At this time of year, when many people have homegrown apples in abundance thoughts turn on how to use them, such as in an Apple & Sultana Plait.
Nothing can really be easier than making a quick dessert using the apples and some sultanas wrapped in puff pastry. Known as a plait, or a braid, or even a Danish, such a dessert is so simple to make if the puff pastry is bought rather than home made. This Apple & Sultana Plait is my version of such a dessert.
The type of apple used it a personal preference. I used Granny Smith apples since they are firm and tart and bake very well.
The apples and sultanas are quickly caramelised with a little butter and sugar and then, once cooled, they are encased in the puff pastry. The fruit is laid in a strip down the centre of the pastry
and the sides are then cut in diagonal strips to be folded over the top.
To finish off an egg wash is used and a little sugar is sprinkled over the top.
When the pastry has been baked and cooled some simple sugar icing can be drizzled over the top too. I include that step in my recipe, using just a little icing, but the amount can be adjusted to taste too.
Although home made puff pastry is probably the best it is very time consuming, and quite complicated to make it successfully. So, for a quick dessert a shop bought version works well.
When buying puff pastry I recommend trying to find one that is labelled ‘all butter’ or ‘butter’. All butter puff pastry tastes so much better than those made with palm and other oils or margarines.
Puff pastry sheets come in different sizes, depending on where you live and the brand you buy. Mine was 10 x 15 inches(25×37.5 cm), but any size will work. Depending on the size of your pastry sheet you may need to use more or less apples and sultanas(adjusting the butter and sugar too). If you have an excess of the mixture it can be served separately. I use an excess as an addition to my porridge for breakfast.
Another very simple dessert is my Creamy Rice Pudding.
Apple & Sultana Plait, Braid or DanishCourse: DessertsCuisine: pastryDifficulty: easy
1 sheet of shop bough puff pastry
45g(1lb) apples, cored, peeled and cut into wedges
80g(1/2 cup) sultanas, soaked in hot water and then drained
42g(3 tbs) unsalted butter
50g(1/4) soft light brown sugar(or granulated is fine)
1 egg beaten with a little water to use as egg wash
Demerara sugar, or other, to sprinkle over the top.
20(2 1/2 tbsp) icing sugar
1-2 tsp water for icing.
- Place the butter and sugar into a large pan and heat to dissove.
- Add the apples and stir to coat in the mixture.
- Add the sultanas as well, and stir again.
- Gently, on a medium low heat, cook the apples until softened a little and caramelised.
- Transfer the cooked apples and sultanas to a plate to allow them to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Take the parchment paper and lay it on the counter.
- Unroll the pastry onto the parchment paper.
- Gently mark two lines on the pastry to make three equally sized divisions.
- Place the apples in the centre division, leaving a gap of one inch at the top and bottom, and then add the sultanas over the apples.
- Use a knife to cut off each of the top corners.
- Cut diagonal strips, one inch(2cm) wide down one side of the pastry, but leaving 1/2inch(1 cm) uncut towards the apples.
- Do the same on the second side of the pastry.
- Fold the top of the pastry up onto the apples.
- Take the first strip and fold it over the apple, covering the edge of the top just folded up.
- Take the opposing first strip and fold it up and over too.
- Continue to fold each strip and it’s opposing strip over until you have just one strip on each side left unfolded.
- Cut any excess from the bottom of the pastry leaving enough to be able to fold over the apple.
- Fold that bottom flap up and over the apple, then fold the remaining strip from each side over as well.
- Brush the pastry with egg wash.
- Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.
- Transfer the parchment paper, with the pastry on top, to the baking tray.
- Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry has turned a nice golden brown colour and the top feels crisp.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Add a little water to the icing sugar and stir to combine. Continuing adding water a very little at a time until the icing runs slowly from a spoon.
- When the plait has cooled carefully drizzle the icing over the top and then leave for a few minutes for it to set, before serving.