It’s a bit of a tradition now, that whenever I go over to Perth to visit the boy that we invite his parents over for dinner. I’ve mentioned that I love cooking for people and this is no exception, I know they look forward to it as well. I love planning menus, but inevitably change my mind a hundred times. I’ve set the bar pretty high for myself, busting out some of my favourites like roast chicken and ratatouille.
This time I cooked a riff on my favourite chicken pie recipe with the addition of seedless red grapes, inspired by the chicken pie on the menu at Gazebo Wine Garden. It was just lovely with a local un-oaked Chardonnay from a little town in WA called Denmark. But today we’re talking about dessert. Steve had apple and cinnamon on the brain and I wanted to make a dessert using those flavours. I was originally thinking a cake or a crumble, but when I stumbled upon this recipe for apple and ginger shortcakes, I knew this was it.
Not only was it a breeze to make, but it looked like I’d made a big effort! I really liked the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet and the mascarpone was perfect with the delicious caramel apples. The shortcakes were delicately spiced with ginger and cinnamon, but weren’t as light and fluffy as I was hoping for. Perhaps I’m just used to making cream scones, but they were still absolutely delicious.
I think these shortcakes would also make a great base for experimenting with other kinds of fruit or fillings. Poached pears, roasted quince or stewed rhubarb would be fabulous, as would fresh berries or bananas. You could also replace the mascarpone with double cream, whipped cream or even sweetened ricotta, and play with the combination of spices in the shortcakes themselves. They make an elegant dessert but would also be perfect for afternoon tea. The possibilities are endless! These were a big hit dinner and I’m sure I’ll be making them again soon.
And if you’re still in the mood for another fabulous autumn recipe, check out my latest recipe on GourmetRabbit, a gorgeous vanilla, apple and pear crumble with brown butter ice cream made with beautiful unwaxed apples and pears from Orange!
Caramelised Apple and Ginger Shortcakes
Adapted from Notebook
• 20g butter
• 2 granny smith apples, cored, cut into wedges
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/3 cup cream
• 100g mascarpone
• 2 cups plain flour
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 100g butter, chopped
• 2/3 cup milk
• 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with non stick baking paper. To make the shortcakes, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk and egg and stir until just combined.
Roll or pat out onto a lightly floured surface to a 2cm thick disc. Use an 8cm round pastry cutter to cut 8 discs from the dough. Place on the lined baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over high heat until foaming. Add the apple and cook, turning occasionally for 5 minutes or until apples caramelize. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add the cream and stir until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
Using a small serrated knife, split each shortcake in half. Dollop with mascarpone, top with apples and drizzle with caramel sauce. Top with remaining cake half, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.