Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Rainy Afternoon with the Stasi

Joe We had a beautiful week here—clear and sunny, with highs in the mid 20s—but nothing lasts forever, and today has been gray, wet, and 19°. In response, we decided to have a movie afternoon, so in honor of our recent stay in the former East Berlin we re-watched the excellent Das Leben der Anderen. And since the weather has suddenly become autumnal, I decided to make us an extremely traditional autumn fika treat: Swedish äppelkaka. It's a very simple recipe, one that everyone in Sweden should have learned from their mormor. It's too simple, in fact, to show up in any of our cookbooks, so I was forced to googlar it. I eventually settled on a combination of two recipes, mainly a very traditional one from Dorie Greenspan. The other was a recipe that Jennifer found, which suggested sautéing the apples in butter and cinnamon beforehand. Here's what I did:
Biking is so pleasant in the summer time…
  • 4 apples (I used 2 Granny Smiths and 2 Early Transparents)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 100 g all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 large egg plus 1 medium egg yolk (what I had on hand) 
  • 150 g sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract  
  • 115 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  1. Prep: Melt the butter. Preheat oven to 175°. Butter a pie dish, or even better an iron skillet.
  2. Peel core and slice the apples. Over medium-high heat, melt the 2 tbsp of butter. When done foaming, add apple slices, 2 tbsp sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until softened, stirring now and then.
  3.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and pale. Then stir in vanilla and cooled butter. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
  5. The apples should be done by now (or maybe they've been done for a while now, better go and check). Pour them into the baking vessel, and spread evenly over the bottom. Then pour the batter over them. Smooth the top out to make it even.
  6. Bake on the center rack for about 40 minutes (mine was done at 35, but my pan was a little large so the cake was pretty thin).
  7. When a toothpick comes out clean, bring it out and let it cool for a few minutes. Then invert the cake onto a serving plate to get those apples on top.
  8. Serve with vanilla sauce if you want to be very Swedish (just a warm cream sauce, really)—we opted for vanilla ice cream, instead. Brew some coffee, light a candle, and fire up a depressing film about East Germany!
Normally the apples would be uncooked and would go right on top, and then the cake sort of puffs up between them. This turned out pretty well, though, with plenty of nice cinnamon flavor, and a yummy crust on what wound up being the bottom. Should have used a slightly smaller pan, though, as thecake itself was pretty thin. Still, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Tomorrow night: schnitzel and Good Bye, Lenin!

1 comment:

  1. Look at you, posting recipes! Yay. I'm going to start inserting "baking vessel" into random conversations. Sounds lovely and the newer blog design is quite sharp.