Apple Cake

_MG_7490It's definitely getting to be the time of year when curling up with a hot cup of coffee and a good book sounds most appealing. I've stated my love for summer many a time, but there's something about the crisp air coming in through windows cracked open, when you can wear sweaters and ballet flats but don't need to worry about a heavy coat just yet. _MG_7472

 

_MG_7491This cake, which I actually made to celebrate Rosh Hashana weeks ago when Ari's mom was in town, was the perfect way to usher in fall. I love cakes that only use one bowl, and this still feels special enough to serve at a dinner party–but it tastes even better for breakfast the next day.

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Apple Cake (Adapted from the New York Times)

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 ⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 Gala or other flavorful apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 slices
1 teaspoon Calvados or apple brandy
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or regular cake pan, and set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, combine remaining 8 ounces butter, 1 1/3 cups sugar and the salt. Mix until blended. Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and baking powder until thoroughly mixed. Fold in a few of the apples, and spread batter evenly in pan.
  3. In large bowl, toss remaining apples with Calvados, ginger and cinnamon. Arrange apple slices in closely fitting concentric circles on top of dough; all the slices may not be needed. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over apples.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake dough comes out clean and apples are golden and tender, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Baked Apple Pancake

_MG_5183 _MG_5208For many people, autumn is the best season of all. (Apple cider! Plaid! Falling leaves!) Summer will always have my heart, but I must say that I do love the beginnings of fall – the first night when you really need a blanket, those first crisp apples and pears, and being in the Northeast, the beautiful autumn colors. Since it seems like now it is officially the end of summer, I have decided to embrace it –and what better way than with apples?

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_MG_5200Pancakes aren't my favorite (I've always been more of a french toast kind of girl), but since Ari loves them I try to make them every now and again. I had picked up a few apples last weekend at the farmer's market, and while I love eating them sliced with a little peanut butter, how can you say no to adding a little butter and sugar? This baked "pancake" tastes indulgent and yet is surprisingly healthy, thanks to very little sugar and the addition of whole-wheat flour. A perfect fall breakfast (or dessert)._MG_5210

On a side note, does anyone else only like sliced apples? I can never eat them whole. Or is it just me?

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Baked Apple Pancake (adapted from Food & Wine)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2  apples, halved, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used Honeycrisp) 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus warmed syrup for serving 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Pinch of salt 4 large eggs, separated 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the apples, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the lemon juice and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden, about 6 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of maple syrup and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 1 minute. Spread the apples in an even layer and remove the pan from the heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours with the baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks with the milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold the beaten whites into the batter and scrape it over the apples; spread the batter to the edge.
  4. Bake the pancake in the upper third of the oven for about 20 minutes, until it is golden, puffed and set. Let the pancake cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the pancake, then invert it onto a serving plate. Replace any apples that may have stuck to the pan. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve at once with the warmed maple syrup.

Quinoa with Squash, Apples, and Goat Cheese

I confess, I had never eaten quinoa until a couple of years. And I feel kind of bad every time I eat it since its new popularity in the US has made the price skyrocket in places that use it as a dietary staple like South America. However, I still love it. With more flavor and texture than rice, not to mention health benefits, you can make an entire meal by mixing it with a few vegetables. And of course, a dash (or a whole log) of goat cheese. Which clearly makes everything better. Quinoa with Squash, Apples, and Goat Cheese (serves 4-6)

1 large butternut or kabocha squash, halved and seeds removed

1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2 in pieces

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups quinoa

3 cups chicken broth

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown at the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in quinoa and broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. reduce heat to simmer, and cook, covered, until quinoa has absorbed broth, about 15 minutes.

When squash is done, cut off the skin and cube into one inch pieces. Toss with squash, then add apples and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper, then top with goat cheese.