Tag Archives: apple

French Apple Cake

I think it’s been 6 months since I last posted. I even thought about giving up my little blog. In the end, though, I think I’ll keep going.

I’ve been wanting to this cake for weeks. It’s simple, custardy, and more apple than cake. Here’s the link to the recipe. It’s delicious and super fruity. Make it. Oh, an eat it with ice cream.

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Classic Apple Pie with a Braided Crust

There are no surprises when it comes to apple pie, which is probably one of the reasons it’s such a classic and beloved dessert. Flaky crust; sweet and tart filling–a good one will soothe and fill every heart, soul and tummy with content!

That said, this pie did surprise me: First, by it’s interesting cook-before-you-bake filling and second, by its overwhelming popularity. It was more popular than the coconut pumpkin (recipe to come soon) AND I was asked to make a second, larger one just two days later!

It’s basically one recipe I used here, from Butter. The filling requires stewing before baking, which was a new concept to me. I was worried that the apples would end up a smushy mess, but they didn’t. They totally held they’re shape. The cooking softened the tartness and allowed the juices and spice to really marry and develop. As for the crust, it’s basic and really good–flaky, buttery, light. As with any crust, just be careful not to over work it when you roll it out–it’ll be hard and heavy if you do. The cool shaping into braids idea came from Food For My Family. I saw her photo on Tastespotting and decided to try to recreate it the effect. It turned out to be super simple and so very delicate and pretty!

I love this pie: yummy filling, lovely crust. The first one was great and the second was even better! I threw a handful of raisins in with the apples. They added a nice juicy pop, I thought. Also, I was able to serve the pie still warm and it was awesome. I’d definitely suggest serving it warm if you can.

Enjoy!

Classic Apple Pie (recipe courtesy of Butter and Food For My Family)

Serves 8-10.

INGREDIENTS

Crust

3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup super fine sugar
250g (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Filling

8 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornflour

METHOD

For the crust

  1. Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor or stand mixer. Mix on a low speed until mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg yolks, cold water and vanilla, and process until a dough forms.
  3. Take a third of the dough, shape it into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. This will be your lattice. Form a disc with the remaining dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. This will be your crust. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

For the filling

  1. Peel, core and chop the apples into 2cm (1 inch) cubes.
  2. Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and water in a saucepan. Cook, over a low heat for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The apples should be soft but still hold their shape.
  3. Drain the juice from the apples into a small bowl. Stir in the cornflour until it dissolves and return this mixture to the apples. Mix to combine. Set aside.

Assembly

  1. When you are ready to make your pie, remove the larger disc of pastry from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 365 F and grease a pie dish well.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is big enough to line your pie dish.
  3. Lightly flour the dough and gently roll it up onto your rolling pin. Then unroll it into your pie dish, easing it in and pressing it into any edges. Trim the excess pastry, leaving a 2cm (1 inch) overhang.
  4. Fill the pastry shell with the apple filling.
  5. Remove the smaller disc of dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough until it is big enough to cover your pie dish. Trim the extra dough so that you create an even lip that just reaches the edge of the dish.
  6. Roll out the excess dough and cut into thin, long strips. Then braid and line the edge of the pie. Press gently to seal.
  7. Brush the entire pie with water or egg wash. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until the crust is golden brown.

Pretty braided crust

Another Portland Thanksgiving

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I’m home again. I baked, I ate, I traditioned. After all that, I’m ready for sleep.

I’ll write about the pies tomorrow.

Ciao ciao and happy thanksgiving

Theresa

Hefeschnecken (Sweet Rolls with Hazelnut-Raisin Filling)

Alright, one recipe for you. (Blogging after being away for such a long time is hard!) Sugary, sticky, pull apart rolls filled with ground hazelnut, grated apple and raisins! In German they’re called “Hefeschnecken” which literally means “yeast snails”. Ick, I prefer my English title. 😀

By the way, the recipe I used is from my favorite Swiss cookbook, Tiptopf. I think it’s the one all the kids use when they learn to cook at school. It’s the best!

Enjoy!

Hefeschnecken (recipe from Tiptopf)

INGREDIENTS

Sweet Dough

300 g flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

60 g (2 tbsp) butter, at room temp.

20 g fresh (2 1/4 tsp active dry) yeast

100 ml milk

1 egg

Filling

3 tbsp apricot jam (I used plum)

150 g ground hazelnuts

3 tbsp sugar

1 apple, grated (with peel is fine)

1/2 cup raisins

zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon

4-6 tbsp milk or cream, at room temp.

