When you grow your own food in a polytunnel, you can eat extremely healthily on organic produce all year round. But that does not mean that you cannot also treat yourself every once in a while. There are also plenty of sweet treats you can make using produce that you have grown in your polytunnel growing areas. To inspire you to enjoy the food that you have grown, here are 5 warming autumn desserts you can make using polytunnel produce:
Oat Plum Crumble
One of the fruits that you might be harvesting from your polytunnel, or from elsewhere in your garden this month are plums. Plums, or other similar fruits such as damsons, for example, are delicious when used in a range of autumn puddings. One of the traditional puddings in the UK is the crumble – stewed fruit topped with a crumbly mix of flour, butter and sugar. This recipe is a twist on this classic. Rather than topping stewed plums with the traditional crumble mix, you can use a mix of oats, butter (or vegan alternative), mixed seeds and honey for a healthier yet still delicious alternative. Add cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the plums for a more deep and sophisticated flavour.
Raspberry Jam Tart
Make a simple shortcrust pastry and you can use many different seasonal fruit jams to create delicious tarts. One example is a raspberry jam tart. Simply spoon your raspberry jam into the shortcrust base and top with fresh raspberries if you wish. Serve the sticky raspberry tart warm from the oven with cream or ice cream for a special treat.
Toffee Apple Cake
Make a simple sponge mix and spoon in some apple sauce and cinnamon. Bake your cake in two shallow tins in the oven until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake halves to cool. Meanwhile, make a caramel sauce with butter and brown sugar and prepare some apple slices to place between the two cake halves. Once the cake is cool, place apple slices on the bottom layer and pour over half of the caramel sauce. Then add the top layer and pour over the rest of the caramel.
Another great way to use up apples from your polytunnel or elsewhere in your garden is to make a traditional apple strudel. You can make the apple strudel more interesting by adding spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
One final suggestion for autumn desserts is to make a traditional American pumpkin pie using your home-grown pumpkins. Make your casing using the pastry recipe of your choice, then fill the casing with a mix of blended cooked pumpkin, brown sugar and spices.
These are just some of the many autumn desserts you can make using produce you have grown in your polytunnel. If you have favourite seasonal pudding recipes, please share these ideas in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.