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At the end of October, we popped by my father in law’s house to pick up the ‘bushel’ of apples. Waiting with the apples outside of his house was a plastic container of what looked like batter and a recipe attached. The recipe was for Herman – The German Friendship cake.

Since the 30th of October, Herman has lived on our kitchen worktop feeding and growing, as well as feeding us and our friends. I have made five batched of German friendship cake and passed on six ‘starters’ to friends and family. Herman has served us well. Today, I say goodbye to Herman. He’s been a very good friend, so this blog post is in his honor.

If you want to make your own ‘Herman’ see the recipe below.

Starter
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 package dry yeast

Mix starter ingredients in a large bowl and let stand at room temperature undisturbed for 24 to 36 hours.

Friendship cake starter

Once the starter has, well started, the cake process takes around ten days.
Keep the starter batter on the kitchen work surface for the duration, do not refrigerate, or it will die.

On the first Day and fifth Day add:
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar

On the second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth day stir well.

And on the tenth day, divide the batter into four equal parts. Give three away to friends and keep the fourth to make the cake.

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F and grease a large roasting tray or 13″x9″ pan.

To make the cake, add the following to the remaining batter:

2 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

The batter will be stiff, but do not add any liquid.

Optional additions:
2 large apples – cored and roughly chopped
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple , well drained
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Topping

Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the cake batter.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Spread across the lined and greased roasting tray, sprinkle the topping and bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. (check after 35 minutes).

I used apples in my first go at the cake. It created a moist, cakey bread like consistency.

Friendship cake with apples

I left the apples out of the second go and it was like a dense cinnamon bread. Both are very tasty and ideal for breakfast or a snack.

Friendship cake finished

Goodbye Herman. We’ll meet again, I am sure…

It’s that time of year when British apples are coming into season. The autumn season is my favourite food and weather-wise. I know, you say it is still summer, but in the UK not really. So, now I am thinking of all the wonderful ways to use the late summer/early autumn fruits. Originally, I thought about doing an apple pie, but Martin suggested an apple tart. As I had never made one before, I took on the challenge. I turned to Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake for his version of an Apple and Quince Tart. Quinces were not on the menu in our house so they were left out. Here’s my version:

To start, I used 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped and placed them in a casserole dish. Then I covered the apples with 3 tablespoons of caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I covered the casserole dish and put in a 160˚C preheated oven for 20 minutes.

While the apples baked, I prepared the pastry. I used ready rolled sweet pastry in a sandwich tin. It’s not the traditional vessel for a tart, but we divide our desserts into portions and freeze them and this is the easiest dish for that. Put the prepared pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Pastry

The apples from the oven will have formed a compote. Mine looked like they exploded and I thought I was going to have to start over, but after the bubbles relaxed and I gave it a stir, it was the perfect consistency. Leave these to cool.

Apple compote

Once your pastry is chilled and your apple compote is cool, start to prepare the apple slices. Using 2 Bramley apples, peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Remove pastry from fridge and spread the apple compote on the bottom of the prepared pastry. Arrange the thinly sliced apples in a circular pattern around the tin. Once the compote is covered by the apple slices, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Apple slices over compote

Finished apple slices

Bake in the 160˚C oven for 35 minutes. The tart is done when the apples are softened, the edges of the fruit are going a bit crispy and the pastry is a golden brown.

baked apple tart

Leave to cool. Once cooled, brush the tart with sieved apricot conserve. Not only does it make look fancy, it adds a subtle sweetness.

apple tart with apricot glaze

We served our tart with Cornish vanilla ice cream. Serious, YUM!

Apple tart ready to eat

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