My daughters keep appearing home with juicy black purple stains around the mouthes, on their fingers and all over their clothes. The freedom they delight in picking and eating as much fruit as they can squash in without the need to ask is almost too exciting for them.
And, although they think I have no idea of their berry feasting, the all too obvious purple stains and dark finger-tips give them away every single time. Meanwhile, they discovered the pear tree is covered in sweet, yellowing pears, apples litter the floor under the apple tree and Autumn has officially become the most fecund of seasons.
Gathering up great baskets of our apples and pears we decided to make for ourselves mini pear, apple and blackberry crumbles – the simplest recipe for children. They adored the process of first picking the fruit, then chopping and peeling the apples and pears rolling them all in a spoonful of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. The crumble a straightforward process involving their two favourite ingredients – sugar and butter – flour was added, as was a handful of oats and they really enjoyed the production line they set up adding a spoonful of fruit to each ramekin topped up with a spoonful of crumble.
I had grander ideas for my Autumn bounty and with dear old friends due for Sunday lunch I decided to make an apple ice-cream and pear granita, a simple affair involving slowly and gently cooking the apple pieces in a small amount of water and a spoonful of sugar, whizzing them into a puree and then gently folding them into whipped cream. Freezing them and occasionally forking the mixture to break up the ice crystals. The pears I also cooked very gently, with a larger amount of water, after whizzing them up and pushing the pulp through a sieve I added sugar syrup and then froze. Regularly churning the ice-crystals. I served the two frozen puddings in round scoops heaped into a crisp sweet brandy-snap basket.
The creamy apple ice-cream alongside the refreshing and delicate pear granita served with the gingery snap basket was a sensual delight and pleased all my guests – so much so that I took the same recipe to family at the weekend and re-served the dish. Adults and children alike were smitten with the fruit feast and it was all too quickly gobbled up.