The season of mellow fruitfulness

 

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We call it the season of mellow fruitfulness, thanks to Keats, but maybe this year, magnificent fruitfulness might be more apt. The hedges round the farm have been bristling with blackberries and we can hardly remember a better crop. They were just so juicy and in perfect time for their soul partners the apples to make that stalwart of the country cooking repertoire, blackberry and apple crumble. That is a combination we were quick to exploit for one of our popular fruity flavours.

It is not surprising that a Somerset born ice cream business would want to use apples and cider for inspiration because of the relationship between the County and the fruit goes way back. There is a mention as early as 1230 of cider presses as a means of income in a Royal Charter granted to the Bishop of Bath and for centuries apple orchards were a distinctive feature of the landscape here but they started to disappear when the drink fell out of fashion. We are delighted to see its recent revival and especially the success of some really young businesses who share our love of using fresh, local, natural ingredients.

 
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A cider farm that has weathered the changes in taste over the years and stayed true its values is run by our friend Julian Temperley who is both a traditionalist and a pioneer having secured the UK’s first ever full cider-distilling license in 1989 to produce Somerset Cider Brandy commercially. We couldn’t resist making a boozy cider brandy ice cream and were thrilled when it won a Great Taste Award Gold, twice! The team at Burrow Hill told us: "We are delighted that Granny Gothards chose to use our Somerset Cider Brandy in their delicious ice cream. Quite apart from the fact that it tastes utterly amazing, it's also the perfect pairing of two totally regional products direct from the pastures and orchards of Somerset." We couldn’t agree more.

We think another incredible marriage is our Crème Fraiche ice cream with Somerset Apple Cake and we’d like to share with you a family recipe for it. For a great finish to a Sunday lunch how about a slice of this with a scoop of ice cream and a glass of Burrow Hill Ice Cider!

 

Somerset cider and apple cake recipe

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300g plain flour 1.5 tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 pinch Dorset sea salt 225 g unrefined caster sugar 175 unsalted butter 3 free range eggs (medium) 1 zest of an untreated lemon 1 large cooking apple (peeled and cored) 2 eating apple (peeled and cored) 150 g sultanas 150 ml Burrow bridge cider 2 tsp Somerset cider brandy 1 tbsp demerara sugar

Set the oven to 170 ° C. Butter a 22 cm round cake pan and cover the base of a greaseproof paper disc.

Warm up the cider a bit. Soak the raisins in it for about 20 minutes. Slice the apples finely and dribble on 2 teaspoons Cider brandy - mix well.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.

Cream the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes, until they turn pale and fluffy.

Beat the eggs and add them a little at a time to the cream butter and sugar.

Fold dry ingredients, lemon zest, apple slices and stir in the soaked raisins and all remaining cider

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, level, sprinkle with demerara sugar

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in tin until completely cool.

Can be served cold as a cake or warmed as a pudding with a little more of cider brandy.

 

Amanda stansfield