Farmhouse Apple Pie Cake

May 4, 2016 § 2 Comments

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Although I’ve tried, I just can’t garden when it’s been raining for 5 days. Even with rain gear on I turn into a cold, muddy mess. You gardeners out there know how hard it is to stay out of the garden once spring has arrived!

So it’s to the kitchen I go. There’s a big bag of apples in my fridge that need to be used so I decided on this great recipe that a friend had sent me. It’s become one of my favorites now. As usual I substituted some of the ingredients for healthier ones and cut down the sugar by half. That’s something I do automatically now, things are way too sweet these days don’t you think?

The original recipe calls for vegetable oil and I never use that now. Instead I used healthy coconut oil and butter and added some lemon zest too.

Farmhouse Apple Pie Cake

6 to 8 Granny Smith apples ( I used half Empire)

1 TBL sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon for topping

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

zest from a large organic lemon

1 1/2 cup flour (I used Einkorn. White spelt or regular all purpose flour is fine too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 or 10 in. springform pan.

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Layer apples neatly in pan until almost to the top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and lemon zest.

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Mix batter by beating eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy. Add the melted oil, butter and vanilla. Mix well then add flour and beat all together.

Pour over the apples, then tap the pan on the counter so the batter gets to the bottom.

Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, checking as you get to the end of the baking time by testing with skewer, it should be dry.

Cool completely in the pan. This is important as the cake will fall apart if you try to remove it while it’s warm.

Serve with really good vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. And it’s even better the next day after everything settles and melds together.

Happy spring!

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Here’s the original recipe:

Einkorn Apple Walnut Crumble

February 5, 2016 § 6 Comments

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Some of you may be familiar with Einkorn, and some may be thinking “What kind of crumble?”

For those of you not familiar with it, Einkorn is nature’s original wheat. It is the only wheat out there that hasn’t been hybridized, which allows many gluten intolerant people to eat it without experiencing the sometimes severe reactions they have to “regular” wheat.

Although neither I or Kevin have a gluten sensitivity, we do feel better not eating it. So I had switched to spelt flour when baking. Spelt has less gluten but what really appealed to me was that Einkorn hasn’t been messed with. It is the same wheat now as it has been for thousands of years. So it’s what I bake and cook with now all the time.

That said, baking with it can be a challenge sometimes. I highly recommend Carla Bartolucci’s book Einkorn. The owner of Jovial Foods, Carla has worked out how to cook and bake with Einkorn flour. The recipes are delicious and easy to follow.

Hopefully I didn’t scare you away from trying it. I simply substitute Einkorn flour for regular wheat flour and the results have worked out just fine. If you’re going to try bread I suggest following Carla’s recipes.

Here’s a simple recipe to try. I used Empire apples, MacIntosh would work well also, you want a softer apple as the baking time is short and you want the apples to soften into a applesauce consistency.

Apple Part

3 to 4 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into medium size chunks

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 TBL unsalted butter

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all together and place in greased pie dish

Crumble Part

6 TBL unsalted butter

2/3 cup Einkorn all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 TBL milk or cream

2 to 3 TBL chopped walnuts

Cut butter into flour with either your hands or a Dough and Pastry Blender, add sugar, then add the milk. Blend it all together with a fork then spread it over the apples. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

Bake in a 350 degree oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until lightly brown and bubbly.

Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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This is great for breakfast!

 

Pear Cobbler

October 12, 2014 § 4 Comments

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As much as I hate to see summer go, part of me is glad. It’s the part that weeds and waters the gardens, deadheads the flowers, cans the fruit and picks the endless supply of blueberries.

I don’t want that to sound like a complaint, but those who have large gardens understand I’m sure. And there is also the part that likes the changes of the seasons, the soups and stews, and the smell of the wood stove.

 

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Today started off a beautiful warm, sunny day. Then the clouds rolled in, and it got a bit chilly! I grabbed a sweater and decided a cobbler would be perfect for the afternoon’s coffee break. I had some pears that I meant to use in a salad and were calling to me, “use us now or else!”

The recipe uses fresh mint, which I love to use in baking. It’s from a recipe I’ve had for many, many years, from Lee Bailey’s cookbook Country Weekends. I usually change things a bit when following a recipe, always cutting down the amount of sugar, or using maple syrup instead, adding a spice or two, and substituting spelt or Einkorn flour for the all purpose flour most recipes use.

You can also make this with apples and add a handful of raisins and some cinnamon. So now that cobbler weather is here, bake yourself one, and serve with sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or just grab a spoon and have it for breakfast.

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Fruit Part:

6 large pears, I used Bartlett

juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

2 TBL maple syrup

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

grating of fresh nutmeg

1 tsp chopped fresh mint

Batter:

1 cup all purpose flour, I use organic white spelt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup milk or almond milk

2 TBL unsalted butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 9″ovenproof pie dish.

Peel and core the pears, then cut into medium size chunks.

Pour lemon juice over the pears, then add the zest. Mix.

Combine spices, maple syrup and mint, add to the pears and put in pie dish.

 

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Make batter by mixing flour, baking powder and salt.

