Apple & Calvados Rolls

Every once in a while, a recipe goes wrong. That’s OK, after all my kitchen motto is still No Risk, No Fun. What makes me grumpy is when a recipe I’ve used for several years suddenly goes wrong.

I’ve been making cinnamon rolls using the same recipe for almost three years now; the first time I thought it wouldn’t work because the dough never rose but stayed a heavy lump. Surprisingly, once you started to roll it out, everything was fine, and the cinnamon rolls turned out fluffy and soft.

Today the only thing I did differently was using fresh instead of dried yeast, and the dough lump drove me mad. I fought with it for a while and then had to concede defeat; I used about a third of it, rolled it with all my might and chucked the rest. I’ve made quick cinnamon rolls with shop bought dough before, and I swore today that’s what I’ll be doing in the future.

Apple + Cardamom Rolls 01

But now for the good things. I didn’t want cinnamon rolls but apple & cardamom rolls. That part I’d never done before, and I was happy it turned out just the way I’d imagined it. I wanted something that has an autumn feel to it, and these apple rolls fit the bill.

I chopped the apples very finely, then cooked them in dark brown sugar and Calvados, a French apple brandy. I think this might have turned out well with cider, too. I then kept the cooking liquid and used it for the icing.

I replaced the cinnamon & butter part that goes onto the rolled out dough with cardamom & butter, then added the cooked apples and blanched almonds on top. Roll up, bake, enjoy.

Apple + Cardamom Rolls 02

I really liked the taste of these apple rolls, they were moist and smelled good, the apples and the cardamom go really well together, and the almonds give a little crunch.

Although I’m content with the result, I’d definitely use shop bought dough next time, and I’d try cider instead of Calvados because I think that has more of an “earthy” tang to it.

By the way, I normally use a 24 x 33 cm baking tray but due to today’s dough disaster used one that’s about half that size. I got 14 small rolls out of it but with the normal amount of dough you should get about 24 normal sized ones.

Apple & Cardamom Rolls 03

Apple & Calvados Rolls

4 apples [I used Elstar]
100 ml Calvados or cider
100 g dark brown soft sugar
100 g blanched almonds

1 – 2 rolls shop bought yeast dough [alternatively use your favourite recipe]
125 g dark brown soft sugar
1 tbsp ground cardamom
60 g very soft butter

icing sugar

Peel apples, quarter, remove core, slice then dice very finely (like matchsticks). Place diced apples in a pan together with sugar and Calvados or cider. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Place a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl, and sieve the cooked apples; press onto the apples with a spatula so all of the liquid goes into the bowl; keep the liquid for the icing! Stir the blanched almonds into the apples and put aside. [If possible, halve the almonds lenthways; it’s a bit of work but halved ones will go better with these rolls.]

Roll out dough. In a bowl, add together sugar, cardamom and butter, and mix until it’s a smooth mass. Spread the mixture over the dough, right up to the edges. On top, spread the cooked apples, leaving about a ½ – 1 cm  around the edges. Roll up, lengthways, then gently – without pressing the knife down – cut into 1 cm slices .

Butter a baking tray. Place the slices on the tray, quite close together, and leave sitting for 20 minutes to rise.

Bake apple rolls on the middle shelf at 190°C / 375°F for 30 – 35 minutes. Take out and leave to cool down a little.

Meanwhile, mix the cooking liquid with as much icing sugar as it requires to get the icing to the consistency of your liking. [I needed almost 400 g.] Pour over the apple rolls – cooked side up – and let it set.

Apple + Cardamom Rolls 04