The first response to our social media request for local apples in exchange for Bakes and Balls Energy Balls vouchers was that it “…sounds like a slightly dodgy dating service!” Let me explain…
For many years, the family have enjoyed going to the National Trust’s Acorn Bank near Temple Sowerby, Penrith for their annual Apple Day. The best part for me has been having the chance to taste the huge variety of apples grown in the region. There are over 100 varieties grown in Acorn Bank’s orchard alone, with Greenup’s Pippin being one of those with roots dating back to the 1700s . The flavours are tremendous and put to shame the bland and limited range available in the majority of supermarkets.
Earlier in the year, when we were testing out drying different fruits I made the mistake that has led to the development of what will become a limited-edition range of energy balls. I was dehydrating some apples (English, of course) and on the tray above decided to dry a puree of blackberries from the freezer. The pulp was spread across the tray, but when the drying process was finished and the lid removed, there was little more than small dark pips stuck to the first tray. On the tray below were some rather interesting (and it turns out, delicious) apple slices speckled with blackberries. I had forgotten to put the solid sheet on before the blackberries and the puree had dripped through to the apples underneath.
Apple and Blackberry is a classic combination. I remember well the pies that my Grandma used to bake and the hot crumbles that stoked our bodies throughout the winter, courtesy of the stock of fruit in the large chest freezer. It was only natural that I would want to come up with an Apple and Bramble Energy Ball. My love of texture (in case you had not guessed from trying the Howgills’ Gingerbread or Coffee and Mango Balls) meant that it had to be an Apple and Bramble Crumble Ball. I am really excited about working with the different flavours of local heritage apple and combining them with oats (gluten-free, of course) and cinnamon, as well as a few extra surprise ingredients, to create this series of limited-edition balls. In celebrating the variety of apples still available to us this will hopefully inspire a few people to seek out some of the more unusual ones and who knows, maybe even plant their own stock in the garden.
If you know of somebody who has surplus apples (in particular any unusual varieties) and lives within an hour’s drive from Sedbergh, please encourage them to get in touch. They will be rewarded with Bakes and Balls Vouchers in exchange. They will also be giving Adam and I the opportunity to compete for the longest Apple Peel!
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