puddings 'n' pies

With longer nights and chillier days, it's comfort food that we need. So, it's out with the salads and in with the pies and puds! The other day, I resurrected an old favourite of ours: baked apples. I used to make these a lot when the girls were small. Baked apples are quick, easy and delicious. So easy they don't even require a recipe.

The fun comes with choosing the filling. After coring and lightly scoring round the middle of the apple, I filled ours with raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon and a few almonds. A knob of butter on the top, a splash of water in the baking dish to stop them burning and into an oven at about 180c for 20 to 30 minutes.

Then when the flesh is soft and fluffy as a duvet, take them out and serve, either as they are or with something creamy. I love the slightly butterscotch flavour that the raisins and brown sugar impart.

And still in the mood for comfort food, I decided to make a warming pie, like a good old fashioned meat pie, but with a vegetable filling. An autumn pie. After a morning spent pottering in the kitchen, I came up with :
                               An autumn pie with butternut squash and mushrooms. 
I made flaky pastry following this method but used 4oz/110g butter and 6oz/175g plain flour.

For the filling:
1 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
300g mushrooms
15g dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 300ml hot water for about 30 minutes
1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
fresh thyme
lemon juice
sweet smoked paprika
creme fraiche (optional)

Chop the scrubbed squash (no need to peel) into bite sized pieces. Toss with a little olive oil, 1/2 teasp. smoked paprika (sweet not hot variety) and salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven 180c until browned - about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile saute the chopped onion and garlic in a little olive oil. When golden remove from the pan and add the mushrooms to the pan. Fry until golden brown. Return the onion mix and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes. Strain the liquid from the dried mushrooms in a sieve lined with kitchen paper to remove any grit and gradually add to the onions and mushrooms to form a sauce. Season with salt and pepper, thyme and lemon juice to taste. Add a dollop of creme fraiche if liked and spoon into a baking dish.
When cool, top with the rolled out pastry and cook in a hot oven 200c for about 35 minutes.

Makes a pie to serve 2 greedy people or 4 with more modest appetites.
I served the pie with creamed potato and spinach.

So it's goodbye October today. It's been a beautiful month; the month our tiny girlie celebrated her first birthday! ... and welcome November tomorrow.

Happy weekend!

annjenny x


  1. Oh, yum. This takes me back! My dad used to make baked apples (with lots of sticky toffee bits) for pudding when I was growing up. Another favourite was apple dumplings, with the whole apples encased in pastry. Thanks for that taste of the past!

  2. We are into our second week of soup and sandwiches during our kitchen refit so this sounds like a meal of my dreams!


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