Granny Smith Apples are currently in season (in Australia, that is) and I couldn't resist buying some in case I had sudden cravings for apple desserts. I love using apples for baking, and some of my favourites are Apple Crumble and Dutch Apple Cake, which I have made over and over again. My original intention with these lovely green apples was to make an Upside-down Apple Cake, which is absolutely decadent. However, the recipe makes quite a large cake and is best eaten on the same day. All I wanted was a slice or two, and not having to eat apple cake everyday for the rest of the week. It's just too sinful. Instead, I found a recipe for Apple and Blueberry Shortcake in Bills Food, a cookbook by Bill Granger (I was puzzled why it was spelt Bills and not Bill's, and G speculated that some people might take it to mean "Bill is Food" instead. Hmmm....).
This shortcake looks somewhat like an apple pie since it's essentially apple filling enclosed in pastry, except that it's not really pastry but perhaps more like cakey shortbread. I substituted the blueberries with a mixture of blue, red and blackberries (I bought a bag of frozen mixed berries) which is why the apples in the picture above are tinged with red from the raspberries. This shortcake makes a wonderful teatime treat, and is also a delicious way to end a meal on a sweet and fruity note.
Apple and Blueberry Shortcake
Adapted from Bills Food
4 large Granny Smith apples
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup blueberries (or mixed berries if you like)
Demerara or raw sugar, for sprinkling
Whipped cream, to serve
- Peel and core apples, then cut each one into 16 slices. Put them in a medium saucepan with zest, sugar and 2 tablespoons water, then cover and stew on low heat for 10 minutes or until just tender but not mushy. Stir or turn the apples occasionally to prevent the ones at the bottom of the pan from overcooking.
- Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Sift in flour and baking powder and stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide into two and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Roll each half of the dough into a 8 1/2 inch round. Grease and line the base of a round 9 inch springform tin. Press one round into the base. Spread the apples over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge. Sprinkle with berries. Place the other round of dough over the top and press the edges to seal. Brush the top with water and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing. Serve warm with whipped cream.