In fact, though for some unaccountable reason we call this Swiss Appelrara, its original name was Franca Appelrara. That's what it says on the messy bit of paper - now much splodged-on - on which my friend Gill wrote the recipe about 37 years ago. I have no idea why we've changed the name over the years and I don't know what it originally meant anyway. What's a rara and who are the Francs and if they're French, why did we change them to Swiss?
Gill and I were at school together. At the point that she made this pudding for us, we were in our early twenties and she was living near London. She'd just done a Cordon Bleu cookery course and this was one of the recipes. As she pointed out, it looks very boring but is in fact very nice - if you like apples and almonds.
Years later, I was saying how this had become a family favourite and Gill didn't even remember it. I'm sure there's a moral there somewhere about the influence we have on other people... but I can't quite think what it might be. Anyway, the pudding:
Franca or Swiss or Whatever Appelrara
1/2 pint cold water (in fact I use less)
1/4 lemon (I omit this because Mr Life is allergic to citrus fruit)
4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and halved
3 tablespoons caster sugar (ie fairly finely ground)
Cook the apples till slightly soft in water, sugar and lemon juice. Remove while still intact, ie apple-shaped, and put flat side down in shallow dish. If the phone rings and the apples become mush by the time you've got back to them, it doesn't really matter. They still taste good. Spoon them out and put in the dish.
Then do the topping - in fact I usually double the quantity below because it's so nice! On the other hand, this makes it twice as unhealthy.
5 tablespoons caster sugar
4 ounces butter (would this be a cupful?) - no it wouldn't! See below from Thimbleanna:
(And btw, a stick of butter here is 8 oz. and also 1/2 cup, therefore, 4 oz. should be 1/4 cup.)
Thanks, Anna! Sorry to misinform you, Americans.
Cream this until it's reasonably fluffy.
Add 1/2 cup ground almonds
3 egg yolks
Then whip 3 egg whites and fold into the mixture.
Spread this over the apples and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes, till it looks like the picture.
You can eat it hot, room temperature or chilled - it's nice any way - with cream, ice cream or not. We usually have it room temperature.
Ann, who doesn't have a blog on which I can leave a comment, I sympathise completely. America is too far away for children to go.
By the way, I actually like getting those Christmas letters. They would be rather nauseating if they were as boastful as people sometimes say, but our friends tend to be truthful, or at least sufficiently so. And anyway, I do rejoice in my friends' happiness. It's just some of those shiny happy blogs that occasionally make me question the value of my own existence - and yet some other shiny happy blogs are very cheering, like Thimbleanna's. It's all down to the tone, I suppose, and the humour and general loveableness of the blogger.
Anyway, I have marking to do, so thanks for all your kind comments and enjoy the pudding!