Glaze

5 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp water

METHOD

For the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter, mixing lightly with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.
  2. Stir together yeast and milk. Allow to sit and “activate” for ca. 5 minutes. Then, whisk in the egg.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet ingredients and mix, gradually bringing the dry into the wet. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then cover, put in a warm place and allow it to rest until doubled in size.
For the nut filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together ground nuts, sugar, raisins, grated apple, lemon zest and juice and milk or cream. Note: the filling should be moist, but not runny.
For assembly:
  1. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, 3 mm thick.
  2. Spread the apricot jam over the surface of the dough, followed by the nut filling. Then distribute the raisins evenly over the top.
  3. From one end of the dough, start rolling. Once rolled, hold the outermost dough layer in place and slice into 5 cm thick disks.
  4. Lay the disks cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the bottom half of a cold oven. Turn on the heat to 220 C and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly prepare the glaze.
For the Glaze
  1. When the rolls are about ready to come out of the oven, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and water until combined.
  2. With a pastry brush, spread evenly over the hot rolls.


Applesauce Bread

It seems like all I ever bake is quickbread and poundcake. I would much rather be baking tarts filled with pastry cream and berries or flourless chocolate tortes, but they’re actually not very popular at work.  I’m starting to think that people like and even prefer simple. I mean, there’s a reason why there are nearly one thousand entries on Tastespotting for brownies and 500 for chocolate chip cookies alone. They’re classic, homey and, for many people, have sentimental meaning associated with them.

This recipe from Applesauce Bread is exactly that: warm, homey and filled with nostalgia. I didn’t grow up eating this and don’t have a heartwarming antidote to tell. But if I did, I would want it to be about this bread.

I tweaked the original recipe from Back to the Cutting Board ever so slightly by adding a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed, a banana and a handful of raisins. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve left the banana out, as it’s aroma takes away from that of the applesauce. The raisins, however, were definitely a wise addition. They plump up during baking and are a pleasant little burst of flavor in each bite.

The cake comes out pretty dense and moist—as the best kind do. This is probably due to the addition of the banana and raisins.

Enjoy 😛

Applesauce Bread (original recipe adapted from Back to the Cutting Board)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temp.

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup raisins

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a standard 9×6×3-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl gradually add sugar into butter, cream until light.  Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients, except the banana and raisins.
  4. Combine half the dry mixture with the butter mixture.  Then add in 1/2  cup of applesauce and combine.  Repeat with remaining dry mixture and 1/2 cup of applesauce, mixing after each.
  5. With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the sliced banana and raisins.
  6. Pour batter into pan.  Bake for about 1 hour.  It’ll be a nice golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Waxy Apple Dilemma

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Two posts back, I blogged about my day of apple-picking in Sebastopol (Still can’t get over the name (^o^) and about how  I came back with a big brown bag of Gravenstein apples. I was so excited/inspired/motivated to get crazy creative with the little darlings. As it turned out, besides the apple tart, I managed to make nothing—yes, it is a classic case of greedy girl eating with her eyes and not her stomach.

In any case, 2 weeks later, I am stuck with about 10 apples of the worst sort—waxy, soft and sad. And though I’ve been doing the whole “apple-a-day” thing, I can’t keep up. There.are.just.too.many.of.them.

I suppose I haven’t really had too much time to think about baking lately. Love life’s a mess; been drinking too much; been spending way too much. Last night, though, I was alone in the house—both L. and M. are in deeply committed, loving relationships blah, blah—and found myself staring at the apples (and vice versa).

I’ve been wanting to have a go at pound cake for some time now. (What’s with all the quickbreads, cake-loaves and pound cakes—I know; I’m not sure why I’m so into them right now.) And I recently discovered a tub of whole milk ricotta that I had planned on using for an Italian ricotta cheesecake (which I still plan on making).

So what to do with waxy apples and a tub of ricotta. Of course—make apple-ricotta pound cake.

There were recipes for apple pound cake and ricotta pound cake but none which used both. So I adjusted this Gina de Palma recipe (found on the Proud Italian Cook website) for ricotta and added 2 grated Gravensteins to the batter.

Love the recipe and LOVE the richness of the ricotta. As for the apples, I can’t taste them. I don’t really care this time—2 down, 8 more to go—but next time, maybe I’ll rough chop the apples or add less ricotta.

This is one heavy mother of a pound cake—I swear it weighs at least 2 lbs.—which is probably why it took about 70 minutes to bake, instead of the 35 as per the recipe’s instructions. Actually, when I read 15 min. at 350 deg. and then 25 at 325, I already knew this was unrealistic.

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This is a stunner when it comes out of the oven—golden, well-risen, syrupy even and with the signature pound cake crack on top. So I was kind of disappointed when I took it out and came back 15 minutes later to find that it had lost about 1 1/2 in. in height.

I waited until the morning after to slice into the thing and do my little amateur 8am photo shoot. So I’m supposed to be on a diet—it’s driving me crazy—but I went ahead and had a piece. Oh, it’s good. Maybe the best pound cake ever.

