We have a very forgiving apple tree in our garden. Neither my husband or I look after it properly, yet every year this lovely apple tree keeps on giving. Every year, we feel guilty for not having pruned it, protected it from the frost, or kept an eye on it, but we are very grateful for the abundance of little red and green apples that we get every August.
It is technically our neighbours’ apple tree, but only judging by where the roots are. The rest is in our garden, leaning its branches on our shed’s roof. So nobody can actually tell that it isn’t ours. Our neighbours are very forgiving, too – they allow us to collect all the apples and use them as we please. I do make an apple pie to thank them every year but then I get all the rest.
I’m not quite sure what type of apples they are, but they are perfect for cooking: firm, tart, and with sweet notes. This year I decided to make a traditional Romanian apple pie, which is not quite like a British pie. So I called it a ‘slice’.
My garden is like a mini collection of kitchen herbs: different types of mint, thymes, chives, oregano, sage, lemon verbena and a couple of rather big rosemary plants. We have so many that we even try them in G&Ts, as well as in cooking.
My inspiration for the rosemary flavoured icing sugar has come from the same apple tree, since they are planted close together. Looking out of the kitchen window, I can see the rosemary plants right in front of the apple tree trunk, all three basking in the sunshine, or bravely facing the rain. It is in that little corner of the garden that the recipe has come together: apple slice with rosemary icing sugar.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe.
For the pastry:
500g plain flour
250g cold butter
125g icing sugar
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
2 tbsp full fat greek yoghurt
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
For the apple filling
450g apples, grated
200g caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
60g pecans or walnuts
zest from 1 lemon
For egg wash:
1 egg yolk mixed with a bit of water
2-3 days in advance make the rosemary flavoured icing sugar:
3 rosemary firs, quite big
50g icing sugar
Combine and leave for a few days.
Make the pastry:
Put the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter, as you do for the shortcrust pastry. Add the sugar, eggs and egg yolks, yoghurt and lemon zest. Use the dough hook of the mixer and mix well, but not too long. Put the dough in the fridge, while you are grating the apples.
Grating the apples: this job requires a bit of muscle. Use the bigger blades of the grater, and drizzle a bit of lemon juice on top of the grated apples from time to time. Mix well and leave for 30 minutes. Then take a handful of the mixture and squeeze tight over another bowl, so you can get rid of all that juice. Do the same with the rest of the grated apples, handful by handful. Collect the juice and drink it as it is, or add a bit of honey and soda water for a refreshing drink.
Bring the dessert together: oil and flour a 23cm baking tray. Take the pasty out of the fridge and divide into two. Roll one half to match the shape of the baking tray and place it in. Now take the apples and spread them evenly on top of the pastry. Sprinkle the sugar on top, then the nuts and the sultanas. Roll the rest of the pastry and place on top. Brush with the egg wash.
Place in the oven, 170C for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to completely cool in the tray, cut into slices and dust with the flavoured sugar.
Serve: cold, as a snack, or with ice-cream.
There are other two recipes using apples: