Two of my favourite baking challenges have joined forces this month. Random Recipes by Dom of Bellau Kitchen, and Aphabakes, by Ros of The more than occasional baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes, have joined together to create an Alphabakes Random Recipe Challenge.
The idea is to choose a cook book at random and then randomly choose and cook a recipe in the A section of the index.
Most of my cook books are now packed ready for moving house so my choice was limited to the remaining few in one bookcase. Glancing along the shelf I saw this book by Laura Washburn:
Thinking that apples conveniently begin with the letter A, I took it off the shelf and discovered a post-it already attached to a page, one I had obviously bookmarked for baking some time ago. So I decided to cook that. I hope that’s random enough to comply with the rules of the challenge!
I deviated slightly from the recipe as I wanted to use up a few plums remaining from baking a crumble the previous weekend, but other than that I was reasonably true to the original. I also conveniently had half a pack of ready made shortcrust pastry in the fridge left over from making a quiche.
I had never heard of a “dappy” before I bought this book (one of my charity shop finds) and essentially it’s like a pastry roly-poly, filled with fruit instead of jam and sliced before baking. The author describes it as a little known dish from the West Country.
I now have several of Laura Washburn’s books, the first one I acquired being a Christmas present a few years ago called “the French country table”. I have cooked quite a few recipes from all of them and they have always been a success.
As well as charity shops I find a good way of acquiring cook books for a very modest price is to use the “used and new” offer on Amazon. I have collected some really good books for the cost of only 1p each plus postage, which is usually £2.80. One or two of the used books have been slightly grubby and very well used, but at that price, if it doesn’t inspire me, I am quite happy to take it back to the charity shops, which is where I imagine most of these 1p books come from in the first place. Most of the used books have been in near perfect condition.
As shop bought plums can be a bit firm I usually cook them before putting them into a crumble or pie, so I cooked these along with the apples and also added a dash of cinnamon for extra flavour. There was a bit too much fruit so rather than make the pastry too difficult to roll up by over filling it, I just tucked the extra in between the pastry rolls in the tin.
It was delicious! A nice change from a pie or crumble and I will definitely be making it again. I have to say that the shop bought ready made pastry was good too. I’m using it at the moment to save time but I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again and again.
250g ready made shortcrust pastry, approx half a pack
5 large plums, halved, stoned then cubed
2 medium eating apples, peeled, cored and cubed
2 tblsp golden caster sugar
½tsp ground cinnamon
1tblsp demerara sugar
Put the cubed fruit into a medium saucepan with a splash of water and heat gently for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is tender. Stir in the caster sugar and cinnamon and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220°C / 200°fan / gas mk 7. Line a 20cm square baking tin or dish with baking paper.
Roll out the pastry into an oblong approximately 20 x 30 cm.
Spread the cooked fruit over the pastry and roll up like you would a Swiss roll, from one long side.
Cut the roll into 7* even slices and lay one slice in the centre of the dish, cut side up. Arrange the remaining slices around the centre one, not touching as the pastry will expand. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
Serve with custard, cream, ice cream or crème fraîche.
*I followed the instructions and cut the roll into 7 slices but next time I will cut it into 8, to make portioning easier and fairer !!