Hope you try it! Let me know how it turns out! (Will add the picture soon!)

At last—the recipe:

Ricotta Pound Cake (adapted from a Gina de Palma recipe found on Proud Italian Cook)
INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 c cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt

3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c fresh whole-milk ricotta
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean (Didn’t have any, so upped extract amount by 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (skipped this—it’s sweet enough.)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and position rack in center. Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. With your mixer cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 2 min. Beat eggs in one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out, and beat into the batter along with the extract. On low speed beat in the dry ingredients. Scrape down and beat for 30 seconds more.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth down with a spatula. Gently tap pan on counter to remove air pockets. Bake just for 15 min., then turn pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower temp to 325 degrees F and bake till cake springs back lightly, the sides start to pull away, and when it comes out clean in the center, about 25 min. more.

Note: Proud Italian Cook said if the ricotta is too wet, you should drain it. I wish I would have read that far. That’s probably why mine took AGES to finish baking.

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Swiss Apple Tart (Zuercherpfarrhaustorte)

P1060740I’m confused–is it summer or fall? If it really is summer (it IS August), then why am I wearing a scarf every day, and why am I already thinking about booking my plane ticket home for Thanksgiving? Because this is San Francisco, and like Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Though I must have heard this quote at least 10 times since moving here, it is actually true.

This last weekend, I left the chill of the city to go Gravenstein apple-picking and picnicking in Sebastopol, a cute town about 50 miles North of San Francisco. I know–Sebasto-what? Sebasto-hole? No–Sebasto-pol! As in the Gravenstein apple CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

It was altogether loads of fun–turning out to be an all-day apple-picnic extravaganza! I left with about 5 lbs. of fruit and a brain full of all the fab things I wanted to make–apple butter, apple jam, apple tart, and apple tarte tatin!!

The bounty of Sebastopol before my eyes, I set out to find the ultimate apple pastry–as in apples in the crust, apples in the filling and apples in the topping.

I didn’t find a recipe with apple in the crust (I suppose I could have just added it–you know like when you add lemon or orange zest–but maybe I will next time. Grated apple essence crust? Has anyone ever done this before?). However, I did find one that utilized apples in both filling and topping, namely a “Zuercher Pfarrhaustorte” (Zurich rectory tart) that I came across on 1x umruehren bitte. Apparently, it’s another Betti Bossi recipe–the Betty Crocker of Switzerland!

I eschewed all plans I had made that Sunday–skipping Ballet in the park and a birthday party (not a close friend; someone’s mom)–staying home instead to put together this ravishing pastry. And I’m so glad I did; I enjoyed every minute–even grinding the hazelnuts by hand with my pestle & mortar (I haven’t gotten round to buying a voltage converter for my food processor yet.)

This tart is perfect for these fresh summer days in the city–it’s all hazelnuts, grated apple and flaky, butter tart crust. According to Zora, the hazelnuts are replaceable with almonds. I also didn’t have quince jam, so I used apricot. Lovely, lovely (>^_^)<

Zürcher Pfarrhaustorte (from 1x umruehren bitte and Betti Bossi)
30 cm tart pan

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shortcrust pastry (recipe see below)

150 g hazelnuts, grated
2 eggs (M)
80 g sugar
1 ts cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
2 apples, grated

4 apples, peeled, halved, cored and finely incised
2 tb quince jelly, melted (I used apricot.)

Roll out the pastry and line tart pan with baking paper and pastry. Poke small holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Put in fridge, until the rest of ingredients are ready.

Preheat oven to 220 C.

Sperate eggs.
Mix yolks, hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and grated apples.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, fold them gently into the hazelnut/apple mix.

Spread the hazelnut/apple mix over the pastry. Put the halved apples on top, cut side down.
Coat apple halves with quince jelly.

Bake tart for 35 minutes.

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Jewish Apple Cake

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Being on a home baking ban sucks. I realize that my roomies can’t eat everything I make without gaining weight. Well, I’m officially LIFTING the ban and will be bringing everything in to work from now on! (Seriously, I understand and hold no hard feelings 🙂 It takes 4x weekly yoga and really small portions  to be able to keep my own waistline in check.)

Anyhow, this cake is another I made for the office.

All in all, a super simple recipe. Bake time states between 70 and 90 minutes–I needed the entire 90 in my oven. In any case, the finished result was sticky, sweet and and dense.

Jewish Apple Cake

(recipe from Columbus Foodie)

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 handful raisins

2 tsp ground cinnamon

5 tsp white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour one 10 inch tube or bundt pan. Combine the ground cinnamon and 5 tsp. of the sugar together and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 cups of the sugar. Stir in the vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the sliced apples and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter over the top and layer the remaining sliced apples and cinnamon sugar.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 70 to 90 minutes. (I needed the full 90 min.)