Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Apple Diaries 2015 - Mary Apple's Cake

I was browsing back through this blog earlier today, thinking that I needed some inspiration for a pudding this weekend, and I stumbled upon a post I'd written in 2008 which talked about our 'teeny tiny apple tree' next to the drive of Bramley Cottage.  It made me laugh because now, 7 years later, that tree is definitely not teeny tiny any more!  It's easily 10ft high - and probably 10ft wide too - and this year is absolutely laden with huge Bramley apples.  The apple crop seems to be superb on alternate years; last year I think we had the grand total of 3 apples on the tree, but thankfully I had made jars and jars of chutneys and apple jellies during the previous year's glut so it didn't particularly matter.  But this year it'll be back to the stove for multiple batches of apple-based preserves to see us through the next 2 years, and as many apple dishes as we can possibly eat!

So I thought I'd keep an online 'apple diary' of the dishes that we make, sweet and savoury, to refer back to in future years when I'm drowning under the weight of apples again.

First off is an appley pudding that I first made back in 2008.  The recipe is already on this blog but buried in a long post about lots of recipes, so I thought it deserved repeating.  The recipe credit must go to Patricia Wells, but it was posted long ago in the food-forum to which I belong by a wonderful cook who went by the screen-name of 'Mary Apple'.  I have no record of whether this should be made with eating or cooking apples, but I like it with Bramleys as they provide a sharp contrast to the sweet batter and the sweetness of the vanilla custard with which we serve it. 

Mary Apple's Cake

In a pie pan (I used a 20cm springform) peel and slice 4 apples; I tend to quarter the apples and then slice them across each quarter to give approximately inch-square pieces.  (It's hard to judge this amount when using Bramleys as they vary so much in size, but I used 3 large ones - with lots of bruised and buggy bits cut out!  You need the pan to be about 3/4 full with apple.  Yes, that's a LOT of apples!)

In a bowl mix 1/2 cup plain flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tbsp milk (or cream), 1 tsp vanilla, a pinch of salt, 1 tbsp baking powder, 2 eggs.

Mix and pour over apples.  There won't be very much of this mixture, but stir it around in the sliced apples as much as you are able.

Bake at 350F/180C for about 20-25 min till light brown.  Some of the apple pieces may catch slightly if they are sticking up but this really doesn't matter. 

Take out and top with a thin paste made from 3 tbsp softened butter, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 egg.

Put back in the oven until browned - about 10-15 minutes.

This is really more of a dessert than a cake as its a large proportion of apples to a rather smaller amount of batter.   The batter is partially cakey but also slightly reminiscent of clafoutis, that eggy batter pudding well-loved in France.  The buttery topping adds a slight crispness around the edges of the cake and a rich decadent flavour, almost caramel-like. 

Buttery crispness, mmm!

 Served in a pool of custard.

Edited to add that this is also delicious servedwith half-fat crème fraîche. 

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