Thursday, December 08, 2011

Apple Torte.

I don't wait for occasions to occur when I want to bake. There are never enough occasions anyway.
I usually stare into the fridge/pantry/open air until an idea materializes. And then I go search for a recipe or, if I am lucky, remember one on my endless list of things to make (It's a google doc but I have started to print them out. So there is now a loose pile of papers sitting next to my cookbooks).

This cakes occasion presented itself in the form of three 7oz. packages of cream cheese in my fridge that my husband had bought for me when I was on the verge of tears over this one.

Apple Torte.

I also had some sad apples sitting around in the fruit bowl. And some time.
Because that's the one thing this cake really requires: Time.
There are three parts: A crust that needs chilling and par-baking, a sweet cream cheese filling and maple syrup sweetened apples.
At the same time, it's a really easy cake. No difficult things here, no caramel making or butter cream churning.
My husband took a bite and declared it to be one of the best cakes I have ever made.
My stepchildren each ate a slice and like it, despite it having fruits on it (which is a big dessert no-no in this house).
I very much liked it, but I am glad about the changes I made.
Apple Torte.
(Can you tell that this whole taking pictures in the dark thing is getting better!?)

Apple Torte
Adapted from Dana Treat who adapted it from "The Greyston Bakery Cookbook"
Makes one 9" cake

I always worry about desserts being overly sweet and this certainly is on the quite sweet side which is probably why my stepchildren liked it.
I reduced the amount of sugar and maple syrup in the topping by half and omitted the apricot jam. The recipe has you spread half a cup on the crust before you add the filling.
The recipe below reflects my adaptions.

For the crust
1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar (67grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (MM: I don't recall adding any. I find the amount of vanilla extract used in most American recipes rather overpowering and when dealing with delicate flavors like maple syrup and apples I would rather have those shine. But I give the measurements anyway.)
1 cup (128grams) flour

For the filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100grams) sugar 
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/8 cup (25grams) sugar
1/8 cup (25grams) maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon grund cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered almonds (MM: I didn't measure these, I went by feeling.)

Prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and grease a 9" springform pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla if using. Use a fork or your fingers and work the flour into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press the mixture into the springform pan and 1"(2.5cm) up the sides. Pierce the bottom several times with a fork and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pastry is set and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Prepare the filling:
While the crust is baking, beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Spread the filling over the prepared cold crust.

Prepare the topping:
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, maple syrup and spices until the sugar is mostly resolved. Add the apple slices and carefully coat with the sugar mixture.
Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles over the filling.
Bake for 10minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F/175°C. Remove the tort from the oven, sprinkle with the almonds and bake for another 30 minutes until the apples are tender (MM: check the cake regularly. My cake took another 15 minutes longer until it turned from pale to slightly golden.)

Let cool on a wire rack before you remove the sides of the pan.

Storage: This cake keeps for about 3 days but needs refrigeration. After two days the apples start looking a little tired but still taste fine.

Dana recommended brushing the apples with some warmed apricot glaze to make them shine. And while I am sure it would look pretty, I simply dusted them with some powdered sugar.

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