I follow New York Times Food on Instagram. And when a drool-inducing photo of this kuchen... or cake... appeared on the site, I immediately got to work with the apples I had just purchased at a local farm.
I was tempted to cut back a bit on the amount of ginger, fresh and candied, that was called for in the recipe; but I'm glad I didn't. Everything about this cake, from chef and cookbook author, David Tanis, is pretty perfect.
The only thing I changed was the oven temperature and baking time. The original recipe calls for 325˚F. I baked my cake at 350˚, plus an additional 10 minutes longer. That may just be my oven, although I've had the Viking repair man tell me it's calibrated perfectly. May have to bake this kuchen along with my pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving this year -- or at least have it alongside our coffee in the morning.
FOR THE CAKE:
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus additional butter for greasing pan
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting pan
• 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling apples
• 1/4 cup raw honey
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 2 ounces candied ginger, finely diced
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 3 medium apples, peeled and quartered
FOR THE GLAZE:
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup honey
• 3 tablespoons honey
1. Heat the oven to 350˚F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan (I used a 10 1/4-inch springform, since it was all I had).
2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar, then add the honey and whip for 1 minute, until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated, then whip for 2 minutes. Stir in grated ginger, candied ginger and lemon zest.
3. Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder and add to bowl, mixing briefly to make a stiff batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. With a paring knife, cut slits in each of the apple quarters on the rounded, outer side of each apple wedge. Slice partway through at approx. 1/8-inch intervals. Arrange apple quarters slit-side-up over the batter (I used all but one quarter, which my French Bulldog greatly appreciated). Sprinkle surface with 1 tablespoon sugar.
5. Place cake pan on a baking sheet and put on middle rack of oven. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until an inserted skewer emerges dry (I baked my cake for a total of 55 minutes). If cake browns too rapidly, tent with foil until done. Cool on a rack, then carefully unmold.
6. Make the glaze: Put sugar, honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture bubbles. Brush surface of cake and apples with warm glaze. Cake will keep for several days, tightly wrapped at room temperature.
TAKE a LOOK:
Those of you who follow LivingTastefully have often seen photos of my little man, Bisous. I won the jackpot for a French Bulldog with personality. I could not have gotten or imagined a puppy any sweeter, more playful, and loving than Bisous. He's pretty perfect. And naming him "kisses" in French was spot on. All you have to do is ask.
I fell in love with Jules on my first visit to Paris in 1997. He was the resident French Bulldog at the hotel we stayed at on Rue du Bac. The photo above was taken on my second visit to Paris in June 2000. My desire to return to Paris was all about Jules. I was able to visit him one more time in 2004 when he was eleven. Jules is the reason I have owned Frenchies for 16 years.
Last September, one month after I lost my 15-year-old Frenchie, Pipi, I went to Paris and met my on-line friend, Stacey Snacks. (see Stacey's website HERE). We had been corresponding for years and finally got to meet face à face at Stacey and Henry's apartment just off The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. She gave me this wonderful French make-up bag (which I cherish) with a pied Frenchie on the front, three months before I saw my first photo of Bisous at 2 or 3 weeks of age. Do you understand the eeriness to this gift? It's my Bisous. And by that I mean, in addition to both Frenchies being black and white, the similarities in their body structure. I have always said that Bisous looks more like an early European French Bulldog than most of the Frenchies I see these days on the street and in print. His legs and the length of his body are a little longer than what I'm used to. And, he's also BIG. The other day he weighed in at 27 pounds. He will be 11 months in a week and will continue to fill out until 18 months of age. I can't imagine where he'll end up on the scale! I've struggled with this, and have driven my family and friends crazy by always talking about his body... something that isn't important and I just need to get over!
Then yesterday, Bisous' friend, Charley the French Bulldog's dads, sent me these merged photos. The one on the left, of course, is Bisous, and the photo on the right is a 1907 magazine cover that hangs in our veterinarian's office. Yes... Bisous has that turn-of-the-century body. But it's o.k. And I often wonder... will he be healthier because of it?
