This has been a great year for apples. Trees everywhere are laden with them and they litter the sides of the road in great golden heaps. I can never understand why the British just leave them there to rot – anywhere else in
Common Ground is a charity working to encourage people to value and enjoy their own familiar surroundings. As part of the Local Distinctiveness Campaign, Common Ground publishes books and leaflets about apples and co-ordinates National Apple Day in October.
It was great to see the enthusiasm with which people turned up at local orchards, bringing old varieties for identification, and admiring the number of apple varieties still being grown commercially in
The tree in my garden has been producing huge fruits, with a rosy blush and red striations, which turned out to be a Bramley clone. Novice that I am, I thought Bramleys were always green and I got what can only be described as an old-fashioned look from the apple expert at the orchard.
The food lover’s romance with Bramley apples seems to be an on-off affair. There are times when nothing but an eating apple will do because it retains its shape when cooked, and there are times, and now seems to be one of them, when the frothy, foaming, explosive qualities of the Bramley are suddenly the flavour of the month.
The history of Malus domestica - ‘Bramley's Seedling’ – is documented in a pub called The Bramley Apple in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.
“In the garden of a nearby cottage in the year 1805, the lady of the house sat eating an apple. She enjoyed it so much that she set two or three pips in a plant pot. One seedling flourished and was planted in the garden. So began the life of an apple tree of great historical interest.
By the time Matthew Bramley purchased the cottage, in 1846, the tree was bearing a good crop of apples. One day, Henry Merryweather met a gardener carrying a basket of these apples. Asked where he had got them the gardener replied, “It is the Bramley’s apple; and a very fine one too.” Henry went to see Matthew who said that he had named the apple Bramley’s Seedling and agreed that Henry might take what grafts he liked.
The apple first appeared to have been exhibited in 1876 at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit Committee, where it was highly commended. While it may have been possible to count the apples that grew on that first tree, nobody knows the number of trees that have originated from the apple a lady of Southwell ate in the year of Trafalgar.”
So the Bramley is two hundred years old, and still the mainstay of apple pies throughout the country. In
For the cake:
225g/8oz Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
½ tsp ground cinnamon
25g/1oz demerara sugar
350g/12oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g/5oz butter or margarine
150-170g/5-6oz caster sugar
120ml/8 tbsp milk
For the topping:
25g/1oz demerara sugar
pinch ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Line 20cm/8in cake tin with baking parchment or greased greaseproof paper.
3. Blend cinnamon and demerara sugar and coat diced apple with mixture.
4. Sift flour and baking powder into mixing bowl.
5. Rub in butter or margarine, add caster sugar, beaten eggs, milk and apples.
6. Blend thoroughly then beat with a wooden spoon.
7. Spoon into a cake tin, spread flat on top and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
8. Bake for approximately 1¼hours/75 minutes, or until firm to touch.
9. If the cake is becoming too brown on top, reduce heat to 160C/325F/Gas 3 after 1 hour.