Two Delicious Recipes for Autumn Baking

Photo courtesy of kazuend

Photo courtesy of kazuend

At a certain time of year, beginning in September, the stats for one of my posts shoot upwards. It always makes me smile as I know that people are hunting urgently for things to make with their glut of damsons. Continue reading

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A blogging milestone

This post marks the 100th post and the third blogging milestone for Cultural Life, after my first ‘blogiversary’ in June 2012 and the delightful surprise of being Freshly Pressed in February this year!

All milestones should have cake or some form of dessert. 😉 And so I celebrated my 100th blog post by baking this apple streusel cake:

As a Brit, I was initially confused by the name of this particular cake. If you say “coffee cake” the image that springs to the minds of most Brits is something like this: Nigella’s coffee and walnut layer cake. In England, coffee cake has coffee in it. It’s always interesting to learn how cooking and baking terminology varies on each side of the pond.

Linguistic differences aside, this apple streusel coffee cake turned out to be very delicious indeed, despite the fact that I unintentionally ignored the instructions to bake in a baking dish and not in a round cake pan. Hence, the flatness of my cake!

Recipe text from this page reproduced with kind permission from Mama’s Gotta Bake. Do check out her lovely blog….your mouth will water!

Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

Adapted from Gale Gand’s Brunch!

The Cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 apples, peeled and cored, and chopped (I like to use a tart Granny Smith apple)
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a pastry brush and melted butter, grease an 8-inch baking dish.

2. For the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or I used an electric hand-mixer) beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Add the apples and walnuts to the mixture and pour into the baking dish.

3. To make the streusel topping, mix the sugar, flour, cold butter and cinnamon in a medium bowl by pinching them together with your fingers until combined. Spoon the mixture over the top of the batter.

4. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden, and when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, and then cut into squares.

Blog challenge #11: Canada

Flag of Canada

Long time, no blog. Sorry for the absence. My life is currently very busy and very stressful. But this afternoon, I took a little respite to do one of my favorite things: baking. And blogging about baking. Achieving two of my favorite things in one afternoon? Way to go!

When I think of Canadian food, I think of maple syrup. After all, the maple leaf is the iconic symbol on Canada’s flag and according to this maple syrup industry facts sheet on the website of the Ontario Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (linked here), Canada is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world.

Maple Syrup Season by Charles Rondeau

You are in for a treat with the following recipe: Maple Crisp Pie. Doesn’t just the name make your mouth water? Anything with maple syrup is appealing to me…I could drink that nectar straight out the bottle. The combination of apple, cinnamon and maple syrup in this recipe is heavenly. I served it with plain yogurt and it was delicious!

Recipe source: Food Network Canada (link for Maple Crisp Pie at Food Network Canada. Recipe courtesy of Anna Olson)

Maple Crisp Pie

Ingredients
Dough

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Filling
5 Mutsu (Crispin) or Granny Smith apples
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, mixed with 2 tbsp cold water, for brushing

To Assemble

Directions
Dough

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter the texture of coarse meal. Stir sour cream and maple syrup and add to dough, mixing until it just comes together. Chill dough for 15 minutes.
Filling
Peel and slice apples. Toss with maple syrup and cinnamon.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Slide dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place apples and all the syrup into the center of the pastry. Dot with butter.
To Assemble
Fold crust over apples in 5 folds, leaving some of the filling visible. Brush with egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes, until crust is brown and filling is bubbling.

Have a wonderful weekend! Do you have any baking suggestions you think I should try (with or without maple syrup)? Leave a comment and let me know. 🙂

Baking: apple crisp

This recipe is great for this time of year because it’s apple season! 

I used apples from my own orchard for this recipe. They were windfalls, blown down by some strong winds which we had a couple of weeks back, and so it was necessary to cut out the bruised and damaged parts. Therefore I can’t give an exact measurement for the amount of apples you will need to use as the measurement I give in the ingredient list below is based on peeled and chopped apples. 

Apples from the orchard

 

It is my own recipe and the ingredient quantities are approximate. So if you find that the topping is too dry, add more margarine or if your apple mixture isn’t sweet enough, add more sugar. Some people say that baking is a fine art and it is true that in some recipes it is vitally important to use exactly the right quantities but in a rustic, traditional recipe like this it doesn’t matter so much if the ingredient quantities are more approximate than accurate. Just use common sense and you will be rewarded with a deliciously sweet treat!

INGREDIENTS

For the apple sauce:

7 cups/700 g chopped tart apple pieces

2 cups/100 g brown unrefined sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:

1.5 cups/170 g all-purpose flour (I used a mixture of brown and white flour)

Two-thirds cup/85 g brown sugar

1/2 cup/50 g rolled oats

1/2 cup margarine

 

Method:

1. Peel the apples and chop them into approx. 2 inch pieces.

2. Cook the apples in a saucepan on a medium heat until they are like an applesauce with a few soft chunks of apple in the mixture.  This should take about 20 – 25 minutes. Mix the sugar and cinnamon into the apples when they are nearly cooked. The apples shouldn’t stick to the pan when cooking as long as you check them and stir them often, and lower the temperature if necessary. If they do stick, add a very small amount of water and stir.

3. Now that you have the apple sauce prepared, pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C. I use a convection oven and have to adjust oven temperatures but if you use a regular oven, pre-heat it to 390F/200C.

4. While the oven is heating up, prepare the topping for the apple crisp. Stir the flour, oats, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, mixing well. Then add the margarine. Using your fingertips, mix the margarine into the flour mixture until crumbly.

5. Pour the apples into a large baking dish and evenly sprinkle with the topping mixture.

6. Bake in the oven for approx. 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and crunchy.

7.  Serve warm or cold, whichever you prefer. I like it warm served with crème fraîche or ice cream. But it is very tasty served cold for breakfast too! 

Enjoy!

A yummy serving of apple crisp!

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this recipe or anything on the blog, let me know.