Delia

Apple and Raisin Parcels

This is yet another version of a good old apple pie, but the great thing about this recipe is that it bakes into individual portions, so it's much easier when you come to serve it.


Serves 8

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One.

Apple and Raisin Parcels
Ingredients
For the shortcrust pastry:
 12 oz (350 g) plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
 pinch of salt
 3 oz (75 g) softened lard
 3 oz (75 g) softened butter
For the filling:
 8 oz (225 g) Bramley apples (unpeeled), cored and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) dice
 4 oz (110 g) Cox's apples (unpeeled), cored and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) dice
 3 oz (75 g) raisins, soaked overnight in 4 fl oz (120 ml) dry cider
 8 level teaspoons semolina
 16 whole cloves
 2 oz (50 g) golden caster sugar, plus an extra level teaspoon for sprinkling
 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Equipment
You will also need a non-stick baking tin measuring 10 x 6 inches (25.5 x 15 cm) and 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep.

Method

Start this recipe the night before by soaking the raisins in the cider. The next day, start the pastry, and to do this sift the flour with the pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve high. Add the lard and butter and, using your fingertips, lightly rub the fat into the flour, lifting the mixture up to give it a good airing.

When the mixture is crumbly, add about a tablespoon of cold water. Start mixing the pastry with a knife, then finish off with your hands, adding a little more water, till you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl clean. Now pop it in a polythene bag and chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C). 

Remove the pastry from the fridge, then divide it into 4 pieces. Dust your work surface lightly with flour, then roll each into a length about 10 x 5 inches (25.5 x 13 cm) and trim each piece into two 5 inch (13 cm) squares. Working with 2 squares at a time, scatter a teaspoon of semolina over each pastry square, then mix both varieties of apple together and add 2 tablespoons of chopped apples, 2 cloves, 2 level teaspoons of sugar and some drained raisins to each square. Now brush the edges of each square with some of the beaten egg white, then loosely fold the corners over.

Then, using a fish slice to help you, lift each parcel into the tin, tucking them neatly into the corners, and repeat with the remaining squares so that they all fit snugly in the tin. If you have any fruit left over, carefully lift the corners of each parcel and add some more apples and raisins. 

Now either leave the parcels open or squeeze the pastry corners together a little more. Next brush the pastry with the remaining beaten egg white and scatter the rest of the sugar over, along with the extra teaspoon of sugar.

Bake in the oven on the shelf just above centre for 50 minutes, then serve warm with cream, ice cream or Traditional English Custard, and don't forget to warn your guests that there are a few whole cloves lurking.

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