Well it seems the sun has gone on a vacation around here this last week. Occasionally, we are getting an hour or so of sun but rain seems to be the consistent weather pattern lately. On Sunday night we had so much rain and wind that it changed the landscape overnight.
We were huddled inside next to the fire listening to the rain pelt down on the skylight and the wind howl steadily through the trees and against the windows. We tried to watch a documentary film but the power eventually went out after several flickers and flashes of lights. There we sat by the fire with headlamps, reading and knitting. It made me think that life might have been simpler when there wasn’t electricity. Simple. The sun goes down, it gets dark and you go to bed. No staying up into the wee hours of the morning to be productive and get done what you can’t during the day. Darkness signified it was time to go to sleep.
The headlamp thing soon wore off and we headed to bed. The wind blew all night and in the morning we went out to survey what sort of damage may have been done. The neighbor’s tree blew down, a willow, and landed on the fence near the carriage house. The other neighbor had a maple tree crack in half and it was lying across the driveway blocking it. Everyone pitched in and did their part and as of just a few minutes ago the trees are bucked up for firewood and removed.
I lost interest in the fallen trees fairly quickly but I did think about what else may have fallen with the strong wind and rain. Things like apples and pears from our own trees and the neighbor’s trees. As I surveyed the fence line there were several large apples on the ground and in the hedgerow. Naturally, I picked them up. As well, the wind was very helpful in blowing down hundreds of more hazelnuts. So today I found a way to use the apples I found. I thought I would share the recipe as it is simple and very delicious.
The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Tessa Kiros. The book is titled, Falling Cloudberries, a world of family recipes. This book is a collection of recipes and stories from the many lands and cultures Tessa and her family have lived in. Her mother is Finnish and her father was Greek Cypriat but she grew up in South Africa. This is one of the recipes she collected from South Africa. Her friend’s mother would make this sometimes when Tessa came to their house. She notes that the recipe has probably changed over time as she transferred the recipe from one notebook to another. As with many recipes, they tend to evolve over time. I changed the recipe slightly myself and because it turned out well I will probably stick with my own adaptation of the recipe.
Apple Cake with Toffee Topping
4 large Gravenstein apples
55g brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
Peel, core and slice the apples. Place in a large pot with sugar and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring often. When the apples are tender remove from the heat and cool.
100g softened butter
200g white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
200g cake flour or all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Cream the butter and vanilla until pale and creamy.
115g brown sugar
125ml heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Grease and flour a deep 9 ½ inch springform tin.
Cover the bottom of the pan with the cooked apple mixture making sure there are no gaps showing the bottom of the tin.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, beating well after each. Sift and beat in the flour and baking powder, alternating with the milk until the batter is soft and fluffy. Scrape out the batter over the apples and smooth to cover. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and make the topping.
Put the butter in a pot to melt. Add the brown sugar and stir until sugar is somewhat dissolved. Add the cream a drop at a time at first and then gradually pouring. Lower the heat and cook for two minutes more once the cream is added.
Using a fork, make holes in the top of the cake. Pour the caramel topping slowly over the entire cake allowing it to seep into the cake. When the cake is cooled a little more remove spring form ring and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or a big dollop of whipped cream.