The over-eating was partly the fault of the Easter bunny, who is super generous every year. The rest of the over-eating was simply because I was in great company, and there is no better way to bring people together than a meal.
The exploring came about because The Boy recently purchased a bafflingly large ute. He slowly wheedled away my resistance to his desire to go four wheel driving…and I actually enjoyed it. It’s not the adrenaline or the potential for death which made me appreciate the expedition, but the landscape, and the idea of being on land that isn’t accessible for some people.
I love a good adventure, and driving his ridiculous ute into woodlands, through water crossings and up precarious tracks allowed us some spectacular scenery.
We were also in a convoy, which was kind of cute.
And there were mushrooms. Oh the mushrooms!! They came in so many shapes, colours and sizes that my camera now has several hundred mushroom portraits. Some areas were so blanketed with teeny tiny mushrooms that it was easy to believe that they were little tiny fairy villages.
Norman tried his hand at being part of a trio this weekend… he wasn’t very good at it. Norman’s age really showed when he was steam-rolled by boisterous Bentley, or trounced by ridiculously-good-looking Zeus.
I have decided I would happily own 3 sausage dogs because you could never be sad with such companionship. Norman has decided that he would much rather be solely in the company of humans, especially those with access to food and a welcoming lap for him to lounge on.
As for experimenting with recipes, the farm has crabapples. They were teensy and super sour, but I just had to bake with them because I’d never seen them before! I did some quick researching and found that they’re used for making jams and preserves, but I wanted something more substantial. So I mixed crabapples with two of the homeliest desserts that I could think of – apple pie and apple crumble.
The result? Crabapple crumble pie. Deliciously tart, with just enough caramel undertones to have you going back for seconds.
Crabapple crumble pie
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 8 tbsp butter
- 5-8 tbsp water
- 2/3 cup plain flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 5 tbsp butter
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 2/3 cups diced crabapple
- 10 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 plums, diced
Combine your flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in room temperature butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add in the water, one tablespoon at a time until you can press your mixture into one cohesive ball. Shape into a disc, cover in cling wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour.
While the pastry is chilling, make a start on the crumble. Rub the flour, brown sugar and butter together until you’ve got chunks forming – don’t over mix it, you want your crumble to be lovely and textured. Add in the chopped walnuts and mix well. Set to one side.
Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 12 capacity cupcake tin.
Take your pastry out of the fridge, roll it out between two sheets of baking paper to about 3-4mm thickness and cut 12 circles out of it. Make sure your pastry circles are big enough to come about half way up your cupcake moulds so that you have enough pie bottom to encapsulate the filling and some of the crumble. Press the circles into your cupcake tin.
Use a fork to prick four holes in each circle of pastry and pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes.
While the pastry cases are cooking, make your filling. Put your crabapple pieces and brown sugar into a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and stir regularly for ten minutes until they are soft, but not falling apart.
By this point, the crabapples should be taking on the colouring and flavouring of your brown sugar. (My crabapples were slightly under-ripe, so I left them to slowly soften for about 20 minutes in total.) Take your mixture off the heat, mix in your plums and set to one side.
When your pastry cases are cooked, whip them out of the oven and cool them for 2 minutes before spooning the mixture into them. Try and get a good mix of plum and crapabble in each case, as well as a decent serving of the caramelised sugar. After filling each of the 12 cases, top with the crumble – don’t worry about perfection, the more rustic these morsels look, the better.
Serve with good cream or ice cream and a robust darjeeling tea.
For once, Norman wasn’t around for a photo shoot, he was busy exploring the smells of the farm. Zeus happily filled in for him.
Here are a two more photos of Bentley and Zeus, because I have way too many not to share.