When it comes to cooking, all apples (and there are lots of 'em!) aren't created equal. The glossy green Granny smith is arguably the best apple for cooking, especially in purées and sauces. Its natural tartness makes it ideal for relishes. golden delicious apples have juicy, aromatic flesh and are perfect to use when you want apples to hold their shape after cooking (as in our cider-roasted spatchcock). They are also suited to apple tarts and could be used in place of Braeburns in the apple, ginger and almond cake. Crisp and juicy braeburns, with a pink-red blush against green skin, are great baking apples, although some would argue they are best enjoyed when eaten raw. Another blushing variety is the pink lady, a cross between golden delicious and Lady Williams. A very popular eating apple, its firm dense flesh also holds up well to caramelising, baking and for use in pies. Dark red and elongated, red delicious are the least suited to cooking. They're best put to use thinly sliced raw through salads, where their sweetness is beautifully offset with a piquant dressing. Other great cooking apples include cox's orange pippin, lady williams and, if you can get your hands on them, crabapples, which make the finest tarte Tatin you could hope to eat (look out for the John Downie variety).
- 3 Braeburn apples
- 30 ml lemon juice
- 200 gm almond meal
- 165 gm unblanched almonds
- 3 eggs
- 175 gm raw caster sugar
- 110 gm honey, plus extra for drizzling
- 2½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- To serve: crème fraîche (optional)
- 1Peel and coarsely chop one apple, combine in a small saucepan with lemon juice and 1½ cups water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and cook for 25 minutes or until apple is very soft and water has evaporated. Press through a fine sieve and set aside.
- 2Preheat oven to 160C. Process almond meal and 155gm whole almonds in a food processor until finely ground, set aside. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs, 165gm sugar and honey for 4-5 minutes or until thick and pale, then add apple purée, almond mixture, 2 tsp ginger and baking powder and mix to combine. Spoon mixture into a greased and baking paper-lined 22cm-diameter springform pan, smoothing top.
- 3Using a mandolin, thinly slice remaining apples and arrange over cake mixture in concentric circles, overlapping slightly, then brush apples with melted butter.
- 4Coarsely chop remaining almonds, combine in a small bowl with remaining sugar and ginger then scatter over cake. Bake for 1 hour or until golden and a skewer withdraws clean (cover with foil if cake browns before cooking time is completed). Cool for 20 minutes then remove, drizzle with honey and serve with crème fraîche.