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Features - Apples With Dunfillan Crust

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Once again we near Halloween (31 October0 and bairns will be getting ready to prepare neep lanterns and decide their guising attire for the big night. One aspect of the centuries old Halloween custom which appears to have disappeared completely is bonfires.
 
In her splendid book 'Halloween - its origin rites and ceremonies in the Scottish tradition', published in 1970, F Marian McNeill writes of bonfires and Halloween -
 
'The Halloween bonfires have burned down the centuries in an unbroken chain to our present time. In the eighten-sixties an Edinburgh sheriff, travelling from Dunkeld to Aberfeldy, counted thirty bonfires blazing on the hill-tops, each with a ring of people dancing round it. In Buchan, from sixty to eighty used to be visable from one point. In the twentieth century we still find them burning in the remoter districts.'
 
She continues "Some years before the War (1914-1918)" writes a correspondent in a Scottish newspaper, "on a crisp autumn night in a faraway part of the Highlands, an old dominie revealed to me that Scotland's history was older than the date-columns in our school-books. Sitting outside the schoolhouse we were looking over the valley to where the dark mountains were silhouetted against the rising moon. For miles and miles the landscape was dotted with bonfires that blazed against the dark hillside. The date was October 31, and these bonfires were the direct descendants of the fires lit each year by the ancient Druids."
 
In recent times the use of bonfires has been relegated to an English celebration - 5 November - perhaps it is time that they were reclaimed for a truly historic Scottish celebration at Halloween.
 
Apples and Halloween gang thegither and this week's recipe Apples With Dunfillan Crust, served with cream or custard sauce, gives us a splendid baked pudding for Halloween.
 
Apples With Dunfillan Crust
 
Ingredients : 2 lb (900 gr) cooking apples; brown or caster sugar to taste; 3 oz (75 gr) butter; 4 oz (100 gr) flour; 1 egg spoon baking powder; 1 egg; 2 oz (50 gr) caster sugar; 4 tablespoons milk
 
Peel, core, slice and stew apples with only enough water to prevent burning and brown or caster sugar to taste. Place in a pie dish. Rub butter into flour. Stir in baking powder. Beat egg. Add sugar and milk. Stir till blended, then stir into the flour. Pour over the top of the apples. Bake in a moderate oven, 350 deg F; 180 deg C; Gas Mark 4, for about 30 minutes. Serve with cream or custard sauce. Serves 4.

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