One of the things that I miss most about being back home on the acreage in BC is the abundance of apples we got from the apple tree…and the blueberries, and cherries, and walnuts….sigh. I do definitely need to figure out how to garden soon though, I’m told the weather in Nova Scotia will get better (doubtful) and that I’ll be able to have herbs and flowers if I want as well, what a concept! I’m used to my grandma and mom doing all the gardening; I know, I know, what a loser. But still, I miss the bounty of a garden, and the pleasure of making a meal out of the fruits of my (grandma and mom’s) labour. (I should give myself SOME credit; I did always help shovel the manure).
Anyway, Baking with apples is my absolute favourite; they’re so versatile; pie, cake, muffins, sauce, cookies, baked with ice cream, the list goes on and on. Although I get the urge to bake all the time, I usually take my time finding a recipe that really makes me drool, a lot, and then I bake it and take my time enjoying it. Lately though, I say “I’m craving something sweet, what do I have?” and if I don’t have a chocolate bar in the candy drawer, I just look in the fridge to see what I have, mosey on over to the computer and find a recipe that suits the food-stuffs in the kitchen. I had a few apples that were days away from going bad so I had to use them ASAP! There are a lot of things in life I’m not sure of, and only a few that I am sure of; one of those things is that the Barefoot Contessa knows good food, nay, great food. The texture of this cake is AH-MAY-ZING, the sour cream makes it super moist and there is something seductive about the way that the apples and sugar caramelize to make a ooey gooey topping. I should mention, that I wanted a bit of an apple pie flavour to the apple topping, so I added about a ½ tsp of ground cinnamon; divine. I should also mention, that if you’re making this for an event or party, make a lot; I poured the batter into a 9×9 dish, and it only lasted us one night…
BEHOLD! (again, sorry for the terrible photo, and the piece missing…)
Barefoot Contessa’s Apple Cake Tatin
adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/barefoot-contessa/apple-cake-tatin-recipe/index.html
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish (I just used a bit of veggie oil)
- 1 1/4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest ( I didn’t have lemons, so I omitted this completely)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish (I used a 9×9 cake pan) and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down.
Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir, swirl in cinnamon if using. Pour evenly over the apple slices.
Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.
Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
This cake tastes absolutely fabulous right out of the oven (after about 10 minutes of cooling time, of course) and it tastes great cold with a cup of tea. It’s made it into the recipe book, and has been made more than once, this one is definitely a keeper.