To be honest, this is not my favourite month of the year. If the calendar was to be down-sized (budget cuts, falling Rand value, etc) I'd vote for January to be axed first...
But I suspect it's probably here to stay, so we just have to put on our big-girl panties and get on with things.
But let's just ease our way into things, shall we...?
Here's a delicious, easy-peasey apple pastry idea. Easy because it uses store-bought puff pastry and just a handful of other ingredients from your pantry.
Braiding the pastry is a little more complex, but I've included a link to a video clip that shows you how easy that part actually is, too. You can do it!
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create
Pre-heat the oven to 200'C
4 medium apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mixed raisins and sultanas
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs butter
1 tbs water
Place all the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan, and simmer on low heat until the apple pieces are just tender.
Allow to cool completely.
1 roll of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water (egg wash)
Place the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it out to a thickness of approx. 4mm.
Trim off the edges to leave a neat rectangle of pastry.
Place a piece of baking parchment underneath the pastry before you continue.
1.Use a knife or pastry wheel to gently score the rectangle into thirds (length-ways). Don't cut through the pastry - it's just to give you an idea of where to make your cuts and place the filling.
2.Slice off the two top corners of the pastry and notch the bottom.
3. Slice 3cm wide parallel strips of pastry down each side of the rectangle (in the two outside thirds). These should be at approx. 45 deg angles.
4. Spoon the filling into the middle third of the pastry.
5. Fold a 1cm flap over the filling at the top of the pastry, and fold over the flap at the bottom.
Fold the strips of pastry over the centre filling - alternating sides. to create a braided appearance.
(watch this clip to see it professionally done - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd3PMaMt4j4)
Use the baking parchment to lift the pastry onto an oven tray and bake at 200'C for 15min.
Rotate the baking tray, then bake for another 10min. at 180'C or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Cool. Dust with icing sugar.
It's great on it's own, or you can serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Wishing you all the very best for 2016!