Wow, did you know that one third of the world’s Bramley apples are grown in Ireland? Neither did I. I have to admit that if you had asked me to spell Bramley a couple of weeks ago I would have been inserting an extra b as in bramble, as I’d yet to learn of the Mathew Bramley for whom they are named. So it seems that here in Ireland we are rather good at growing these cooking apples and to celebrate there is a competition afoot courtesy of Bord Bia and the Irish Food Bloggers Association.
My first intention was to reinvent Mr Kipling’s ‘exceedingly good’ bramley apple pies.” If memory serves me that was what was said as a pie was cut into, oozing out a syrupy bramley apple filling, the words spilling just as smoothly in the distinguished tones of perhaps a baritone or maybe the understudy for ‘Rumpole of the Bailey.’ Each pie as beautifully symmetric as the last. Buttery and light shortcrust pastry enveloping deftly cubed still bitey syrup glazed bramley apples. However a big fat FAIL on that score. Buttery yet light pastry? Yes for the lid but not for the base. Tentatively filled with a little bit too syrupy bramley apple cubes they had become more of a pudding than a pie and had to be lovingly coaxed from the tin. Redemption was to serve them in pretty teacups with a dusting of icing sugar, although delicious – exceedingly good pies they were not. A remnant of the pastry had been rolled thinly to form a bramley apple stuffed hand pie and that worked quite well. The left over bramley apple were used in a crumble and the excess of crumble topping mixture was stored in an airtight lunchbox for a couple of days while the cogs turned.
The next outing of bramley apples to the kitchen was much more succesful. Dare we call it a triumph? Apple and Pork are always a good pairing but here I’ve incorporated the softened bramley apple into the side dish with mashed carrot and parsnip which works really well with the cranberry sweetened pork chops. For dessert the crumble topping was revisited, stretched with a good share of oatmeal flakes to create a layer of chewy topping hiding a generous layer of softened and sweetened bramley apples spiked with dark chocolate chunks for added surprise.
Cranberry Pork Chops
You will need:
1 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
4 Pork Chops
2 medium onions
500ml chicken stock
3 heaped tbsp cranberry sauce
Pre-heat the fan oven to 200C / Gas Mark 7.
Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium/high heat and brown the chops on each side for two minutes.
While the chops are browning peel and thinly slice the onions.
Place the browned chops on a baking tray in the oven to continue cooking.
Soften the onion rings in the frying pan for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
Add the chicken stock and the 3 tbsp of cranberry sauce to the onions and mix well, bring to the boil and then reduce.
Return the chops to the pan with any meat juices in the baking tray and stir through.
Serve with the Carrot, Parsnip & Bramley Apple Mash
Carrot, Parsnip & Bramley Apple Mash
You will need:
4 medium carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 medium bramley apple
A little butter for mashing
Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips and boil the carrots for 10 minutes before adding the parsnip for a further 5 until both are tender enough to mash.
While the vegetables are boiling; peel, core and chop the bramley apple into chunks and cook in a saucepan with a tiny splash of water over a medium heat until beginning to soften but still retaining a little bite.
Combine the cooked carrots, parsnips and bramley apple with a little butter and mash well.
Til next time, Sheila