Halloween is a great time for young people to begin baking when they are off school for mid-term break. You can start them with something they will definitely enjoy eating – s’mores.

The key to this recipe is good quality chocolate. I use a 50% cocoa solids, which is a good balance - not too dark and not too sweet. And when I think chocolate I always think of Aine’s Handmade Chocolate, which is made not far from me in Stradone, Co Cavan.

S’mores are an American campfire treat where you melt marshmallows on sticks and sandwich them between biscuits and a square of chocolate. The heat from the marshmallows melts the chocolate. Instead, I’m using a gooey chocolate brownie cookie.

The next recipe is apple pie, which was one of the first things I ever baked with my mother. We have a lot of great apple producers in Ireland. Bramley’s work well in this recipe. Recently my neighbour, Francis McManus, left me some of his delicious apples. They were put to good use. Thank you Francis.

Happy Cooking, Neven


Makes 12

350g (12oz) plain chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1½oz) butter

2 eggs

150g (5oz) caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp plain flour

¼ tsp baking powder

12 marshmallows

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Place 200g (7oz) of the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Melt and then stir until smooth. Cool.

2 Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until doubled in size, then whisk in the sugar and vanilla until you have a stiff mixture that can hold a trail of the figure eight. Sift over the flour and baking powder and gently fold in.

3 Add the melted chocolate with the rest of the chopped chocolate and fold in gently. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then spoon tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper – you need 24 in total. Bake for eight minutes, then cool.

4 Thread the marshmallows onto metal skewers. Hold the skewers over a campfire or barbecue (or you could use a gas stove or hearth fire), turning slowly until toasted. Sandwich the marshmallow together the chocolate brownie cookies to serve.


Serves 6–8

300g (11oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tbsp icing sugar

100g (4oz) chilled butter, diced, plus extra for greasing

2 large egg yolks

2–3 tablespoons ice-cold water

1kg (2¼lb) mixed Irish apples, such as Elstar, Jonagold and Golden Delicious, peeled, cored and sliced

50g (2oz) caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 egg

chilled cream, to serve (optional)

1 Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Using a table knife, work in the butter, then mix in the egg yolks with just enough of the ice-cold water to make a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

2 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/ gas mark 5). Cut the pastry in half and roll one piece out on a floured surface. Use to line the bottom of a 23cm (9in) buttered pie dish, leaving a 1cm (½in) overhang.

3 Mix the sliced apples in a bowl with the caster sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Add them to the lined pie dish. Roll out the rest of the pastry large enough to cover the apples. Beat the egg and use to brush the edges, then lay the pastry on top.

4 Crimp the edges of the pie and roll out the trimmings to decorate. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Make small slits in the top and bake for 50–55 minutes, until golden. Serve warm cut into slices with some cream, if you like.

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