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Posts Tagged ‘apple

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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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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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Being on a home baking ban sucks. I realize that hubby can’t eat everything I make without gaining weight. So–I’ve decided to BAN him from eating my creations and have started bringing everything in to work! (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 – columbusfoodie.com)

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.)

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