Sadly, I’m not in a position to have my own orchard. I’d love one, but you know, London. And bees. I really don’t like bees. I know, I know, bees are the nice ones, wasps are the evil bastards. But they all have the capacity to sting and that’s really not fun. However, I do REALLY like apples so when my mate Amber posted a picture of her first apple harvest this year I decided that it was a perfect time to go visit her and help myself to some. I mean, catch up with a dear old chum.
And honestly, if you were presented with a photo that looks like this on Instagram, you’d do the same right?
So after a lovely evening with the O’Connors which consisted of too many bubbles and not enough food (my own fault entirely), we raided the apple crates and brought a bunch home with us and since then I’ve been on the hunt for recipes for things to do with apples that aren’t upside down cakes. As per my previous post, I’ve made a lot of upside down cakes recently. In fact, since then I’ve made a couple of pineapple and rum upside down cakes which were officially the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.
As winter is around the corner, I’ve been craving anything bready and baked. And realised what I actually wanted was monkeybread because it’s breaded, baked, buttery and… sweet. What’s a word for sweet that begins with b? So I decided to combine apples with a classic monkeybread recipe and make apple monkeybread muffins. I figure, as they’re individual sized, there’s fewer calories in eating four at a time than there is from eating an entire bundt tin of monkeybread on its own.
Recipe below. I used a pizza dough recipe as I didn’t want it to be too sweet as the apples were. If I were to make these again, I’d probably wrap the apple mix in the dough and then drench them in sugar and butter as (and this could just be me) the way the dough chunks look reminds me of chopped up chicken breasts and then it makes for a weird visual vs taste sensation. And I also think that you’d get a better apple to dough ratio that way. But give it a go, if you’ve got a glut of apples from you(r friends) orchard.
Apple and cranberry spiced monkeybread
- 2 x cups of bread flour
- 2 x tsps dry active yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsps oil (I used sunflower as it was all I had, sure you can use anything else)
- 1.25 cups of cold water
Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer with dough hook and on a low speed combine then continue for a good 10 mins till the dough is stretchy and smooth
On a large board, flatten and stretch the dough till it’s vaguely rectangular and about a centimetre thick. Slice along the length into four equal pieces then randomly chop each slide into smaller nuggets – about 12-15 per length. Dust with flour, cover and leave to one side for a short prove whilst you make the rest of the filling.
- 100g butter melted
- 2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 2 tsps ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 x cooking apples – you want them to be a little bit tart as there’s a LOT of sugar being added
- A small bag (about 250g) of dried fruit – I used cranberries, but feel free to use your own favourite
- Zest 1.5 lemons
- 2/3 cup of dark brown sugar
Add the spices and salt to the melted butter and leave to one side to cool completely.
Peel, core and grate the apples. Put grated apples in a bowl with the dried fruit and lemon zest, then using your hands, toss with the brown sugar to get it all coated.
Then pour the butter mix over the fruit. Dust the dough nuggets again and add to the bowl and using your hands, toss with the fruit mix until they’re all covered.
Take small handfuls of the dough mix and put into pre-prepared muffin cases. Once filled, pour any remaining butter from the bowl equally over each muffin. Then cover again and leave to rise for an hour.
Pre-heat oven to 200C. Bake for 25mins till the top is golden brown and the sugar is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before stuffing your face.
You can add a glaze to this, but they were sweet enough for our taste. I still have a glut of apples remaining, so any other apple recipes, ping em my way.