- Bake the gratin in a porcelain clay dish that has been rubbed with garlic.
- Cut the potatoes thinly and stay consistent with the size so it cooks evenly.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I was new to the seasonal flavors of Fall in America when I moved here. I found out that Americans like their cinnamon, pumpkin and cranberries, to name a few. And I just love it! Every year, I get so excited at the approach of October and November for that reason.
When our friend Steven said he was going to organize a birthday get together for his lovely girlfriend Lauren, I thought it was a great occasion to make my first Fall cake of the year.
One my favorite is apple spice cake, which is an incredibly moist dessert. You would expect a blend of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon to give it a robust flavor but the addition of the vanilla, the applesauce and - my personal touch - the rum and orange gives a wonderful balance of sweet and subtle warm bite. Almost as if you could imagine eating a sweet mulled wine cake - hmm, that actually doesn't sound too bad!
I made this cake for the first time last year at Thanksgiving and I copied it quickly into my notebook of "recipes that will become a tradition".
Last weekend, the cake - besides Lauren's great pumpkin pie - capped a copious BBQ meal at the Salt Lick, in Driftwood, TX. Platters of succulent ribs, brisket and sausages traveled back and forth on our large table, until the inevitable meat coma. Fortunately, everyone seemed to have kept some room for dessert.
Apple and Rum Spice Cake (inspired from Real Simple magazine)
1/2 cup golden raisins + 1 tbsp rum
1 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 2/3 cups jarred applesauce
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp rum
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp fresh orange juice
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups of flour, sifted
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Measure the rum for the raisins, place in a bowl and heat on high in the microwave for 10 seconds. Add the raisins and and let soak, covered. Melt the butter over medium heat, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add the sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, orange zest, orange juice and eggs. In the same saucepan in which you melted the butter, saute the apple until soft, for about 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda and the salt. Combine to the butter and spice mixture. Measure 1tsp of rum from the raisin bowl, add to the mix and discard the rest of the rum. Drain the raisins, and add to the mixture. Stir well. Pour in the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and allow to completely cool before serving.