If potatoes are my father, then apples are my mother.
And no, smarty pants, that does not mean that I am some misbegotten product of genetic engineering (the papple? the aptato?), I mean that there is no food I associate more with my Da than boiled potatoes and no greater sweetness than the Mammy’s apple tart or crumble.
Separate and individual, vegetable and fruit, they can, like parents, be happy cohabitants. Think potato pancakes and apple sauce.
So, too, with these potato-apple parcels. Lofty apples wrapped in earthy potato pastry.
Together, like all the best couples, they seem like they were meant to be.
These little pastry parcels were adapted from a recipe for potato apple cake in Lindsey Bareham’s treasure trove of potato recipes, In Praise of the Potato. They are also very similar to the potato apple tart blogged about by Caroline from Bibliocook and which I have had on my must-make list for a long time.
To give a nutty, toffee-ish flavour to the apples, I tossed them with browned butter and muscovado sugar but you can use regular melted butter and brown sugar if you like, and of course you can throw in some cinnamon or whatever other spices take your fancy.
For the dough, you’ll need to start with some mashed potato. If that causes you any level of grief, I do recommend you nip over here for advice on mashing. Whatever else you do, I will ask that you remember to salt your water well when boiling your spuds for mash (or when boiling your spuds for any purpose), do let your boiled spuds dry off before you mash and, if you have it, use a potato ricer as it will make for a smoother potato pastry.
For the pastry:
- 250g plain mashed potato, cooled
- 25g butter, melted
- approx. 50g plain flour
- a good pinch of ground ginger
- 0.5 tsp sugar
- a little beaten egg or milk for brushing on the pastry (optional)
For the filling:
- 1 large cooking apple, such as Bramley (about 200-250g apple, once peeled and cored)
- 25g butter
- 25g light muscovado sugar (or more, depending on the sweetness or otherwise of your apples and your own taste)
You’ll also need:
- A large baking sheet to accommodate your parcels and parchment paper for rolling out the pastry.
The Pastry Steps:
- To make the pastry, add your mashed potato to a large mixing bowl and pour over the melted butter. Stir in well.
- Whisk together the flour, ginger and sugar and add to the potato. Use your hands to mix until it comes together as a dough. It should be just slightly tacky – if it feels at all wet, then add more flour.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for around 30 minutes in the fridge (though, if you’re feeling impatient, you can just go ahead and start rolling).
The Filling Steps:
- Preheat your oven to 200C and butter your baking sheet well.
- Add the butter to a small, heavy saucepan and allow it to melt over a medium heat. As the butter starts to foam and bubble, stir continuously for around 6-7 minutes or until it turns a dark golden colour. It will have a butterscotch-like aroma. Strain into a bowl and skim off any foam.
- Peel, core and slice your apple thinly. Toss with the muscovado sugar and browned butter.
- Divide your dough into 4 evenly sized pieces and roll each one out, in turn, into a circle around 18cm or so in diameter. The potato pastry can be a bit fragile, so I find it easiest to do this by rolling the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper.
- Place a mound of the apple filling in the centre of the dough, leaving a border of around 4cm or so all around. Fold the edges of the dough over the apple filling and press together gently – the dough shouldn’t cover the apples completely.
- Gently transfer each parcel to the baking sheet (definitely easier to do if you’ve rolled the dough on parchment paper). When they’re all done, brush with a little beaten egg or milk if you like, and then consign them to the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and the apples are cooked through.
- These are best eaten warm I think, with sour cream, natural yoghurt or warm custard. I did sprinkle mine with a bit of icing sugar to be fancy, but you don’t have to bother.
- You can, of course, make a single tart instead of individually wrapped versions and/or add cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg to the apples as the mood takes you.
- Make 4 x 10cm square-ish parcels