TAKE a LOOK:
Recent photo of the Little Man (a.k.a. Bisous)... 10 1/2 months old (and I'm afraid to weigh him). My BIG petit homme...
Yesterday, I was able to play in my kitchen... I spent last week preparing for a dinner I made Sunday night to benefit the Madeline Island Music Camp. Being busy with that, I ignored a bag of organic pears that by now had seen better days. And since my idea of a good time is being in my kitchen and making tarts, that's exactly what I did yesterday with my neglected fruit.
The direction I took with these little tarts was based on what was available in my kitchen. I had just purchased a beautiful block of blue cheese made in Faribault, Minnesota, and had a basket of big, sweet onions. I also keep bags of walnuts in my freezer at all times... because, I throw them into everything! And, if I'm making a savory pear tart, I tend to add cornmeal to the crust... so, that's where I started.
Of course, if you don't feel like making little individual tarts, make this recipe in a large (approximately 11-inch) tart pan. I used eight 3 1/4-inch tart rings, but had enough pastry dough with the recipe below to easily make ten.
These little tarts would be delicious on a brunch or luncheon menu this fall served with a green salad.
• 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 4 tablespoons ice water
• extra flour for rolling pastry
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
• 2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper
• 4 small pears
• 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
• 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon walnut oil
MAKE THE PASTRY: I used 3 1/4-inch tart rings but you can also use individual tart pans with removable bottoms, or use an 11-inch tart pan if not making individual tarts.
1. Pulse the flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until pea-size lumps form. While pulsing, drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture, continuing to pulse until moist clumps form. Add the remaining tablespoon of ice water by drips if dry. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces if making individual tarts. Roll the pieces of dough between lightly floured sheets of waxed paper. Cut circles of dough larger than the rings and transfer to metal rings that have been placed on a parchment lined baking sheet (you can substitute individual tart pans with removable bottoms). Gently press dough onto bottom and up sides of the tart rings; trim. Keep refrigerated until ready to fill and bake.
MAKE THE FILLING:
1. In a large cast iron skillet, cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil over medium heat, stirring often until onions are golden, approximately 15 minutes. (Turn down heat if onions burn at all and add a little more olive oil if skillet seems dry). Add the vinegar and salt & pepper to taste.
2. Peel, core and halve the pears lengthwise, then cut the halves lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, leaving the slices attached at the top end. Press on the the pear halves gently to spread the pears into fans. Brush the top of the "fans" with the butter. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and place the buttered side of the pears in the pan. Cook the pears briefly until golden.
3. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Take the baking sheet with the tart shells from the refrigerator. Divide the caramelized onions among the shells. Sprinkle the onions with the crumbled blue cheese and gently place a fanned pear on top of the blue cheese. Sprinkle a little freshly ground pepper over the pear. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon walnut oil over each tart.
4. After all of the tart shells are filled, place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake the tarts for 35 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle chopped walnuts over each tart. Return baking sheet to the oven and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the tart crust is baked and golden.
I usually grow 15-20 red cabbages (I admit, primarily for the beautiful color) every summer in my vegetable garden, with most of them gifted to friends before I even think about using one of the cabbages myself. So, with the Autumnal Equinox occurring this week, I thought it made sense to finally have a cabbage dinner, on the last night of summer.
This was the second time I've made this Suzanne Goin recipe for Sausage with Mustardy Fried Potatoes and Braised Cabbage. This time, however, I substituted Chicken-Apple Sausage for the Bratwurst used the original recipe. It's your call on what type of sausage to use, but I do believe the Bratwurst wins...
I suggest making the Citrus-Spiced Red Cabbage a day or two ahead if possible; just to reduce time spent in the kitchen the day of finishing and serving. A hearty meal for 4 persons.
