The mornings are crisp, autumn has most definitely arrived. As have 2500 varieties of apple, apparently.
Braeburn Apples have become a favourite over recent years, and my go to. They are tart with just the right touch of sweetness. They are firm but break down nicely in cooks and bakes. They make the most delicious compote [a favourite Bestover – Best + Leftover - during all seasons]. And coincidentally, go really well with peanut butter [a not-so-recent obsession].
While the humble apple is one of the most accessible fruits here in the UK. Here's one way of celebrating this glut, while also not breaking anyone's budget. Featuring almost all of my [current] favourite ingredients. And, served chilled.
Apple + Caramel Slab
nibs etc. original recipe.
For the base:
160g Ground Oats [Oat Flour]
25g Olive Oil
1 tbsp/20g Honey
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Baking Soda
Preheat the oven to 160*C fan/170*C/35*F.
Mix all the ingredients together until fully incorporated, tip into a lightly greased/oiled 19cm x 9 cm / 11" x 7.5", then press down until evenly distributed – it may not look like much, but it should just cover the entire tin in 3-5mm. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside to cool in the tin.
For the Apple-Caramel filling:
500g Apples [I used Braeburn] – peeled, quartered, quartered again and roughly chopped. NOTE: KEEP PEELS.
¼ tsp Cinnamon/All Spice
100g Pitted Dates
1 tbsp Peanut Butter [I used Pip and Nut’s for smoothness, but Pic’s is also a favourite, and chunky is totally recommended].
Toss apples, salt and spice into a saucepan. Mix to combine, turn the heat down on low, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer gently for 20-25 minutes. They are ready when tender, and mashable with spoon – proceed by squishing [technical term] 2/3 with the back of said spoon. Set aside to cool.
While the apples cool, into the same saucepan [rinsed] add roughly chopped dates with water and salt. Turn heat on high to bring to a quick boil, then reduce to medium-high, and bubble away for a further 10 minutes until all water has evaporated and the date ‘caramel’ has reduced to a runny-paste-like consistency [more technical terms].
When ready, add to a blender and blits with your chosen peanut butter of choice, until smooth.
To assemble, first spoon the apple compote over the oat base. Then, pour over the date and peanut butter ‘caramel’. Using a spatula, smooth out into one layer. Using the knife-swirling technique, give the apple and date a quick swirl to make sure everything is evenly distributed, then smooth out with a spatula, and place in the freezer to set.
For the Topping:
Peels from 500g Apples
¼ tsp Maldon Flaky Sea Salt
Pinch ground All Spice/Cinnamon
120g Dark Chocolate [I used 70%]
Preheat the oven to 190*C Fan/200*C/400*F.
Pour melted butter over the peels, before sprinkling with the salt and space, and giving it all a mi with your hands to make everything is evenly distributed. Bake for 9-11 mins – watch CLOSELY, things can change in an instant. When golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool to one side, on the baking tray.
Remove the tray from the freezer and set aside.
Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie [bowl over heated, steaming water]. When melted, pour over the apple-date-peanut ‘caramel’ layer and, moving quickly as it will start to cool and harden instantly, spread into a smooth, thin, even layer. Sprinkle the crisps on top of the melted chocolate and allow to set. Serve immediately.
Alternatively, to serve later, leave the baking of the apple crisps and melting of the chocolate until right before serving. The rest can keep in the freezer for a few days.
Substituting peanut butter for an alternative nut butter of your choice.
As dessert, or breakfast [there are oats in it after all…].
The cores as well [if organic]: boil in a saucepan with a tablespoon of black tea leaves and pinch of ginger and cinnamon [optional]. Strain, and serve with milk and sugar.
Then drink Apple Tea along side a piece of Frozen Apple-Caramel Slab.