FROM TREE TO TA­BLE

In­spired by the beauty and pro­duc­tiv­ity of Bri­tish or­chards, pho­tog­ra­pher and cook­ery writer Stuart Oven­den has cre­ated a range of recipes for bak­ing with ap­ples and pears

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - Pho­to­graphs by stuart oven­den food and drink editor ali­son walker

In­spired by the pro­duc­tiv­ity of Bri­tish or­chards, cook­ery writer Stuart Oven­den has cre­ated a range of recipes

some of my ear­li­est mem­o­ries are of the or­chard in the vil­lage with a crab ap­ple tree planted at each end. I of­ten won­dered why the crab ap­ples were there; to me, they seemed to of­fer no merit to the ca­sual scrumper nor (and more im­por­tantly) the or­chard owner. I know now why they are planted in com­mer­cial or­chards; they have a long flow­er­ing pe­riod in spring and are ter­rific pol­li­na­tion part­ners for cul­ti­vated ap­ples. The walk to school took us through trees fes­tooned with blos­som in spring, heavy crops of fruit hang­ing off branches in late sum­mer and the muggy fer­ment of the last days of au­tumn, air thick with dust and vine­gar. I of­ten think of an or­chard as an al­most self-con­tained en­vi­ron­ment; there’s some­thing ap­peal­ing about the vivid po­lar­i­sa­tion of the sea­sons that it of­fers up each year. It feels only nat­u­ral to want to spend as much time as pos­si­ble in th­ese beau­ti­ful, com­plex spa­ces.

RUS­SET AND RUM TARTE TATIN

Prepa­ra­tion 15 min­utes Cooking about 40 min­utes Serves 6 con­ser­va­tively, 4 if you’re feel­ing in­dul­gent A de­cent tarte tatin is one of the cor­ner­stones of the or­chard reper­toire – I have made count­less vari­a­tions over the years, but this has to be my favourite. If you pre­fer, the rum can be re­placed with Cal­va­dos and the re­sults are equally en­joy­able, al­though it does com­pro­mise the pleas­ingly al­lit­er­a­tive recipe ti­tle some­what...

4 Rus­set ap­ples 60g golden caster sugar 40g light soft brown sugar 50g but­ter 50ml dark rum 150g puff pas­try

1 Pre­heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6. Peel, core and halve the ap­ples. For the caramel, melt the sug­ars on the hob in a heavy­bot­tomed, 20cm oven­proof pan. Keep a watch­ful eye on this; when it starts to smoke, take the pan off the heat and stir in the but­ter and rum. Mix through quickly and thor­oughly. 2 Turn the heat down, re­turn the pan to the hob and cook the ap­ples in the caramel for 5 min­utes or un­til they start to soften slightly. Ar­range the ap­ples curved-side down in the pan and set to one side (off the heat). 3 Roll the puff pas­try out thinly and use a 22cm-23cm plate as a guide to cut out a large pas­try cir­cle. Drape it over the ap­ples, tuck the edges in around the fruit and bake for 20-25 min­utes, or un­til the puff pas­try is firm and golden. 4 Let the tarte tatin cool for 5 min­utes, place a plate on top of the pas­try and care­fully turn over. Re­move the pan and spoon over any left­over caramel. Eat im­me­di­ately.

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