flying fox apples and french apple cake

10.27.12

This cold weather and early snow calls for a little something special with the afternoon PG Tips. I have been hoarding Maggie’s beautiful heirloom apples but yesterday's weather prompted me to finally use them.

I was recently in Southwestern France for work and was inspired by the small town farmers markets. It is fairly easy to find a market there on any given day. My favorite was a biodynamic market that sold organic fruit, vegetables and grains. Whenever we are traveling for work, I make it a mission to seek out these little markets. You never know what you will find. I am always on the look out for local specialties like honey and sea salt or liquor to take back home. At one of the markets in France there was a woman selling a very simple French apple cake. It was a plain and unassuming cake that tasted of butter and apples and not a trace of cinnamon which I find  to be highly overused where apples are concerned. The weekend before the storm I ventured down to New Amsterdam Market. The wind was wild and the rain was just settling in, but faithful vendors were there nonetheless. Maggie of Flying Fox had the last of the season's apples along with some beautiful medlars and quince.

Yesterday, I found a recipe worthy of her gorgeous apples, a simple French apple cake by Dorie Greenspan via David Liebovitz’s blogthat perfectly matches that simple cake from the French market. 

I made one substitution; instead of rum I used armagnac that I picked up in France.

This is a perfect cake for an afternoon tea or with a morning espresso. Come to think of it, it is just plain perfect anytime.

Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake

 recipe via David Liebovitzblog 

 Makes one 9-inch  cake

Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

ingredients:

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 (I substituted armagnac)

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. ( use a mix of kinds. I used a mix of hierlooms)

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.

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.

Black Oxford, Old Maids Winter, D'arcy Spice and Hidden Rose... just a few of Maggie's beautiful hierlooms from The New Amsterdam Market.

 

The beautiful pink one is called Hidden Rose for it's surprising pink color.

The beautiful pink one is called Hidden Rose for it's surprising pink color.

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good butter makes the cake...

good butter makes the cake...

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stone fruit. purslane. and korean watercress salad. lunch for one.

The other day as I walked around the green market I had a stone fruit story churning in my head. I wasn't sure what I was going to do but I knew I wanted to make a salad of plums or peaches. So, with that in mind I started to pick up beautiful bits of this and that and slowly a salad began to form.

Two plums or one peach and one plum

A handful of purselane

A handful of Korean watercress

Mexican gherkins

Fresh dill flower

1 garlic scape

Sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil

Juice half a lime

1 teaspoon of rose syrup

Or maple syrup

The main ingredient in this salad is plum; everything else is just there to add a little bit of flavor and to play off the flavor of the plums.

Nothing here is that exotic, I found it all easily at the farmer’s market here in NYC. You can substitute and play around if you can’t find these exact ingredients. Embrace a little whimsy!

Stone fruit. Purslane. and Korean Watercress Salad.

Cut three medium size plums into small slices. Discard the pit. Use any kind. I used Elephant Heart and Santa Rosa plums.

Arrange the plums loosely on a plate.

Add a few sprigs of purselane ( a lemony tasting wild green )

Add a few sprigs of Korean watercress, which looks nothing like regular watercress. You can substitute celery leaf or parsley if you can’t find the watercress.

Cut in half a handful of Mexican Gherkins and sprinkle on top of the plums, again if you can’t find these use some other tender early cuke.

Add a few sprigs of dill flower, substitute dill if you can’t find dill flower

Thinly slice about an inch of garlic scape, use a finely chopped shallot or chive if you can’t find scape.

Sprinkle with a pinch of good crunchy seas salt

Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the salad

Drizzle with a good extra virgin olive oil

Finish with a teaspoon of rose syrup (I made my own from rose petals) If you can’t find a rose syrup then add a teaspoon of maple syrup!

It is all about improvising and throwing together whatever is in season.

Have fun! Let me know if you come up with any interesting summer salads!

Enjoy!

This salad is just about being inspired at the green market and then tossing it all together! Don’t be scared of combinations just be inspired by them. What is the worst thing that can happen?

More stone fruit recipes to come!!

summer daze.

I woke up this morning with a start, wondering what I am late for and realized that I actually have today off! Summer has been flying by this year. I have no idea where the days have gone... one seems to tumble into the next until weeks have passed. I am looking forward to a few days off in August spent upstate and in the company of good friends. I have had no time for blogging this past month, life and work have been busy and the heat wave somewhat unbearable in our non air-conditioned loft. While busy is a good... I have reached the point of a much-needed break. I have had to reconcile that I am not going to be able to get to all the ideas, shoots and recipes I have had in mind for the summer season. I will do what I can and put some things off to next year. Sometimes you just have to take a moment.

Jam, however, is definitely on the agenda. It looks as though the blackberries upstate are about to burst, hundreds of them dripping from tangled thorny bramble. They, unlike me, seemed to have thrived in this heat! The black raspberries and blueberries in the photos below came from Flying Fox at The New Amsterdam Market. When I am in town on a Sunday it is my very favorite place to go.

Have a great weekend friends! 

x

sweet and sour.

The cherries seem to have arrived a bit early this year. I always associate them with the Fourth of July not June!. We had a sour cherry tree in our backyard when I was growing up, so sour cherry jam made it into out winter pantry year after year. July marked the time of the year when our fingers would prune from pitting pounds of luscious red sour cherries. It was always a race to pick them before the birds ate every last one but don’t' worry, we left plenty for our feathered friends!

I was surprised to see cherries at the market this past Sunday. Maggie from Flying Fox was at The New Amsterdam Market with a gorgeous assortment of varieties both sweet and sour!  She was selling;

Summit, Chinook, Emperor Francis, Benton. Chorne  Višnja (Russian sour),  Sweetheart,  Montmorency ( sour), Tientou, Hartland and  Royalton.

She had a few quarts of tiny black sour Russian cherries, which are incredibly rare.  I am dreaming up all kinds of things to cook up with my bounty but for now, I just wanted to share these photos to inspire you to run out to the greenmarket yourself! Don't miss out on this short season!

Sour cherry jam and other recipes to come later this week! xx