Saturday, February 18, 2012

french apple cake/super fast sauteed apples and ice cream

So remember when my friends and I went apple picking?

Cute right? Yeah I know. Not so cute? The utterly homely but totally delicious and gooey apple cake. It's kind of brown and ugly, and I could barely get it out of the pan, but damn if it wasn't really, really good.

So let's just cut to the chase. This cake is mostly apples, with just a little bit of flour and egg binding it all together. It's less of a cake and more of a custard, but the edges get nice and caramelized and crisp. There's just a very nice textural contrast, and it isn't too sweet. It's just a very excellent apple dessert that I would make again in a heartbeat.

French Apple Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Apricosa

¾ cup flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
6 cups apples
2 large room temperature eggs
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp rum
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp lemon zest
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Using some of the melted butter, brush the inside of an 8-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl and set aside. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Slice the apples or cut into 1-inch chunks.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or electric mixer until they are foamy. Add the sugar, rum, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest and whisk to blend. Add in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and smooth out the top with the spatula.

Place the cake on a baking sheet and position it on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Carefully run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen and then open and remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.

But what's that you say? Baking a whole cake is just too time consuming? And you don't want to settle for a delicious but raw apple? Trust me, I've been there too. So here's what you do: peel up the apples, chop up the apples and throw them in a pan with a little sugar, some cinnamon, maybe some vanilla extract or some rum...

You let it cook down over fairly high heat for maybe like ten minutes or so, and it will start to get kind of caramelized and sugary. It's not apple sauce, exactly, but is hot and yummy and perfect over vanilla ice cream.

So if you want to go an easier route, there's always that. No recipe, really, but you should be able to figure it out.

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