At a certain time of year, beginning in September, the stats for one of my posts shoot upwards. It always makes me smile as I know that people are hunting urgently for things to make with their glut of damsons. Continue reading
October is upon us and with it, the colder air of autumn. It’s a great time of the year to bake things with apples and cinnamon, such as these spiced fruit scones. I made two batches of them this week: they are very moreish!
I adapted the recipe to make the scones without refined sugar and decided to use spelt flour as a change from regular wheat flour. If you don’t have coconut sugar and spelt flour to hand, you can simply use all-purpose flour and brown sugar.
Recipe adapted from p. 39 of The Vegetarian Cookbook (1985) by Doreen Keighley
This quantity of mixture makes 8 scones.
1 lb (3 1/3 cups) wholegrain spelt flour
4 oz (1/2 cup) margarine
4 oz (1/2 cup) sultanas
4 oz (1/2 cup) unrefined coconut sugar
1 dessert apple
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C). If you have a convection oven, lower the temperature to 390 F (200 C).
2. Mix the flour together with the baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon; then rub the margarine into the flour.
3. Beat the eggs and whisk the sugar into the eggs.
4. Grate the apple and add it to the flour mixture, along with the eggs and sugar.
5. Mix together to form a dough, adding the sultanas.
6. On a floured board, roll out the dough and divide it into eight pieces. Shape the pieces into scones.
7. Place the scones on a greased baking tray, brush the tops with a little milk or beaten egg, then bake for 15 minutes until they are golden brown and your kitchen smells delicious!
There are many poems which capture the atmosphere of this time of year but none better, in my opinion, than Ode to Autumn by John Keats. A lot of the poetry about this season is filled with laments, sadness and descriptions of harsh October winds but Keats’s poem is rich with the comforting imagery of a bountiful autumn, ripening the fruits and filling the air with the lingering fragrance of summer.
Autumn, season of mists…
…and mellow fruitfulness
ODE TO AUTUMN
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cell.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
All my plans for today went out the window this morning when I had to sort out my car insurance which meant that for most of the day, I was on the phone or the internet. In one word: stressful!
What I would rather be doing now is enjoying the glorious October weather and watching the sun rise like this:
And breathe in the air of misty October mornings:
And then watch the gorgeous colors as the sun goes down:
It’s started getting darker and the nights are really lengthening now as we head towards winter.
This recipe is great for this time of year because it’s apple season!
I used apples from my own orchard for this recipe. They were windfalls, blown down by some strong winds which we had a couple of weeks back, and so it was necessary to cut out the bruised and damaged parts. Therefore I can’t give an exact measurement for the amount of apples you will need to use as the measurement I give in the ingredient list below is based on peeled and chopped apples.
It is my own recipe and the ingredient quantities are approximate. So if you find that the topping is too dry, add more margarine or if your apple mixture isn’t sweet enough, add more sugar. Some people say that baking is a fine art and it is true that in some recipes it is vitally important to use exactly the right quantities but in a rustic, traditional recipe like this it doesn’t matter so much if the ingredient quantities are more approximate than accurate. Just use common sense and you will be rewarded with a deliciously sweet treat!
For the apple sauce:
7 cups/700 g chopped tart apple pieces
2 cups/100 g brown unrefined sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
For the topping:
1.5 cups/170 g all-purpose flour (I used a mixture of brown and white flour)
Two-thirds cup/85 g brown sugar
1/2 cup/50 g rolled oats
1/2 cup margarine
1. Peel the apples and chop them into approx. 2 inch pieces.
2. Cook the apples in a saucepan on a medium heat until they are like an applesauce with a few soft chunks of apple in the mixture. This should take about 20 – 25 minutes. Mix the sugar and cinnamon into the apples when they are nearly cooked. The apples shouldn’t stick to the pan when cooking as long as you check them and stir them often, and lower the temperature if necessary. If they do stick, add a very small amount of water and stir.
3. Now that you have the apple sauce prepared, pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C. I use a convection oven and have to adjust oven temperatures but if you use a regular oven, pre-heat it to 390F/200C.
4. While the oven is heating up, prepare the topping for the apple crisp. Stir the flour, oats, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, mixing well. Then add the margarine. Using your fingertips, mix the margarine into the flour mixture until crumbly.
5. Pour the apples into a large baking dish and evenly sprinkle with the topping mixture.
6. Bake in the oven for approx. 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and crunchy.
7. Serve warm or cold, whichever you prefer. I like it warm served with crème fraîche or ice cream. But it is very tasty served cold for breakfast too!
As always, if you have any questions or comments about this recipe or anything on the blog, let me know.