This traditional Irish recipe typifies how easy it is to take everyday ingredients and speedily turn them into something scrumptious. Peel a few extra spuds when making mash and you’ll have enough for this cake. Of course you can glam it up a bit by adding a spoonful or two of rum-soaked raisins or a handful of hedgerow blackberries to the apples. Or for a savoury note, add a little grated Cheddar to the potato dough. However, I like it most of all made simply with the unassuming, but very worthy, cooking apple.
- Yield: 8 Servings (depending on appetites)
- 500 g mashed potatoes
- 25 g unsalted butter, melted
- 125 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 400 g cooking apples
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 25 g unsalted butter, cut into 4 slices
- 100 g caster sugar
- Large baking sheet, lightly floured
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Place the mashed potatoes in a mixing bowl (if using freshly cooked potatoes allow them to dry off first). Add the melted butter and sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon or your hand, bring together to form a soft, smooth dough. Divide the mixture in two.
- On a floured surface, shape each portion of dough into a 20 cm circle, then place one round on the baking sheet. Peel, core and finely slice the apples. Layer them on top of the dough to within 1 cm of the edge and dust with the ground cloves. Dampen the edge of the dough with a little water. Place the second dough round on top. Seal the edges by lightly turning with the sides of your hands, moulding until the cake is neatly formed with a flat top and is about 3 cm deep. Using a sharp knife, lightly score a cross on the surface and make a small hole in the centre.
- Bake in the oven for 35–50 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and, working quickly from the centre, lightly prise back each quarter and insert the butter slices and sugar, then replace the dough. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to allow the butter to melt.
- This cake is best by far when eaten fresh from the oven, but any left over will not disappoint when cold.