

For the apples:

  • 3-5 Golden delicious apples
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp castor (granulated) sugar

For the cake:

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 and ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp salt

For the streusel: 

  • ½  cup uncooked rolled oats
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½  cup softened butter

optional: caramel sauce and ice cream for serving

Method

  1. Halve the apples before using a sharp paring knife to slice the apple thinly, making sure not to go all the way to the bottom. It’s okay if you make a mistake, don’t discard any apple slices you end up with. Each slice should be about half a centimetre thick. This is called hasselbacking the apple. If desired, you can quarter the apples so that they aren’t as chunky in the cake. Toss the apples in a small bowl with the lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 10 inch springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into the bowl one by one, stirring well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and buttermilk and stir until combined.
  4. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet. The batter will be very thick. Scrape the batter into the greased springform pan and use the back of a spoon to level it out. Press the hasselbacked apples into the dough, and scatter any stray apple pieces you may have over the surface. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the streusel by combining the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mixing together. Add the butter and use your hands or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly dough.
  6. Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter in an even layer. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, the cake is done when the streusel is a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving. This is best served warm with caramel sauce and ice cream. Lush!

Excuse me while I steal a slice of heaven!

Caramel Apple Buttermilk Scones

Now I know what you’re thinking: scones are what Victorian ladies had at high tea back in 1907 and they have no place in today’s modern society. Well I’m here to tell you that scones can be cool too. Especially when you load the dough with apples and drizzle them in a yummy caramel sauce. WINNING.

Caramel Apple Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients

Scones: 

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

¾ cup castor sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

 Caramel: 

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup fresh cream

4 tbsp butter, cut into cubes

1 tsp vanilla essence

pinch of sea salt

Method 

Make the scones

  1. Preheat you oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two 9×13 inch baking pans with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and sugar into a large bowl and stir to distribute. Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk, egg and vanilla essence. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet, and stop mixing when just incorporated. Add the chopped apples and stir gently. Be careful not to overmanipulate the dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into an 8 inch circle. Use a sharp Chef’s knife to cut it into 8 parts (like a pizza). Transfer the scones to the baking pans, leaving them a distance of 2 inches apart (they spread A LOT). Bake for 25 minutes then remove from the oven and let cool.

Make the caramel:

Add the brown sugar, butter and fresh cream to a saucepan over medium heat and warm together, stirring constantly until combined and is a deep golden colour. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla essence and salt. Store in glass jar and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be kept sealed airtight in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and reheated in the microwave when needed.

Assembly:

When the scones have cooled, drizzle the caramel over them. Serve immediately! Can be kept up to 2 days in a sealed airtight container.

Slow Cooker Apple and Ginger Pork Chops 

Salut tous mes amis!

This week, I decided to experiment with one of my least favourite cuts of meat: pork chops. Yes, seriously, I hate pork chops. I only agree in pork that manifests itself as bacon or ribs. That being said, it doesn’t mean that pork chops are completely unappealing. There are things that can be done to pork chops to make them more delectable, like sticking them in a big cast iron pot with apples, stock, ginger, butternut and a bunch of other stuff, leaving it on the stove for 3 hours and coming back to thisssssssss


YAS.

Slow cooker meals are kinda my thing now. I mean, what could be more attractive than dumping a couple of ingredients in a pot, going to do something else for a couple of hours, and coming back to the most succulent, tender and flavoursome piece of meat you have EVER had?  That’s pretty much everything I need in life.


The best thing about this recipe is that you can choose what to do with the pork when you’re done. You could serve it straight on top of some rice, or shred it  and use in a wrap/enchiladas. Only one thing is certain, not one inch of this meat should go to waste.

This post was inspired by this page from The Kitchn, they are my go-to for cooking advice.

Slow Cooker Apple and Ginger Pork Chops 

Ingredients

3 pork chops

Salt and pepper

Vegetable/canola oil

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ a medium butterut, sliced into cubes of about ½ inch

1 carrot, sliced

1 apple of any variety, sliced thinly

3 tbsp grated ginger

3 cups chicken stock

½ cup apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Start by brining the pork. Fill a large casserole dish with water and add about 1/2 cup of salt to it. Add the prok chops to the brine and refrigerate for an hour before cooking 
  2. Season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large cast iron pot on medium high and sear the chops until brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chops to a plate and drain on paper towels.
  3. Using the same pot, fry the onions and garlic until the onions re translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut and carrot and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the stock, apple cider vinegar, and add the giner and apples to the soup. Bring to boil, stirring frequently before placing the chops carefully on top of everything, making sure to pour some of the soup on top of them.  
  5. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2-3 hours. If you plan on shredding these, you may need to cook for one hour longer until the meat is falling off the bone.
  6.  Serve the meat and veggies with mashed potatoes or rice.