Apple brown betty

Serves 4

This is a very, very old fashioned pudding made from really very little at all, but it rates as one of my very favourite puddings. Definitely try this; it's a great autumn or winter dessert which consists basically of fruit with a bit of bread, butter and sugar, and is a great place to use seconds or windfalls with the bruises cut out. If any leftovers do survive, they make a fabulous breakfast.

4 - 5 pieces good sourdough bread (crusts removed) cut into 1 cm dice. You need 3 cups (gently packed) bread cubes 1/2 cup raw or demarara sugar 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg grated zest from 1 lemon 2 tablespoons butter, melted 800 gm apples – if bruised, extra to compensate

Pre heat oven to 200c or 180c.

Combine the nutmeg and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of this and set aside. Add the bread cubes to this bowl, together with the lemon zest, and toss through to mix with the sugar and nutmeg. Add the melted butter and toss through to distribute the butter evenly.

Peel the apples and cut into quarters. Remove the core and cut into 3-4 slices approx 1 cm thick. Place 1 cup of the bread cubes on the base of an ovenproof baking dish. I use a 22cm diameter x 4.5cm depth, with a capacity of 5 cups. Choose a dish with a good surface area rather than a similar capacity that is deeper with less surface area. It will be very, very full but will bake down. Layer half the apples over the bread, then top with 1/2 cup bread cubes. Layer the remaining apples and drizzle 60 ml water over them. Top with the remaining bread cubes, and sprinkle the reserved sugar and spice over this. Pat down and best you can, and cover with a piece of baking paper and foil, with the foil on the outside, and the baking paper touching the apples. Bake in oven for 40-45 mins, or until the apples are bubbling and noticeably cooked. Remove the foil and paper and bake for a further 15 mins or until lightly golden.