As we head full swing in to autumn, Liz Earle MBE, wellbeing entrepreneur, Pasture for Life farmer, Love British Food ambassador and Liz Earle Wellbeing founder, talks to us about the benefits of seasonal produce and offers up a warming and tasty caramelised apple and walnut lattice recipe.
We’re so fortunate to live in a country with four distinct seasons. The variety of fruit and vegetables this gives us makes for the most fantastic healthy and balanced diet. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year for seasonal eating, as it’s the perfect moment to enjoy the colourful harvest found across farms, orchards and hedgerows with antioxidant packed berries, luscious late season fruits, glorious vegetables and nutritious nuts, all packed with wellbeing goodness.
Right now, butternut squash (rich in the beta-carotene form of vitamin A, excellent for maintaining eye health), globe artichokes (great for digestive health), savoy cabbage (full of iron-enriched dietary fibre essential for boosting energy levels), pears (rich in antioxidant vitamin C), figs (excellent for skeletal strength) and blackberries (full of antioxidants and minerals for keeping the body in tip-tip condition) are just some of the delicious and beneficial seasonal produce at their very best throughout the autumnal months. Some of my absolute favourite seasonal ingredients are apples and walnuts which I love combined in a hot caramelised apple and walnut lattice pie (recipe below) for a really warming Autumn treat.
As a farmer, I’m acutely aware of the dedication and effort that goes into producing top quality British farm food, so I make a point of shopping at farmers’ markets and using veg box delivery schemes as much as possible. Buying British and shopping locally, wherever possible, means that we’re eating with the seasons. This gives us the chance to reconnect with nature and supply our bodies with the vital nutrients, minerals and trace elements that we need to keep healthy and active throughout the year. It also makes economic sense as food in season is cheaper, as we’re buying it in abundance and it hasn’t travelled far - plus it’s often more nutritious.
I wish we could all eat more farm-to-fork. It’s one of the surest ways to get the freshest, tastiest produce and helps ensure farmers and local food producers get the fairest price.
Win-win for everyone.
125g cold butter, cut into chunks
250g spelt flour
1 lemon, zest only
25g ground walnuts
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp water
1 egg, lightly beaten
120g light muscavado sugar
5-6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into rings
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
1. In a bowl, rub the butter and flour together with your fingers, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, zest and ground walnuts, mixing together lightly before adding in the egg yolk and salt, and bringing it together slowly with your hands. Add 1-2 tbsp of cold water so the mixture binds to form a dough. Alternatively, use a food processor, pulsing slowly until it forms a ball. Place the dough in a bag or covered bowl and pop in the fridge for around 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4. Roll out 3⁄4 of the pastry to about 3mm thick and line the tart tin – trimming the edges. Keep the trimmings to one side for the topping. Prick the base all over with a fork and refrigerate for ten minutes.
3. Take the pastry case out of the fridge, line with baking parchment and baking beans and pop in the oven for 15 minutes. When it’s starting to cook through, take out of the oven and remove the baking beans and parchment. Brush the base with beaten egg and pop back in the oven for another five minutes to seal the bottom. Keep remaining egg for later.
4. For the caramel sauce, melt the butter over a medium heat in a small saucepan before adding in the sugar and stir. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil, stirring to melt the sugar until the mixture starts to become foamy. Add the cream and stir until it’s smooth. Add a pinch of salt, stir and remove from the heat.
5. Arrange the apples on the bottom of the tart, stopping two-thirds of the way up to sprinkle over the chopped walnuts. Pour half the caramel sauce over, setting the rest aside for serving and to stick the leaves on with.
6. Roll out the remainder of the pastry and cut out nine 1cm strips and as many leaves as you like from the remaining pastry. Carefully drape the pastry strips across the apple and walnut filling in a lattice pattern – four in one direction and five in the other. Brush the tart and leaves with the remainder of the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
7. Place the tart in the oven on a tray and bake for 45 minutes or so until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Check after 30 minutes and add the leaves to the tray to bake separately for 10-15 minutes. When the tart and leaves are cooked, carefully remove from the case and stick on the pastry leaves with a little caramel sauce. Serve with the rest of the caramel sauce and crème fraîche.
For more seasonal recipes please visit www.lizearlewellbeing.com