The filling may take up to 24 hours or more to prepare, but the log is best wrapped and as well as baked on the day. Although, if this is too fiddly to decide on the big day, it can be baked the day before and then served at a room temperature.
Traditional vintage port may be a bit too heavy for Sally’s apple, mincemeat and marzipan log. Smith Woodhouse’s 10-Year-Old Tawny, served lightly chilled, is a lighter alternative (£21.95; jeroboams.co.uk). A white Chenin Blanc dessert wine, such as Pierre Bise’s L’Anclaie Château 2014 from the Loire Valley (£17.95 for 50cl; leaandsandeman.co.uk) or Rustenberg’s Straw Wine 2019 from South Africa (£13.49 for 37.5cl; waitrosecellar.com), would also suit. Both combine a luscious sweetness with refreshing acidity and flavours of dried apricots and peaches, perfectly balancing the richness of this pudding.
Ingredients for The preparation
FOR THE FILLING
- 2 Bramley apples
- 2 sweet apples – Cox’s, Russets or Golden Delicious
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 2tbsp demerara sugar
- 1 large lemon, grated zest and juice
- 100g good-quality marzipan
- 150g good-quality mincemeat
- 100ml apple juice
FOR THE PASTRY
- 100g butter
- 1tsp mixed spice
- 10 sheets filo pastry
- 2tbsp demerara sugar
- Icing sugar
- Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche
METHODS OF PREPARATION
First prepare the filling. Peel, core and quarter all the apples, then cut into hazelnut-sized chunks and place in a bowl with the spices, sugar and lemon juice. Stir together and cover, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Warm the butter in a small pan with the mixed spice, until melted. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Carefully unroll the filo pastry and lay on a chopping board. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent the sheets from drying. Place a dry tea towel next to the pastry, with the long side towards the front, and then take 2 sheets and lay them slightly overlapping on the long side, on top of the tea towel. Using a pastry brush, gently paint approximately a quarter of the melted butter all over, then sprinkle with a quarter of the demerara sugar.
Repeat the process twice, placing 2 more sheets of filo pastry on top each time and brushing and sugaring each layer as before, then add one more layer of pastry. You will have used 8 sheets of pastry all together with 3 layers of butter and sugar inside – save the remaining butter and sugar for later. The other 2 filo sheets may be used if the sheets crack during the rolling, so leave these for emergencies. Cover the prepared sheets with the damp cloth.
Roughly chop the marzipan into pea-sized pieces. Drain the juices from the apple mix into a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4.
Remove the damp cloth from the prepared filo sheets and spoon the apple filling onto the pastry, along the long side closest to you. Sprinkle the chopped marzipan over the apple filling and then dot small teaspoonfuls of mincemeat all the way along the length.
Working quickly, as the filo will dry easily, lift the tea towel up at the front, curling the pastry around the apple filling. Tuck the ends in gently, then continue rolling until the width of pastry has been used. Using the tea towel, lift the log onto the baking sheet – use the extra sheets of pastry to add an extra layer if needed. Using the remaining melted butter, brush it all over, and then sprinkle over the remaining sugar.
Bake the log for 40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. When pierced with a small sharp knife, the filling should feel soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before sliding carefully onto a serving dish. Meanwhile, bring the drained apple juices to the boil with the apple juice and reduce until syrupy.
To serve, dust the log with a little icing sugar, then serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche on the side and the apple juices drizzled over.
What spices go best with apple?
- Anise. Anise has a candy flavor like licorice.
- Caraway. Don’t worry – we’re not going to restrict you to sweet recipes here.
- Chinese Five Spice.