Sausage with Mustardy Fried Potatoes and Citrus-Spiced Cabbage
• recipe by Suzanne Goin via Food & Wine Magazine, recipe adapted
• 1/8 cup diced shallots
• 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/8 cup whole-grain mustard
• 1/8 cup Dijon mustard
• 3-ounces (3/8 cup) plus 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
• 6 bratwursts
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
• Citrus-Spiced Red Cabbage (recipe follows)
• 1 bunch of watercress, thick stems discarded (or a handful of arugula)
1. In a small bowl, combine the shallots and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes; stir in both mustards. Whisk in 3-ounces (3/8 cup) of the oil and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Reserve.
2. In a pot of salted, boiling water, cook the potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly, then remove the skins. Break potatoes into chunks.
3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the bratwursts over moderate heat, turning until heated through and cooked, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the potatoes and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning with a thin metal spatula until golden and crisp. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette plus the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat.
5. Arrange half of the Citrus-Spiced Red Cabbage on a serving platter. Scatter the potatoes and three-fourths of the watercress (or arugula) over the cabbage. Top with half of the Bratwursts. Repeat with the remaining cabbage, watercress/arugula and bratwursts.
Citrus-Spiced Red Cabbage
• One 1-pound red cabbage-halved, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 1 árbol chile with seeds, crumbled (I used a big pinch of red pepper flakes)
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
• 1/2 cup port
1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lemon juice and orange juice. Let cabbage stand at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally.
2. Set a large enameled, cast-iron casserole over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the sugar in an even layer and cook, without stirring, until melted and starting to caramelize. Stir in the butter. Add the onion, thyme, chile, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the onion is lightly caramelized. Stir in the wine and port and cook over moderately high heat until the liquid is reduced to 2/3 up. Add the cabbage and any accumulated juices and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the cabbage is tender and glazed, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
TAKE a LOOK:
September and figs. I wish the season weren't so brief. I bought my first carton of fresh figs yesterday. My two "Little Miss Figgy" plants on my patio are still too young to produce fruit. I decided that baking a breakfast cake with my purchased figs, to eat along with my cappuccino in the morning, was the way to go.
And figs are really good for you! (read this)... Another reason to go out and buy some figs.!
And, right before I photographed the Fig & Almond Breakfast Cake, a neighbor stopped by with fresh raspberries that he picked from the bushes in his yard. Perfect timing!
• recipe from Beyond the Plate
• 2 1/2 ounces blanched almond meal
• 2 1/2 ounces unbleached, all-purpose flour
• Pinch of salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
• 3 ounces sugar
• 1 tablespoon rum
• 2 large eggs
• several (I used about 5-6) ripe figs, quartered
• Confectioners' sugar and fresh figs for finishing, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. Line the base of an 8 1/2 to 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then tighten the springform ring to keep the parchment in place; trim excess paper.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed, until pale and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add the rum, dry ingredients and eggs. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3-4 minutes. The batter should be smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Turn the cake batter into the prepared springform pan using a spatula to spread the thick mixture evenly. Arrange the fig quarters over the top of the batter. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
6. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake before releasing the ring; allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and decorate with additional fresh figs if desired.
TAKE a LOOK:
There's an obvious shift this week to how and what I'm making for our dinner. Over the past couple of months, every meal consisted largely of produce from the vegetable garden. With this Mexican Tortilla Casserole, the only home-grown ingredient was the lone cherry tomato on the top. My garden still boasts kale, some beans, and an occasional cucumber... and, don't let me forget red cabbage! My husband also planted watermelon radishes and a second crop of lettuces; but for the most part, it's coming to an end.
As much as I miss my garden vegetables when I no longer have them, I am always ready for cool weather meals that simmer on my stove throughout the day. Desserts that consist of stone fruit and berries (most likely tarts and galettes) are replaced by apples, pears, and a good amount of chocolate... I love fall!
This Mexican Tortilla Casserole is simple and quick to assemble. And, feel free to swap out ingredients to your liking.