Wednesday, September 13, 2017

French Apple Cake. One Heavenly Cake You Must Bake This Fall!






French Apple Cake. Don't be fooled by the fancy name, this cake is unbelievably easy and the results are just divine! This cake from Dorie Greenspan has a whole lot of apples and just enough flour to hold them all together. Buttery and super moist, this cake is a breeze to make. 

You don't even need to go scouting around for the 'right' kind of apples, you can actually use whatever you have or can find easily. You can use rum for a more authentic flavor, but vanilla is amazing too. Just the kind of cake you would want to bake for company. Wonderful served as it when warm, incredibly good served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 


                                                              
This recipe is from Dorie's book Around the French Table.  For most people, baking is about measures and method, but for her talented French friend Helene ( and the majority of the French population I gather), it is just throwing things together, adding a bit of this and that as you go. Dorie loved this cake, but her friend just could not give her the exact recipe! 

She experimented to recreate that cake and now Thanks to Dorie's perfect recipe, you and I can have a slice of this delightful French cake right at home. You will see how incredibly simple this is!   

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Ingredients 
(please weigh for best results)

All purpose flour/maida - 110 grams (approx 3/4 cup), read note below
Baking powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Salt - tiny pinch
Apples - 4 large / 525 grams approximate weight after peeling and coring them
Eggs - 96 grams without shell / 2 large, at room temperature
Vanilla sugar, powdered - 150 grams 
Dark rum - 3 tablespoons (OR 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk with 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. If using synthetic essence, use just 1 teaspoon)
Soft Unsalted butter - 112 grams / 1/2 cup, melted and cooled to room temperature

Method : 
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Generously Butter an 8 0r 9'' springform tin. I used an 8x3'' one
  • Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. 
  • Peel and core the apples, cut them into 1-inch chunks 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until they are foamy, we are not trying to work up a volume. 
  • Add the sugar, whisk till it dissolves. 
  • Whisk in the rum (or milk) and vanilla.
  • Gently whisk in half the flour, then half the melted butter.
  • Mix in the rest of the flour and then the remaining butter.
  • Be sure you mix well after each addition. You will have a smooth and thick batter.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold in the cubed apples, the batter needs to coat the pieces.  It will look like a lot of apples coated with very little batter, that is how it is meant to be!
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top. Place the pan on the baking sheet
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Place the tin on a cooling rack, let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Run a blunt knife around the cake, making sure no apples are stuck to the pan. Remove the clasp of the tin. Let the cake cool completely. 
  • 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.
  • Cut into wedges and serve. It is fabulous warm on its own. You could also serve with creme fraiche or vanilla /cinnamon ice cream. Cinnamon ice cream will be heavenly I can imagine! Chilled creme anglaise is another of my favorites with this cake. 
  • Store:  The cake can be stored for 2 days at room temperature. It tastes more like apple clafoutis the next day, which is wonderful too! 
Variation: I made mini cakes replacing the flour with 1 part flour and 2 parts millet flour and it turned out good! 

Am sure you have some apples in your fruit basket, do not wait, try this today! Like me, you will make this again and again!

Looking for more? How about this 100% Whole Wheat Moist Carrot & Pineapple Cake? Makes an amazing snack box treat!






Friday, September 8, 2017

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse




Rich, dark and decadent, bittersweet chocolate mousse. Need I say more? There are different recipes you could try to make this irresistible chocoholic's dessert. Whipped egg white is commonly folded into melted chocolate to make it light and airy. You can also simply fold in whipped cream into melted chocolate. Then there is Heston Blumenthal's revolutionary method where he makes mousse with just chocolate and water! Alice Medrich's Irish Coffee Mousse involves cooking eggs indirectly to eliminate the risk of salmonella, so on and so forth.

I tried this recipe from David Lebovitz from his book Ready For Dessert and it turned out to be so good! Why wouldn't it be considering he makes it by folding in whipped cream into silky, smooth chocolate custard? Eggs do make a difference here. David suggests serving the mousse with Pear and Fig Chutney. Even if you are not adventurous enough to try that, please do try the mousse. Topped with some coffee whipped cream, you will love it! 



Ingredients

Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate 280 grams, chopped( I used More Dark)
Whole milk - 180 ml
Instant coffee - 1/2 teaspoon
Granulated sugar - 2 tablespoons / 30 grams( I used 1 tablespoon)
Egg yolks - 4, large / 72 grams
Rum or cognac - 2 teaspoons
Heavy cream, cold - 1/2 cup/120 ml ( I used Milky Mist)

Method: Put the chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, instant coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks. Very slowly dribble the hot milk into the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat stirring constantly. The custard needs to cook and coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to overcook or it will curdle. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer, over the chocolate. Stir to melt until smooth. Stir in rum or cognac if using. Let cool completely.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Let the cream come to room temperature. This is very important. Then gently fold in the whipped cream into 1/3 of the chocolate custard. Then fold in the rest gently until you see no streaks of cream. Spoon into glasses, keep the portions small, the mousse is quite rich. Chill until set, about 3 hours or over night. 

Author's note: You can transfer the mousse to a wide, shallow container before chilling to help it firm up faster. 

Confession: I folded in double the amount of whipped cream by mistake, but the mousse tasted just fine and quite rich. I will be making this again, will post an update here.
I have used less sugar, you can make half the above recipe, and make changes as needed before you serve this at a dinner party :) 




Watch my video How to Whip Cream