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Niall McKenna's apple and pumpkin pie, and apple and plum crumble

THIS week's recipes are two autumnal desserts that are perfect for this time of year.

 

As the seasons change, the availability of good local fruit and vegetables really comes into its own. With pumpkins in every shop, ready for Halloween, rather than discard the innards when carving pumpkins with the kids, baking an apple and pumpkin pie is one of the best and easiest ways to use it up.

Apples are also in abundance at this time of year, and we are very lucky to live near Co Armagh which is known for its fantastic apple orchards. At home, we like to use our spare apples to make a delicious, comforting crumble.

I have paired this one with plums as we had some to spare but you can add in any seasonal fruit, from blackberries to the last of the raspberries.

Both desserts are easy to make and are delicious when served with a warm custard.

APPLE AND PUMPKIN PIE

500g shortcrust pastry

25g butter

500g Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

500g cooking apples

500g pumpkin

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1tbsp plain flour

2tsp ground cinnamon

Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

150g castor sugar (reserve 25g for dredging)

1 egg beaten

Method

Preheat an oven to 200C.

Divide the pastry in half and roll out about 8 inches (20cm). Line the base of a 7-inch pie dish and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In a pot on medium heat, melt the butter, add spices and flour and cook out.

Add the cooking apples, pumpkin, lemon and sugar and cook for five to six minutes until they break down. Stir in the remaining Granny Smith apples and leave to cool.

Once cooled place in a pie dish and top the pie with the remaining pastry, crimping around the edges to seal in the fruit.

Pierce the middle of the top to let the steam escape. At this point if you're artistic you can add little apple motifs.

Brush with egg and dredge with the rest of the sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

APPLE AND PLUM CRUMBLE

6 apples, peeled, de-cored and chopped

8 plums, stone removed, chopped

100g sugar

1tbsp cinnamon

100g butter

100g flour

50g almonds

Method

Start by lightly stewing the apples by placing them in a pot with 50g of sugar and 25g butter. Cook for five minutes on a low heat - you do not want the apples to lose their shape or make a puree.

Prepare a baking dish and add in the plums, a teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of sugar, add in your apple mix and leave to the side.

To make your crumble, place the cold butter and flour in a processor and pulse until the texture is like breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds and the remaining sugar and cinnamon and scatter over the plums.

Cook for 40 minutes at 180C until golden. Serve with custard.

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