Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Revisit/Review: Epicurious

I was contemplating a fall baking experience today. We had apples in the fridge fresh picked by Tom last week, and the usual baking stuff in the cupboard - but I was at a loss for a recipe idea. I was prepared to make an apple pie, but I was hankering for something slightly different. An apple tart or a tarte tatin or something in a graham crust. Something sweet, with apples. And easy. How's that for general?

I went to my go-to recipe site at Food Network. I didn't find what I was looking for. With any of my search terms. I found recipes, but none that fit my main criteria of easy.

I have used Epicurious but found it rather wonky. I was hoping that they would refine the site, and now they have. And I am well pleased. The search time seems way faster and I got results for each of my cryptic (though narrow) search terms. And besides saving the recipe to your recipe box - now you can send it via cell phone! Love that!

I settled on French Apple Cake (Bon App├ętit October 1992) by Ruth Gardner-Loew of Strasbourg, France.

The cake was extremely successful and delicious and is still calling my name (despite being wrapped up tightly and hidden in the microwave to keep it safe from Badcat...)

The recipe from Epicurious is below, my tweaks are in red.

Opinion: MAKE THIS CAKE (people will worship you.)

French Apple Cake

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cored, thinly sliced (I used 5 small-medium Macoun apples, that's what I had on hand)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs & 3 large egg yolks (I used three whole eggs and one egg yolk, that's what I had on hand)
2 tablespoons Calvados, applejack or other brandy (Didn't use: I had no brandy on hand)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Coat pan with sugar; tap out excess. (I used a 10" springform pan with pizza pan underneath in case of leakage)

Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar, water and cinnamon and bring to boil. Add apples and cook until apples are just tender, turning frequently, about 15 minutes. Remove apples, using slotted spoon, and arrange decoratively in bottom of pan. (Let the apples cool for at least 5 minutes, or until cool to the touch.) Continue boiling liquid in skillet until thick and syrupy, about 4 minutes. Pour over (arranged) apples.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Whisk remaining 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, eggs, Calvados and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Gently stir in dry ingredients. Fold in 1/2 cup melted butter. Pour batter over apples in pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes. Run small sharp knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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