Pavan’s friend’s mother had given me one of her old baking books recently – ‘Cakes for all Occasions’ by Sarah Whitfield King. It’s one of those old fashioned, retro baking books; a gold mine for me. I love it not just because it has fantastic recipes for vintage tea cakes, fancy Japponaise cake, flans and what not, but some of the techniques mentioned here are those which we’ve not heard of so far..at least I haven’t. Did you know brushing water on your baking tray before baking pastries prevents them from sticking to the tray? You don’t need to bother with oil spray or parchment paper! I find such tips timeless. And talking about traditional baking, in a time when there was no oven in India yet, rather when owning an oven was still a luxury, my great granny baked biscuits using hot beach sand. Now that would’ve been a task!
So I came across a recipe for ‘Clifton Puffs’ in this book; something I have not heard of or tasted before. A little research and I found out that these ‘puddings’ were first served at a party in 1864, to celebrate the commencement of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, UK. Now, I have adapted the recipe, with a tweak or two here and there. The traditional recipe calls for brandy and mixed peel – instead I used rum and chopped nuts. Apples work fantastically well with dried fruits and nuts and encased in this crisp, buttery, puff pastry, they taste delicious. Here is to a long forgotten recipe, which I also happened to have rechristened – my Apple and Raisin Parcels.
For the pastry
- 2 ready made puff pastry sheets (Borg’s)
- 1 egg, beaten
For the filling
- 1 apple, peeled and grated
- 25 g raisins
- 25 g dry figs
- 50 g flaked almonds and pistachios
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp rum
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Makes 10 parcels
- Allow your frozen puff pastry to sit at room temperature for a bit.
- Meanwhile, combine all the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
- Cut out 5, 10 cm squares (4 inches) on each puff pastry. You should have 10 squares now. Refrigerate them for 20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 220 c and brush a baking tray with water.
- After the pastry squares have been chilled, get them out to prepare your parcels.
- Take a tablespoon full of the filling and place it on the middle of each square. Merge the top left corner of the square to the bottom right corner and the top right corner of the square to the bottom left corner. Seal them right. Repeat for all squares and place them on the tray, sealed side facing down.
- Brush each parcel with egg and sprinkle some of the chopped almonds and pistachios.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden.