Week 37, Bake 37.
So this week I have been back at my lovely job and it has been the first week back at school for all the kids. The good news I received this week was that on Monday I will be now working 4 days a week! Which of course is really exciting and so I didn't do my bake on Wednesday as I decided to enjoy my last Wednesday off (till half term!) and I went back to Stourhead. I can now say that I am well and truly in love with Somerset. As one of my favourite old books says: "There is probable no English county so underrated as Somerset. All too seldom does one hear it mentioned as one of the great beauty spots of the West... Certainly there is more scenic variety to be found in Somerset than in any other part of the West - moorland, hilscape, romantic coastal reaches, coombes, woodlands, flats all are here." (Lovely Britain, P.E. Barnes)
Anyway enough of my dreamy talk about a beautiful county, here is this weeks bake. I have never made filo pastry before and doubt I will do again, but it was a technical challenge which I tried and didn't fail at.
- 300g of strong white bread flour
- pinch of salt
- 30g of unsalted butter (melted)
- 150ml of water
- 1 egg
- 6 cooking apples
- 50g of unsalted butter
- 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
- 75g of raisins
- 2 tablespoons of honey (runny)
- 100g of brown sugar
- Icing sugar to dust
- Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Mix the water, egg and butter in a jug and beat it together. Now pour it into the well and using your hands bring the sticky dough together and knead it in the bowl until it comes away from the sides easily.
- Now turn it out onto a floured work surface and work until the dough comes away from your hands. Then knead it like you would if you were making bread. You really want the gluten to get stretched. Once it is smooth and elasticated, cover and let it rest on the work surface for 15-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and core the apples then pop them into a frying pan with some melted butter. On a low heat let them soften.
- Now add in the raisins, cinnamon, honey and sugar and wack up the heat so that the sugar melts and starts to caramelise.
- Don't let the apples break up too much and once soft and slightly sticky, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Now it is the hard part, stretching out the pastry. You will want the pastry to measure 80x80cm stretched out in one sheet. I did this on my dining room table and used a bed sheet to make sure it didn't stick to the table or dry out. I think you could also use your table covered in cling film as this may give you some grip. Stretch out the dough with your hands then when it becomes too big, lay it on the table and continue stretching it out. I used melted butter and a pastry knife to make sure it didn't dry out.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190c.
- Once at the correct size cover with cling film to make sure it doesn't dry out and then cut a section of the pastry (20x40cm) to work with. Brush the melted butter on both sides them place it into the tin (a 23cm spring form tin) with the edges over hanging. Do with 5 more times making sure the whole of the tin is covered.
- Now once there are 6 rectangles in the tin, spoon in your apple mixture. The fold the sides of the pastry over to cover the top. Use any left over pastry to decorate the top and then glaze the pastry with more melted butter and some brown sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Dust a bit of icing sugar on top and serve with fresh cream.