Delicious for Rosh Hashanah! Caramel apple sponge pudding and poulet normande

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Rosh Hashanah

Delicious for Rosh Hashanah! Caramel apple sponge pudding and poulet normande

Why stress this new year, when you can serve up these tasty, easy recipes

This is one of those magic puddings where the sauce is poured over the top of the all-in-one  batter that then rises as it cooks to cover the sauce.

It’s ideal to make ahead and freeze although as it’s such a cinch to whip up, it’s perfect as a last-minute addition to the festive table.


  • 9 x 9 x 3 inch/23 x 23 x 7cm baking dish or foil tray
  • 800g large eating apples (approx 6)
  • Juice and zest of ½lemon
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 150ml – 200ml dairy, nut or oat milk
  • 150g unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125g light brown or muscovado sugar
  • 125ml golden syrup or honey
  • 300ml water
  • Parev or dairy ice cream to serve
Apple pudding


Preheat oven to 180ºC, 170ºC fan.  Grease the inside of the baking dish or foil tray and then peel, core and slice the apples into 1cm thick slices into the tin. Mix in the juice and zest of half a lemon and the cinnamon if using, and spread in an even layer.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the golden caster sugar, 150ml milk, softened butter or margarine, eggs and vanilla and beat until combined and then spread over the apples. If the batter seems stiff, add a little more of the milk.

Place the muscovado sugar, golden syrup/honey and water into a non-stick saucepan, stir to combine and allow the sugar to melt over a medium heat. Bring to the boil without stirring and, as soon as it is boiling, pour it over the sponge mixture. Place the tin on a baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. You may need to cover the top of the pudding with foil after about 35-40 minutes if it is browning too quickly. Check the sponge is cooked by inserting a cocktail stick into the centre of the sponge – it should come out clean.

Poulet Normande

chicken thighs

A delicious, seasonal and time-saving recipe, as the entire dish is cooked in one pan or on an oven tray. For family suppers for four, I use a large Le Creuset sauté pan, but for a crowd I use the grill tray as a base for a deep foil tray and add a sheet of baking parchment, which makes clean-up a doddle; just toss the bones onto the used paper/foil combo, bring the sides to the middle, scrunch it into a parcel and toss it into the bin. A clean pan and no scrubbing!


  • 2–3 firm tart eating apples, cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons plain oil – sunflower, vegetable etc
  • 50g margarine
  • 4 bottom quarters or 8 x chicken thighs with skin and bone
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 medium onions, cut into slim wedges
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 75ml brandy or calvados or cider/apple juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 250-300ml cider or cloudy apple juice
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornflour or Alpro parev cream


Oven baked chicken things with red onions and apples in cooking tray on gray stone background.

Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC. Cut, core and slice the apples into 2cm wedges (peeling is optional). Heat a large casserole over a medium heat and add half the oil and margarine. Lay the apples in a single layer and allow them to cook and brown a little at the edges, turning occasionally for approximately five to eight minutes.  Remove and put the apples on a plate.

Add the rest of the fat to the pan. Dredge the chicken in some seasoned flour, shake off the excess and brown in the pan until deep golden.  Remove the legs to a plate and then add the onion and allow to soften and gently caramelise along with the bay leaves and the thyme.  When the onions are softly golden, deglaze the pan by adding the brandy but stand back as
it may spit a little.  Scrape up with a wooden spoon all the delicious caramelised bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan to incorporate them into the sauce. Add a good grinding of black pepper.

Add the cider/apple juice and chicken stock and bring to a boil.  At this point, either decant the onion mixture into a foil tray and top with the chicken, or add the chicken back to the pan and place it in the oven for 1-1.5 hours until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp.

Remove the pan/tray from the oven and remove the chicken. Place the chicken in another dish in a single layer and put it back in the oven to keep warm.  Bring the onion and sauce mixture to a boil and reduce by approximately half.  Thicken the mixture with either a little cornflour slaked with cold water or some Alpro parev cream until you achieve a coating consistency. Add the apples back to the pan and allow to heat through.

Place a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce on a plate and top with the chicken and serve alongside some rice or mash and a green vegetable of your choice.

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