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Eating Seasonally: Autumnal Apples

There is something about the humble apple that always reminds me of Poland. Even when there was nothing in the shops we still had apples, and therefore apple cake (Szarlotka) and apple “racuchy” were common during my childhood. 

Now that Putin has banned imports on Polish apples, apples have become a political statement too, a symbol of Polish solidarity almost. Yet there are apples all over Europe at this time, and each country has their own favourite varieties. I had never tried a Granny Smith until I came to England, so they seem particulary English to me, though I prefer the Braeburn variety over here. In Poland, I love Papierówki – tiny, yellow, sweet, golf-ball apples that often grow by roadsides and in people’s gardens.

This is the season of the apple, so we need to make the most of it by baking them into pies and cakes, adding them to our autumnal porridge (with cinnamon of course) and to roasting them alongside our pork or duck on Sundays. To add another element to your apple repertoire, I would like to introduce you to a typical Polish dish. If you are Polish then of course you will know this already, it’s the taste of childhood for many… Apple Racuchy. I suggest you stew some more apples with raisins and a little brandy alongside the usual dish. This makes a superb brunch.

Ingredients 

600g apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
100g raisins
300g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, separated
2 egg extra whites
1-2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
250ml milk
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil plus more for frying
Splash of brandy
Single cream to serve

 Recipe

Combine the flour with the baking powder, salt and egg yolks. Pour the milk in and mix with a wooden spoon for about 5min. At the end, add the oil and yoghurt in. The mixture should have as few lumps as possible.

Beat the whites until they form peaks. Fold this into the mixture and then add half the apples.

Stew the rest of the apples with a couple of tablespoons of water and the raisins, for about 10min. Add a splash of brandy at the end.

Heat an uninterrupted layer of oil on a frying pan and use a tablespoon to spoon the mixture on to the hot oil. 1 spoonful makes 1 “racuch”.

Fry them, 4 or 5 at a time, for about 3 minutes each side, then add more oil for every round. Drain them in kitchen paper, then serve with the stewed apples and some single cream.

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