This simple, buttery apple cake is from the Richard Sax' masterpiece of a cookbook Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes from Around the World, published in 1994. It is called "Ligita's Quick Apple Cake" and of it he says:
"Stick a bookmark right here, and leave it in. Sort of a 'quick apple pie without the crust,' this cake has become one of my all-time favorite, most-often made recipes."
That's quite a claim. That, and the quirkiness of the recipe, convinced me to give it a try.
Sax says it's not necessary to brown the butter once it has melted, but it does add a certain richness to the cake. Use a quality butter, such as Plugra.
Think of this as a large butter cookie with apples. Or a a huge apple doughnut. Sax insists "it wants vanilla ice cream." Perhaps. But a good cup of tea or fresh-brewed coffee is just as wonderful.
I ground 4 fresh allspice berries to add to the cinnamon. Next time, I will omit the lemon juice and add a bit of vanilla extract instead. I used two large Honey Crisp apples and one Granny Smith. They were just beginning to get a bit soft, so I sliced them thick.
|The "black" apples are heirloom "Black Twig" apples. They are sweet-tart and better in cakes|
than in pies . . . that is if you can find them. It's a bit easier if you live near
the Appalachian chain of mountains here in North Carolina.
- 3 medium-sized tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced, about 3 cups
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon with the ground all spice berries
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sifted, all-purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 10-inch Pyrex pie dish.
Toss the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the cinnamon mixture. Spread apples evenly in the buttered dish.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook until lightly golden, about five minutes or so. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Pour the clear, browned butter into a bowl, leaving any sediment or foam in the pan.
Stir the 3/4 cup sugar into the butter. Gently stir in the eggs; stir in the flour until blended. Spoon the batter evenly over the apples and spread into a layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar mixture.
Bake until lightly golden and crusty. 40-45 minutes.
Cool in the dish on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve from the pan warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream, if desired.