In separate bowl beat egg yolks with milk and maple syrup, then add to flour mixture.

Mix in the butter then drop onto the fruit. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, making sure the middle is done by lifting a piece of pear and checking.

 

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Baby Plumcakes

September 29, 2013 § 4 Comments

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The wonderful world of fall baking is here! Apples and pears, pies and cobblers, and my favorite, a rustic plum tart are the delicious things I love about autumn.  The cool weather, a steaming cup of coffee and a homemade pie right out of the oven are one of life’s simple pleasures, wouldn’t you agree?

I had a few plums left over from my last Pflaumenkuchen so I baked them into these scrumptious mini cakes. I also grated the butter which, as it melts in the oven, made the cakes extra moist. You could easily make these with almost any fruit. Chopped up apples, or slices of peach or pear would taste and look wonderful. Change the spices a bit too, add some ground ginger with the pears or even some finely chopped walnuts with the apples. Many possibilities here so have fun with it!

For the batter:

1 cup flour, I use organic white spelt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 TBL cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon

1/3 cup milk

6 prune plums, halved and pitted

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top (mix equal parts sugar and cinnamon)

confectioner’s sugar or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with a little butter or you could use muffin liners. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt.

Into another larger bowl, grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater. Add the sugar and beat with mixer for about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add egg, lemon zest and beat some more until well combined.

Now  add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, scraping down sides of bowl.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups then place the halved plum pieces on top of each one.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the plums, then bake about 20, 25 minutes. Test with toothpick.

Serve warm, dusted with confectioner’s sugar or even better, some fresh whipped cream!

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Apple Squares

September 19, 2013 § 6 Comments

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Apple season is here and that means the end of summer, but I’m ok with that. Though I’m not at all ready for the cold weather that’s coming, I’m definitely ready to put the garden to bed, having had my fill of tomatoes, zucchini and most summer vegetables. I’m ready now for turnips, acorn squash and hearty stews and soups.

And of course apples. Apples and cheddar, butternut squash and apple soup, pork roast and apples, apple poundcake…..and of course lots and lots of applesauce!

I love baking with apples and here’s an easy one-bowl recipe you can have ready in under an hour. It’s delicious warm from the oven, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or cooled and cut into bars.

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1 cup flour, I used white spelt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup peeled. chopped apples ( cut into smallish pieces, about 1/2 in or so)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

confectioner’s sugar for dusting

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8 x 8 x 2 in baking dish.

In a saucepan, melt butter then remove from heat.

Add sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well with wooden spoon.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, apples and nuts. Mix well.

Spread batter (it will be thick) into the greased baking dish.

Bake about 30 minutes, test with toothpick, especially around the apples.

 

Either dig in right away, top with vanilla ice cream, or cool and cut into bars, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

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Make your own Applesauce

August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

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It’s beyond easy, you’ll save money (organic applesauce is expensive!) and best of all, know exactly what you’re eating. I love applesauce. If I have some in the fridge I eat it with absolutely everything. With dinner, for breakfast with chopped walnuts and cream and just by the spoonful whenever I pass by the fridge.

I was at my sister Sheila’s house this past week and she had a beautiful apple tree in her garden, loaded with apples. So of course I asked if I could pick some. I brought them home and made up a few batches, which are now gone.

The good thing about applesauce is you don’t need perfect apples. if you find an old gnarly tree somewhere chances you can make some tasty sauce out of that otherwise funky looking fruit.

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It couldn’t be easier. I don’t even peel or core them. I cut out any brown or bad spots, put them in a pot with a little water in the bottom, cover, bring to boil, then simmer until tender. This usually takes about 15 minutes altogether. I have a food mill, so peels, seeds, and stems are separated from the puree (If you don’t happen to own one, just peel and core the apples, cut into chunks, then cook). I add some cinnamon and that’s it. If the apples are on the tart side I’ll stir in a little maple syrup.

Remember to add a little liquid, like water or even apple juice or cider. You can get creative here and add other fruit to this too, like peaches, or raspberries. It freezes well or you could can some to have in the winter months. And don’t forget you can bake delicious things, like muffins, applesauce cake, or this Swedish apple torte.

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Apple Poundcake

February 5, 2013 § 9 Comments

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There’s something so comforting about poundcake don’t you think? A big, thick slice, eaten plain or spread with sweet preserves, it’s perfect with your afternoon tea.  I think it’s the butter, you can’t make a really good one without it, and the better the butter, the better the cake. Everything’s better with butter, it’s true.

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Pound Cake is a actually a British creation that dates back to the early 1700s, though I’m sure similar cakes were made in other countries as well. It’s name comes from the fact that the original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Pretty simple.

It’s an easy cake to whip up whenever your sweet tooth acts up, and you can vary it in so many ways. I grew up eating marble poundcake, made by taking some of the batter and mixing in some good melted chocolate before you bake it. You could also add dried fruit, or orange or lemon zest. Substitute almond extract for the vanilla, or add dried coconut, crystalized ginger and of course nuts like walnuts or pecans are delicious also.

In this recipe, I sautéed an apple in a little butter and folded it in at the end. You could try pears, blueberries, pretty much anything. If you want to skip the sugar, use maple syrup (1/2 the amount of sugar) and skip the vanilla.

