I made the apple cake from Darina Allen’s Traditional Irish Cooking again today to have after roast dinner. A much more appropriate time to serve it up. It’s called Irish Apple Cake but really it’s a type of apple pie made with a soft dough-like pastry. The pastry is quick and easy to make with ingredients you’re always likely to have to hand but be careful when handling as it is very soft and easy to tear. I think the egg wash is essential but I never know what to do with the rest of the egg. It’s one of those times when I wish we still kept quail, quail’s eggs are a perfect size for egg washing pastry. I also added cinnamon and nutmeg as the original recipe only had 2-3 cloves and was a bit bland.
- 225g plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 110g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 50ml milk
- 2 cooking apples
- 4 cloves
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- beaten egg to glaze
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
- Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl
- Rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Add 85g sugar, then make a well and mix in milk and beaten egg until it forms a soft dough (you may need to add more flour if the dough is sticky)
- Divide into two
- Roll out half and place on a greased ovenproof plate
- Peel and core cooking apples and slice apples onto dough
- Sprinkle remaining sugar and spices onto the top
- Roll out other half and place on top
- Press edges of pastry/dough together and egg wash
- Cook for 40 mins
Darina notes that this would have originally been baked in a bastible or pot beside an open fire (similar to a dutch oven).
It used to be that every halfway decent cook in Ireland had their own closely guarded teabread recipe. Mine comes from Irish Traditional Food by Theodora FitzGibbon and is a failsafe recipe I come back to again and again (sadly this book is out of print, if you’re interested in traditional Irish food you should try and track down a copy). The teabread is really simple to make. This quantity makes 3 loaves, you can scale down but since it keeps three always seems a a good amount (I often give away the third to a friend or neighbour). Whenever I’m going to see my Aunty Josie I know I need to make sure I have a loaf of teabread with me.
This should be served sliced and spread with butter, ideally with a cup of tea but also works well in lunch boxes.
- 450g (1lb) Sultanas
- 450g (1lb) raisins
- 450g (1lb) soft brown sugar
- 3 cups (1/2 litre) milkless tea & whiskey mixed (I usually replace about 150ml of the tea with whiskey so 350ml tea, 150 ml whiskey but you could do anything up to half and half) *
- 450g (1lb) plain (soft baking) flour
- 3 level teaspoons baking powder
- 3 level teaspoons mixed spice
- 3 beaten free range eggs
*Adding the whiskey helps the teabread to keep better and subtely improves the flavour
- Soak the fruit and sugar in the tea (& Whiskey) overnight. If pushed for time can soak fruit/sugar in the morning and bake in the evening.
- Cover bowl with teatowel.
- Sift plain flour with baking powder and mixed spice
- Add flour and beaten eggs alternately to the fruit and tea mixture
- Turn into 3 greased & lined loaf tins and bake for 1 1/4 hrs at 160 degrees C.