French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie doesn’t specify any type of apple but instead advises that you should use a mix of them. I don’t know what kind mine were since I’d picked them myself (they’re pictured at the top). The rum is really vital for the taste, and the cake would be not as interesting without it. If you’re avoiding alcohol, you could double to triple up on the vanilla to compensate.

I also like this recipe because you can make it with ingredients easily on hand. Being American, I was tempted to add a dusting of ground cinnamon to the apples, but then it wouldn’t be authentically French. Hence I decided a dollop of crème fraîche alongside to be rather nice.
3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples, a mix of varieties
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.
5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter
6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
7. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.
8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.
Serving: Serve wedges of the cake just by itself, or with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to three days covered. Since the top is very moist, it’s best to store it under a cake dome or overturned bowl.

French Chocolate Cake

translated from here

INGREDIENTS:

125 g flour
125 g butter
250 g sugar
200 g dark chocolate
4 eggs
1.25 tsp yeast

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt chocolate in saucepan with a little water.
  3. Take the saucepan off the stove, add butter, flour and yeast.
  4. In separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, sugar and a little water; add to the chocolate mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until frothy. Add to chocolate mixture.
  6. Pour batter into buttered pan with high sides and bake for 35 min.
  7. Add icing sugar or melted chocolate to decorate the top of the cake if desired.

NOTE: This is a translation from a French recipe. When I try this recipe out, I will add more details. I realize that it could use more details. I’ve never seen a recipe for a yeasted chocolate cake, have you? I find it very unusual.

NOTE: Recipe comments say 200g or even 175 g sugar is sufficient for this recipe. One person said 125 g of sugar was sufficient. I’d taste it and go from there.

NOTE: People bake times varied from 25-40 min. I’m guessing this is because they changed the amount of sugar in the recipe.

 

 

Creme Fraiche

I had a taste of La Fermiere yogurt while abroad and – WOW. If you EVER see it, buy it to taste – it’s wonderful! They sell it in cute little blue terra cotta jars. Love!

This is NOT sour cream, or yogurt, or whipping cream. It is something special and amazing. Hug a French person today, for inventing this. Vive le France!

Living in the US, they don’t sell creme fraiche in the supermarkets. And recipes say to just sub in sour cream or yogurt. NO NO NO. OMG NO. Having had creme fraiche, seriously.. NO!!!!

And it’s so darn easy to make! Make this! Make this now!

Yield: 2 one cup servings

Ingredients:

1 pint whipping cream (2 cups)
2 tbsp yogurt (natural with bacteria – I use dannon natural NO PECTIN or Trader Joe’s Organic Cream Top Whole Milk Plain Yogurt)[NO PECTIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
2 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 F (this is the lowest my oven goes, if your oven goes lower, preheat to that temperature).
  2. Find two cute cups, like the terra cotta cups they sell the La Fermiere yogurt in (click link above to see picture). Or use custard ramekins. Or a small individual sized yogurt container.
  3. In each cup, pour in 1 c whipping cream, 1 tbsp yogurt and 1 tsp sugar. Mix well. It helps with the mixing if the whipping cream and yogurt are at room temperature.
  4. Turn off the preheated oven, let cool until slightly warm but not hot (175 F is too hot, you want it warm but not hot, but most ovens do not go that low). The oven should not be too hot, you will kill the bacteria in the yogurt and then your creme fraiche will not firm up.
  5. Cover yogurt with cling film. I placed it in two small ceramic pots and onto a small tray (so it would be stable going into and coming out of the oven).
  6. Place yogurt into the oven overnight. It will solidify.
  7. When done, the creme fraiche will jiggle like jello. At that point, it’s done! Fridge and enjoy!
  8. I like to eat this with honey and fruit. It tastes great with oatmeal. Granola. Cake. Pie. Any kind of dessert, really. Or by itself. Just taste it and you will know, it’s soooo divine.

 

Austrian Chocolate Cake

Cake:

2 c milk
1.5 c sugar
1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs, separated
2 1/3 c sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking powder

Praline powder:

1 c sugar
1/2 c almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 c filberts, toasted and finely chopped

Praline butter cream:

1 stick butter, softened
1 c praline powder (recipe above)
1/4 c confectioner’s sugar

Garnish:

toasted almond halves

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, sugar, butter and chocolate, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Let cool slightly and beat in egg yolks and  the flour sifted with the baking powder.
  3. Beat 5 min by hand or 2 min with electric beater at med speed.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour into well buttered 10 in ring mold.
  6. Bake in 325 F oven for 50 min.
  7. DO NOT bake until dry and too firm – cake should be moist in the center when it is removed from the oven.
  8. Let the cake cool in the mold for 15 min before turning out.

Praline powder:

  1. Melt sugar in heavy 10 in pan.
  2. When melted and lightly colored, add finely chopped nuts.
  3. Pour into buttered flat pan to cool.
  4. When cool and set, crush to a powder with a rolling pin or in the food processor.