If you can, get some really good butter for this, it makes a difference.

For the apples:

Melt about 1 1/2 TBL of butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add 1 peeled, cored apple , cut into slices. I like Empire. Cook until almost soft, 5 or 6 minutes. Set aside and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter and dust with flour.

For the batter:

6 TBL good quality butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups flour, I use spelt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

about 1/2 cup milk

Mix the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat another minute or two.

Now add the flour alternately with the milk and beat well after each addition.

Continue beating another minute or so until smooth.

Add the apples and gently fold them in with a rubber spatula.

Transfer to the loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 to 55 minutes. Test until toothpick comes out clean. Cake should be a nice golden color.

Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely before cutting. It will crumble if you don’t wait!

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This recipe was featured in the Huffington Post Taste section!

Here’s the link.

Excellent Swedish Apple Torte

December 22, 2012 § 9 Comments

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Christmas is coming up fast so I have to get with it here. Time to bake. I don’t want to do the traditional cookie thing, I’m not really a big fan of cookies. I don’t know why really. I just prefer cakes.

I took out my old folder with my handwritten and cut-out-from-magazines- recipes, some that predate the internet. Some of these date back to the 70’s I discovered! And there were a lot of cake recipes in there, not a single cookie recipe. Apparently I didn’t like cookies back then either!

I know some of you are probably saying “You didn’t make cookies for your children when they were little?” I did, really I did. But I’m sure I didn’t eat any of them!

I found this wonderful recipe that I haven’t made in years. But I remember it was very, very good. So good that I wrote “excellent” at the top, which I rarely do. You can see this is an oldie.

Here’s the recipe:

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Peel, core, and cut into eighths 4 Macintosh apples. Combine with 2 cups water  and 1/4 cup sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes and drain. Transfer to a buttered pie dish and sprinkle with a little sugar.

In a bowl cream 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) with 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add to this 3/4 cup ground almonds, and the juice and grated rind of 1 lemon. The recipe called for blanched almonds, but I didn’t feel like doing that extra step. You could do it, or buy them blanched if you wanted, the taste will be the same, just a little lighter in color.

Beat in 2 egg yolks, one at a time, and beat a little bit more until nicely incorporated.

Beat 3 egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the almond mixture.

Pour this over the apples and bake 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven until lightly browned. Test with toothpick.

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This Torte is also gluten free. And it’s best to let this cool before you eat it, it will firm up a bit. A little dollop of whipped cream would be wonderful on this, and it’s so light you could eat it on Christmas morning!

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

illustration by me

Farmhouse Berry Cake

July 8, 2012 § 7 Comments

I love berries! And my garden is full of them. Once they get going it’s a picking frenzy I’m on. Currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. I used to have strawberries too, until the chipmunks took over. But I will have them again, I am fighting back. But that will be another post.

The currants are ripe now, so are the gooseberries. Raspberries and blueberries are starting too, I can pick a pint a day now and then it’ll be quarts a day!

Berries are so luscious on their own, mixed together with nothing but some thick, raw cream on top. I like to preserve them too so I make jam, jelly, sauces and put them in smoothies. Of course I have to bake with them and this is my go-to recipe for a delicious afternoon treat.

The original recipe came from the Hay Day Country Market, a gourmet food store that opened in Westport, Connecticut in the 1980’s. It was the first of it’s kind back then, a farm stand originally. They were the first to provide local fruits and vegetables, homemade breads, jams and even flowers. In Westport at the time this was quite a hit. Martha Stewart lived there also and the rest is history as they say!

I’ve changed the recipe a little, used maple syrup instead of the sugar and white spelt flour instead of regular wheat. I like spelt flour because it has less gluten and is one of the original grains, non-hybridized like regular wheat. It’s easier to digest and some people with gluten sensitivities can eat it without a problem. I do all my baking with it.

You can use so many different toppings for this cake. I mixed red currants, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in this. In the fall, you could make it with apples, pears or plums. Or use them all together. Change the spices too. Cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg are great flavors to try. Mint and pears are a good combination…..you get the idea.

And don’t forget the whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

1 cup white spelt flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tbl)

1/4 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon zest

2 cups fruit

Steps:

Butter an 8 or 9 inch cake pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

You’ll need an electric mixer for this to really cream the butter and sugar/maple syrup together. Cream about 2 minutes. Add eggs and mix well, then add the vanilla and zest. If you use maple syrup the batter may separate a bit, don’t worry. It won’t if you use sugar.

I never sift my flour, baking powder and salt when I bake. I just measure it and put it right into the creamed mixture. It all gets mixed together well so why the extra step? Works for me, but if you want, you can sift them and then add it. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan.

Put the berries on top evenly, you might want to press them down a little into the batter too. The batter will rise up and cover them a little bit.

And bake for about 25 to 35 minutes. The edges will be browned and you know the toothpick test, make sure it comes out dry when you test the middle of the cake.

I think once you make this and see how easy and delicious it is, it’ll be your go-to cake too. Enjoy!

illustration by me

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