A bag full of apples, a dreary day - and German Apfelkuchen
Last week we bought a bag full of assorted apples from a farmer. Not only the bag was huge, the size of some of the apples (Macoun) was gigantic, too. What to do with all these beautiful apples? A dreary day makes you think of comfort food, and there's that old saying: "Life is uncertain - eat the dessert first". I'm never one to resist the craving for dessert, anyway, and the oven was still warm from baking bread in the morning.
Among my cookbooks is one exclusively on apple cakes (Dr. Oetker: "Apfelkuchen"). I made already a few of them, but wanted to try something new. Many of the cakes are baked on a sheet pan, the kind Americans call "bars" and Germans "Schnitten". I wanted it to be simple, with a lot of apples, some nuts and, preferably, some liquor in it.
This is what I came up with:
Apfelkuchen with Almonds and Apfelkorn Cream
My cake has more apples than the original one, and, also, different kinds for a more complex taste. The original recipe calls for Amaretto, but I didn't have any and my husband doesn't care too much for it, either. Also, I liked the idea of an additional apple flavor, so I took the Apfelkorn I had in my cupboard (I'm sure Calvados would have been a great choice, too). I used brown sugar instead of white, and, also, reduced the overall amount of sugar - it's still sweet enough.
It turned out really nice, with a fresh, strong apple taste - and just a hint of booze.
APFELKUCHEN WITH ALMONDS AND APFELKORN CREAM
125 g all-purpose flour
50 g whole wheat pastry flour (or more all-purpose flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
75 g butter
30 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
25 g almond meal
750 g apples, mixed, (I used Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Macoun)
juice of 1 lemon
150 g butter, softened
75 g brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon zest, grated
20 ml Apfelkorn or Calvados
100 g all-purpose flour
250 ml whipping cream
25 g almond slivers
Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C. Butter a 1/4-sheet pan.
In mixer bowl, sieve together flour and baking powder. Add butter, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, salt and almond meal. Knead at low speed until all comes together, then switch to medium speed (KA 6) and continue kneading until smooth. Wrap dough in foil and refrigerate for 30 min.
Roll out dough to size of sheet pan. Transfer to pan and press dough up around sides to shape a small rim. Prick with fork several times.
Bake 12 - 15 min.
Reduce oven heat to 350 F/180 C.
Peel (only green ones) and slice apples Toss with lemon juice. Set aside. (Red apple skin looks nice when baked, the green turns brownish).
In mixer bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar, vanilla extract, egg, lemon zest, Apfelkorn (or Calvados) and flour, mixing well after each addition.
Whisk whipping cream until stiff. Fold into filling, and spread evenly over pre-baked crust. Top with apples and sprinkle with almonds.
Place in lower third of oven. Bake ca. 35 min. (if top browns too much, cover with aluminum foil).