Darina Allen: An apple cake that is best served warm with lots of cream 

Darina Allen: An apple cake that is best served warm with lots of cream 

Autumn is well and truly upon us. There is a nip in the air and the leaves of the Virginia Creeper in the courtyard have turned glorious shades — rich reds, deep orange and yellow. We’ve been foraging for hazelnuts, elderberries, damsons, harvesting apples, and picking up windfalls. We’ve got a poor enough crop this year, largely due to several frosty nights during apple blossom earlier in the year.

If you didn’t manage to plant a few apple trees last year, it’s time to dash off to your nearest garden centre to pick up a Crimson Bramley tree, the variety that makes the fluffiest apple sauce and glorious apple pies, tarts and fritters, jams and jellies.
The windfalls are perfect for apple sauce. Don’t worry about the odd bruise or slug bite, just cut them out. 

Give the apples a good wash but for apple jelly, don’t bother to peel. Add the stalks and seeds too — they all add extra pectin and contribute to the deliciousness. I’ve noticed that many young people are conditioned to seeing ‘perfect’ fruit in supermarkets, most of which have been heavily sprayed. They have never seen ‘real’ fruit, larger or smaller or misshapen versions so are scared to eat anything that’s not perfect. These fruits often taste even more delicious.

Myrtle Allen’s apple snow

We love this simple, traditional featherlight pudding. It’s great with shortbread biscuits or even Lady Fingers — amazingly delicious for little effort


  • 450g (1lb) Arthur Turner, Lanes Prince Albert or Bramley cooking apples

  • approximately 50g (2oz) granulated sugar

  • 2 organic egg whites

  • cream, soft brown sugar and shortbread biscuits or Lady Fingers, to serve


  1. Peel and core the apples, cut into chunks and put into a saucepan. Add the sugar and 1-2 dessertspoons of water, cover and cook over a low, gentle heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then until the apples dissolve into a fluff. Rub through a nylon sieve or liquidise. Bramley apples can be very sour at the beginning of the season, taste and add a little more sugar if it seems too tart.

  2. Whisk the egg whites until stiffly whipped, then fold in gently. Taste, pour into a pretty glass bowl, pop into the fridge and serve well chilled with cream, soft brown sugar and shortbread biscuits or Lady Fingers.

Bramley apple and sweet geranium jelly

recipe by:Darina Allen

A simple and delicious recipe using Bramley Seedling apples.

Total Time

1 hours 20 mins


  • 6lb crab apples or Bramley Seedlings

  • 2.7 litres water

  • 6-8 large sweet geranium leaves (Pelargonium Graveolens)

  • 2 lemons

  • Sugar


  1. Wash the apples and cut into quarters, no need to peel or core. Windfalls may be used, but make sure to cut out any bruised parts. Put the apples in a large saucepan with the water, geranium leaves and the thinly pared rind of the lemons.

  2. Cook until reduced to a pulp, approx 30 minutes. Turn the pulp into a jelly bag and allow to drip until all the juice has been extracted – usually overnight.

  3. Measure the juice into a preserving pan. Warm the sugar in a moderate oven 180°C/gas mark 4 for about 10 minutes, allow 450g sugar to each 600ml of juice.

  4. Squeeze the lemons, strain the juice and add to the preserving pan, add a few more geranium leaves if the flavour is still very mild. Bring to the boil and add the sugar. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil rapidly without stirring for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the geranium leaves.

  5. Skim, test and then pour the jelly into sterilised jars, put a sweet geranium leaf in each jar.

  6. Cover and seal immediately. Makes 6-7 pots

Swedish apple and cardamom cake

recipe by:Darina Allen

Delicious served warm as a pudding or with a cup of coffee


  • 2 large eggs preferably free-range and organic

  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar

  • 110g (4oz) butter

  • 150ml (5fl oz) creamy milk

  • 185g (6 1½ oz) plain flour

  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom

  • 3 tsp baking powder

  • 2-3 Bramley Seedling cooking apples (350-400g/12-14oz approx.)

  • 25g (1oz) caster sugar

  • For the cardamom sugar:

  • 20g (¾ oz) caster sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom

  • Equipment: 

  • 1 x 23cm (9 inch) round springform tin


  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas Mark 6.

  2. Grease the springform tin with a little butter and dust with flour shaking off any excess.

  3. Whisk the eggs and the caster sugar in a bowl until the mixture is really thick and fluffy. Bring the butter and milk to the boil in a saucepan, and stir, still boiling, into the eggs and sugar. Sieve in the flour, add the ground cardamom and baking powder and fold carefully into the batter so that no lumps of flour remain. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Peel and core the apples and cut into thin slices, arrange them overlapping on top of the batter — some will sink but don’t worry. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4, for a further 20 – 25 minutes or until the apples are tender and the cake is well risen and golden brown. Sprinkle with cardamom sugar. Serve with softly whipped cream or custard.


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‘You can’t cook well if you don’t understand your ingredients’ — a quotation from Glynn Christian’s new book ‘Taste! How to Choose the Best Deli Ingredients’ encompasses the knowledge he has accumulated over 45 years in the food business and he’s on a mission to

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