The very first time I came to Auckland, many years ago now, I remember well crossing the Harbour Bridge and seeing this cool looking pink building(s) on the water front. I asked what it was and when I heard that it was a sugar refinery I went "oooohhhh!" with big eyes and drooling mouth!. I dreamed of visit the Chelsea Sugar Refinery ever since. And last month I finally did!
Chelsea Sugar invited a group from the Guild of Food Writers in for coffee, cakes, and a guided tour of the refinery and packaging plant. It was truly interesting, and fun too!
We went home with a great goodie bag, and in mine there was also a pack of Demerara sugar, which I used to make a wholemeal apple cake (recipe and photo here), and then my traditional Dolomites Apple Strudel as well (images below).
Dolomites Apple Strudel
For the filling peel and slice a few apples, add some sultana, a few chopped walnuts (but I didn't have any so I used a combination of almonds, hazelnuts and pecans), 5 to 10 cloves (according to taste), 1 stick of cinnamon broken into two pieces, 4 tsp demerara sugar, and the juice of 1 lemon.
For the pastry mix 200 g of flour with 50 g of butter (cubed, vegans can use margarine), 2 tsp demerara sugar and 100 ml cold water. Mix well by hand and shape into a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then roll out into a large oval, as thin as you can manage. Spread the apples on top and roll up. Pinch both sides of the strudel and turn them in to resemble a gigantic croissant. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 180°C for almost one hour. The sugary juice that comes out from the pastry is a bit like caramel, but with an apple flavoru!
This is my favourite apple pie ever (and like my Mum's make it in the Dolomites in Italy).
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©