Praline butter cream:

  1. Cream butter in electric mixer.
  2. Gradually add praline powder and sugar, beating until smooth and creamy.

Putting it together:

  1. Cut cake in half horizontally.
  2. Spread with butter cream.
  3. Put halves back together.
  4. Decorate the top of the cake with the toasted almond halves.

French Chocolate Cake

Texture: rich and gooey; center will look undercooked
Cake refrigerates and freezes perfectly, but it should be brought to room temperature before serving so the glaze will become shiny again. It is easier to cut if refrigerated prior to serving.

Cake:

1 stick butter, softened
1.5 c blanched almonds
3/4 c chocolate pieces OR 4 oz semi sweet chocolate
2/3 c sugar
3 eggs
grated rind of 1 large orange
1/4 c very fine breadcrumbs (about 1 slice firm white bread)

Glaze:

2 oz (squares) unsweetened chocolate
1/4 c butter, softened and cut up
2 tbsp honey

Garnish:

toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Use some of the butter and butter the bottom and sides of an 8 in round cake pan. Line bottom with parchment paper or wax paper. If you use wax paper, butter it too.
  2. Grind nuts in blender or food processor.
  3. Melt chocolate for cake in double boiler over hot not boiling water.
  4. Cream butter in kitchenaid on high until soft and light.
  5. Add sugar to kitchenaid gradually, beating constantly.
  6. When sugar has been added, star adding eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Now batter will look curdled. That’s okay. It all comes together in the end.
  8. Stir in melted chocolate, ground nuts, orange peel, and bread crumbs with a rubber spatula.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  10. Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 25 min.
  11. Cool cake for 25 min, then run spatula around edges and turn the cake out onto a cake rack. Remove and discard the paper. Cool completely before glazing.

Glaze:

  1. Combine chocolate, butter and honey in top of double boiler. Let mixture melt over hot water.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and beat the chocolate mixture until cold and beginning to thicken.
  3. Place the cooled cake on a rack over wax paper and pour the glaze over it.
  4. Tip the cake so the glaze runs evenly over the top and down the sides.
  5. Smooth the sides if necessary with a metal spatula.
  6. Garland the rim of the cake with the nuts placed fairly close together.

 

French Almond Macarons

Adapted from Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
3 large egg whites (use the leftovers from the French Pot de Creme)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sift confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Whisk in almonds; set aside.

Put egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy, then beat in salt. Beat in granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until medium-soft peaks form.

Add in sugar and flour mixture.

Add in almond and egg white mixture.

Add in vanilla extract.

At this point, the meringue has deflated. It’s supposed to be like that. These are basically cookies, not that airy meringue that sits in the oven for like six hours.

Spoon batter by tablespoons onto silpat lined cookie sheet. Fits on one cookie sheet.

Bake until macarons are slightly firm and can be gently lifted off parchment (bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool on sheets 5 minutes.

Transfer macarons on parchment to a wire rack; let cool completely.

NOTE: This is the YUMMIEST recipe EVER. Chewy and DELICIOUS. Buttery taste (the ground almonds are like 18% oil, they add a buttery taste). Family favorite. First dessert to go, every time.

Use leftover egg yolks for French Pot de Creme or for the Butternut Squash Ravioli Pasta Dough.

French Pot de Creme

Amended from Martha Stewart Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups half-and-half
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (10 pieces Ghirardelli dark 60% cacao squares)
1/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli cocoa powder)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp Godiva chocolate liqueur (optional)
2 tbsp Disaronno amaretto liqueur (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring half-and-half just to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together yolks, vanilla, cocoa, salt, and liqueur if desired. With a fork, stir chocolate mixture until smooth, then gradually stir into yolk mixture. Pour through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup.

Place 4 custard cups or ramekins (3 to 4 ounces each) in a shallow roasting pan, and divide chocolate mixture among them. Pour hot water into the pan so it reaches halfway up the sides of cups.

Bake until custards are almost set in centers, about 30 minutes (custards will firm as they cool). Carefully remove cups from hot-water bath; let cool slightly.

Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate. Just before serving, dollop with vanilla ice cream, blueberry compote, and strawberry compote if desired.

NOTE: I think I might have made this wrong. There was a little chocolate film/shell covering (maybe like a pudding skin?) on the top of the pot de creme. I don’t think Martha Stewart intended this. Or whatever, maybe she did. I don’t know. ANYWAY, I’m writing to say, don’t mess about trying to avoid this by adding cling film to the top of the ramekin to prevent the skin from forming or whatever. The chocolate skin is AWESOME, tastes DELICIOUS, and looks quite cool. Future amendment: Add more liquor to the recipe. Maybe a shot or two of whisky would be good? Something good, like Maker’s Mark? Yum yum. Definitely this should be added to the family rotation of recipes. Any any type of company recipe. It’s super easy and looks super impressive. It can be made ahead like three days, so you can spread out your company cooking. And it stores in easy to store ramekins (the corning ware ones with lids are the best – find them on Amazon!)