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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

a is for apple, b is for bramley...

I love the aromas of autumn, and coming from Clonmel, the home of Irish cider, means that the smell of apple is one of the most evocative smells for me. When the apples were brought in from the orchards and piled in huge mountains in the apple yards that aroma that hung over the town on a dark cloudy evening was something so special that the merest whiff of apple takes me back to 'the Narrow Street' behind the Friary in an instant.

Crumbles, pies, tarts and cakes or curries, stews, roasts and sauces. An apple can be in a supporting role or the star of both sweet and savoury dishes. There is such a huge variety of these most lovely of fruits, although to look in the supermarkets you would be forgiven for believing otherwise. Commerce dictates that only a few apples stock the shelves and this is a great pity. In our house a 'Pink Lady' from the salad drawer of the fridge is a favourite afternoon snack, a crisp 'Granny Smith' will liven up a homemade coleslaw and a 'Coxs Pippin' from one of our own apple trees is a seasonal delicacy. However, it is the big 'Bramley' that's the most versatile when baking. Everyone seems to love a 'Bramley' apple tart and this is my portable version, tucked into a lunch box or squirreled over to the office with a steaming cup of tea - it needs neither plate nor cutlery, and leaves not a trace.
I nearly always use pecans for this topping they go so nicely with the cinnamon and apple, but walnuts or hazelnuts work well also…

'Apple Pie' Muffins

For the topping

2oz of nuts, chopped coarsely 
2oz light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
handful of the chopped apple, see below
two tablespoons of icing sugar

For the muffin batter

14oz of plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4oz of butter softened
6 oz soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
9oz finished weight of brambly apples, peeled, cored and chopped

200ml sour cream 
25 ml regular milk 
1 egg beaten

Liberally butter a 12-hole muffin tin and preheat the oven to 180C.

Make the topping by putting your chopped 'Bramleys', about one quarter of the finished flesh, in a bowl with the cinnamon, nuts and sugar and set aside.

Make the dry mixture, putting the flour, and baking powder into a bowl, and rub in the softened butter. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon and lastly the remaining apple flesh.

Make the wet mixture, mixing the sour cream, milk and egg together.

Add the wet to the dry mix, stir well to combine - being careful not to over mix. Spoon the batter into the buttered muffin tin and sprinkle the topping generously over each one. Bake for 25 mins, leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing to a wire rack. Dissolve your icing sugar with a little drop of water and drizzle over the top when completely cool. If I am to be honest here, I must admit that I only ever drizzle eight muffins with icing as 4 are always devoured hot from the oven.


  1. Oh what a fabulous idea! I would love to have one of these lurking in my lunchbox, they sound absolutely delicious and just the right combination of tart and sweet.

  2. OK, I can tackle 3 of these for my elevenses; that leaves 9 for the others to share. Is that fair?

  3. I wish that I had one of these right now for my (late) lunch. I would forgo lunch just to have one with tea...Which only leaves 8 if Mise gets her hands on the first few....

  4. Love the idea of making these bite-sized and portable. I love anything with apples in and this looks right up my street - wish i had one in a little lunch box right now in fact...

  5. These look absolutely stunning! I am so going to try these.


  6. Scrumptious! I've just found you via Fiona Beckett, what a lovely blog, I'm looking forward to following your recipes.

  7. Found your blog via Fiona Beckett too, am glad I did, these look just the job, we have loads of Bramleys this year, so looking for ways of using them up. Great blog.

  8. I am so pleased to find your blog via Fiona Beckett. Love your little muffins, and your photos!


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