Apple cake, German way

By Mélanie, on Monday, October 27, 2008

A few weeks ago, as I went grocery shopping, I froze in front of a very interesting stand. Cooking books, again (!), you’re gonna say? No! No cooking book, no weird material, no baking form (although I could reach a record, with almost 20 baking forms my 36 square foot kitchen). Nothing like that. The simplest and most natural of all. Apples and pears, directly from the orchard.
Maybe because of the great number of varieties (and we all know my problem with having to choose) or because of the blue sky but crisp air, of the leaves turning yellow and red, and of all those clear signs that fall is here* , I got out with 5 kg (about 10 pounds) of fruits.

Finding how to use them was not a problem. First, there’s the 2-3 fruits a day routine. Then there was some compote for everyone’s lunch. I couldn’t resist to baking Deb’s mom apple cake. Then I chopped, cooked and froze the rest, waiting for inspiration. It did come pretty fast, thanks to my mother: “You’re freezing the apples? Great, you’ll have it ready whenever you want your grand-mother’s apple cake.” That was enough for me to want it. And my week-end in Düsseldorf (Germany), seeing it in every bakery (Gedeckter Apfelkuchen is a German speciality you’ll find in many backerei) did not help either.

Of course, the best apple cakes are always the one you used to eat as a child, whether it’s your mother’s or grand-mother’s recipe. It’s my favourite, with lots of murbeteig (kind of like a sweet pie crust, but with baking powder), and the acidity of the lemon glaze balancing the sweet apple taste. But I wasn’t sure of being objective. I hesitated to give you the recipe.
Then I brought two slices for my colleagues. The first comment was “This is not ok at all. The slice is too small!” The other one was a quick request for the recipe.
Is there anything more to say?

* Don’t you think there’s still a part of instinct pushing us to do strange things? Like buying enough food on a clear autumn day to survive all winter? Or cleaning and re-decorating your apartment (even if it involves moving all the furniture 2 or 3 times) every spring? Or am I just using this as an excuse for my compulsory buying??

German apple Cake

2 pounds boskop apples (about 5)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 /3 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg

For the glaze (optional)
The juice of half a lemon
1 cup confectioner sugar

Peel and core the apples. Cut them in big cubes and combine with the tablespoon sugar and the water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until fruit is tender, stirring gently. Remove from heat; cool.

Prepare the shortbread crust. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and egg, beating well.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt ; add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Flatten the dough into a thick disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°C.
Sprinkle your work surface as well as your rolling pin with flour. Roll out about 2/3 of the dough into a circle one-seventh-inch thick. Starting at 1 edge of dough, wrap dough around rolling pin. Place rolling pin over a 9-inch glass pie plate, and unroll dough over pie plate. Gently press dough into pie plate. Stir apples into crust. Roll remaining dough as directed before, rolling dough to about 1/7-inch thickness (13 inches wide). Place dough over filling; fold edges under, sealing to bottom crust, and crimp. Bake 35 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool before transferring to a plate.

Optional : Glaze the top of the cake with lemon juice mixed with confectioner sugar.

Le gâteau aux pommes, comme en allemagne (Gedeckter Apfelkuchen)

1 kg de pommes boskop (environ 5 pommes)
1 cuillère à soupe d’eau
1 cuillère à soupe de sucre
300g de farine
100g de sucre
200g de beurre
¾ d’un paquet de levure
1 pincée de sel
1 oeuf

Pour le glaçage (facultatif)
le jus de la moitié d'un citron
100g de sucre glace

Pelez les pommes et découpez-les grossièrement en morceaux. Combinez les avec l'eau et la cuillère de sucre dans une casserole moyenne ; portez à ébullition la sur feu moyen. Réduisez le feu, et laissez compoter 10 minutes, en remuant doucement. Retirez du feu et laissez refroidir.

Préparez la pâte du gâteau. Battez le beurre à vitesse moyenne avec un mélangeur électrique jusqu'à ce qu’il soit crémeux. Ajoutez graduellement le sucre et l'oeuf, en battant bien. Combinez la farine, le sel et la levure ; ajoutez au beurre, battant à vitesse réduite jusqu'à obtenir une boule compacte. Formez un disque épais, enveloppez-le dans un film plastique et placez au froid au moins 1 heure.

Préchauffez le four à 180°.
Farinez abondamment le plan de travail ainsi que le rouleau à pâtisserie, puis étalez 2/3 de la pâte sur 3 mm d'épaisseur. Enveloppez la pate sur le rouleau à pâtisserie pour la placer dans votre moule à gateau beurré. Recouvrez le fond ainsi que les bords du moule avec la pate. Garnissez ensuite avec les pommes. Etalez la pâte restante comme précédemment, et placez la au-dessus des pommes en scellant les bords. Faites cuire 35 minutes. Déposez sur une grille et laissez refroidir avant de démouler.

Facultatif : Glacez le dessus du gâteau avec du jus de citron mélangé à du sucre glace.

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