Canterbury Bells

Canterbury Bells
Canterbury Bells represent Gratitude in the Language of Flowers

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Apples and Daughters

I like recipes that are easy to make but look difficult, taste good and for a  finishing touch, tell a story.

When my daughter Berta was here in January she made this apple cake.  It fit all the criteria above. There are actually two stories. One is from the website where she found the cake (a great website or maybe it’s a—clever?).  In the recipe story the creator tells how she got the recipe from her Russian mother-in-law and her family calls it the “Apple Thing” although the proper name is Apple Sharlotka.  It seems every country has a version of this Apple Thing.   I copied her recipe exactly below.  I hope she won’t consider it plagiarism since I am giving her full credit and promoting her website.  

The other story is that my mother used to make an apple cake that was similar and I had forgotten about it till Berta made this one, so it was nice to make the generational loop. (And wonder if my mother wasn’t hovering in our kitchen) It was also fun to search for a flat serving platter of sorts which seemed to be essential to the process. Just about the time we were going to give up, I found a silver platter and
Voila...a beautiful apple cake.  The platter search represents to me the times Berta and I haven’t always had what we needed but somehow  managed to improvise... usually with a lot of laughs.  Apples: The perfect fruit. Berta: The perfect daughter.

Apple Sharlotka
Nonstick spray, for greasing pan
 large, tart apples, such as Granny Smiths 

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour, 

Ground cinnamon,
Powdered sugar,
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (we used a plain round baking pan and it worked fine) with parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Peel, halve and core your apples, then chop them into medium-sized chunks. (I cut each half into four “strips” then sliced them fairly thinly — about 1/4-inch — in the other direction.) Pile the cut apples directly in the prepared pan. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs with sugar until thick and ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs. Beat in vanilla, then stir in flour with a spoon until just combined. The batter will be very thick.
Pour over apples in pan, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter so that it covers all exposed apples. Spread the batter and press it down into the apple pile. The top of the batter should end up level with the top of the apples. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out free of batter. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on rack, then flip out onto another rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip it back onto a serving platter. Dust lightly with ground cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Serve warm or cooled. Also good with a dollop of yogurt for breakfast.

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