The 1st of October sees the start of pudding season and on the 21st October is Apple Day, so what better reason to do some pudding recipes? Since my husband became diabetic I have been making desserts without sugar, but making sure they are still full of flavour. Using fruit in puddings and no sugar means they are reasonably healthy and of course sugar-free chocolate can be bought in all supermarkets in Spain. Cooking apples are more difficult to find in Spain, but I have used any apple I can get hold of; some just need more sugar or sweetener. We start with a traditional Apple Pie recipe, but try the pancake recipe which is very easy to make and tasty.

Buen Apetito

Traditional Apple Pie

Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of lard/marg
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Apple Filling
5 apples, peeled and cored
3/4 cup fine sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine the flour and salt in mixing bowl. Cut lard/marg into flour and crumb with fingers. Beat egg, water, and vinegar together to blend. Pour all of the liquid evenly over flour mixture. Stir in with fork until all of the mixture is moistened. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Flatten each into a 4-inch circle. Wrap and chill dough for 15 minutes for easier rolling.

Dust rolling pin and work surface lightly with flour. Roll dough to a uniform thickness. Roll to a circle about 1-inch larger than upside down 8-inch pie plate. Carefully place one dough circle into pie plate and gently press into form of plate. Trim excess dough around the edge with the back of a knife.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel, core, and slice apples. Mix apple slices with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Place apple mixture in pie shell. Place second pie crust on top and form to the edges of the pie plate. Cut slits in the top crust to allow for steam to release in oven. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until pie is fully baked and apples are tender.

Chocolate Coconut Slices

8oz sugar-free chocolate
2 1/2oz caster sugar
4 oz coconut
2oz chopped cherries
1/2 large eggs

Melt chocolate in glass bowl over gentle heat. Pour into cake tin and spread over bottom. Allow to cool. Beat egg and caster sugar lightly and add coconut and cherries. Mix well. Spread over chocolate base. Bake till golden brown in moderate oven for about ½ an hour. When cool cut into fingers.

Carrot, Honey and Raisin Pudding

3 carrots
125g self raising flour
125g wholemeal self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
25g brown sugar
85g clear honey
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml sunflower oil
85g raisins
2-3 tbsp milk

Peel and grate carrots. Place the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix. Add honey, eggs, vanilla and oil in a separate bowl and mix together then add to the flour mixture stirring well. Stir in carrot and raisins then add a little milk until mixture is soft consistency. Spoon mixture into a cake tin and bake for 1 hour in oven 170ºC. Serve with custard or ice cream.

Apple Pancakes

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup apples

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the beaten eggs, the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Finely chop the apple and add to the mixture. Gradually add the milk to make a medium batter. Cook as for ordinary pancakes and serve. Cooked apple or apple sauce can be used in the batter in same way.

Fruit Tartlets

125g plain flour
50g icing sugar
60g butter
75g milk chocolate
400g mixed summer red fruits (cherries, raspberries and redcurrants make a good display)
2 tbsp raspberry jam
1 small banana

Sift the flour and sugar in a bowl. Dice the butter and rub in with your fingertips. Add the egg and mix in the dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Divide the pastry into four equal pieces and roll out flat, curve up the edges and put triple thickness foil around the outside. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl. Brush the chocolate inside the pastry cases and top with summer fruit. Warm the jam and sieve until smooth then brush over the fruit. Slice the banana and push some slices into the centre of each tartlet and serve.