APPLE-STRAWBERRY PIE CAKE WITH DRIED FRUITS; What’s Love Got to Do With It? … and a Hand For Haiti

“And there never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.”
Neil Gaiman
What’s l♥v got to do with this cake? Everything!! Loves got everything to do with this if you love fruity goodness. This is a light fruity cake, great for a snack, elegant for evening tea, different in so many ways. The bottom layer is basically the fresh fruit which gets cooked in a cakey batter, and the topping is a nice burst of dried fruit. Feel free to use  what suits you, what you love!!
The blogiverse is exciting and BIG! It’s fun to find new blogs, some exciting and full of content you are absolutely SO MAKING as soon as possible. One lucky find the other day was off TasteSpotting. I saw this gorgeous picture, and followed it in trance to a beautiful blog called ‘The Mansurovs‘. Gosh, it neatly sliced a couple of hours off my day. Stunning photography, brilliant step-by-step pictures, wonderful recipes!!
The Apple Pie with Dried Fruit is a recipe that will call your name, if, like me, you love fruit in bakes. I made a few minor changes, and am sure the cake will offer added luxury if you stick to ‘all purpose flour and all butter’. I made a few teeny healthy changes in line with my Ten in 10 resolutions, but the cake was still fab. Lola‘s cake looks firmer, and I think that her apples were of a crisper texture. I basically used apples that the vendor had, (read ‘not much choice’), and even though I wasn’t a 100% happy with their ‘crunch’ factor, I went ahead … the result was still delicious!!
I went back to The Mansurovs beautiful blog to pick up the link to the post, and found a new post  out already calling my name. Blogaddicted… yes.. I am!! Need I add …  I’m l♥ving it??

APPLE-STRAWBERRY PIE CAKE WITH DRIED FRUITS
adapted from The Mansurovs recipe here
4 oz of dried fruit of your choice. (I used raisins, dried apricots, crystallised ginger and dried cranberries)

1 cup of apple juice (as suggested by Lola)
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 medium apples
8 strawberries (optional)
3 eggs
pinch of salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
2 Tbsp oil
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts divided in half
Cooking spray or little butter to grease the spring form pan

Method

Pre-heat oven at 170 C.
In a small bowl mix the dried fruit with apple juice and half a vanilla bean, seeds scraped and added. Close the lid of the bowl (or simply cover it with microwave safe plate) and microwave it for 2 minutes. Once ready, set aside until further use.
Sift the flour together with the baking powder and set aside until needed.
Whisk together eggs, pinch of salt and light brown sugar, until the mixture is lighter.
Add the melted butter, cinnamon and whisk until everything is mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. With a spatula gently stir everything together, just until incorporated.
Once well-incorporated, mix in half of the chopped walnuts along with the cut fruits. Grease the sides and the bottom of the 9″ spring roll pan using baking spray or butter.(I lined the tin)
Place the ready mixture in the pan. Drain the juice, if any, from under the dried fruit and place them randomly on top of the pie. I addede som e chopped strawberries too. Sprinkle remaining walnuts on top of the pie and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the readiness of the pie. Once time is up, take the spring pan out of the oven, let it cool for 10-15 minutes before un-molding the pie. Cool it further on the wire rack.
 You can serve it warm or cold. Voila!
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
I’d like to make a mention here of some super work an amazing 16 year old blogger, Lauren @ Celiac Teen, has singlehandedly done for Haiti. She took it upon herself to make a difference and came up with an idea for a Haiti e-book to raise  money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.
All proceeds will do to the Canadian Red Cross. And here’s the really important part: the Canadian Government will match all donations received by February 12th, that are marked for Haiti Relief.

I’ve got a recipe in there too, my small contribution…. Orange Patisserie Tartlets with Candied Tangerines
Add to Cart 

Enjoy this book. It has been an absolute labour of love. Best of all, it is for a good cause.
Notes:  Being an ebook, you purchase the PDF file, then can print off as many copies as you wish!
To quote Lauren‘There are 87 recipes contributed by 71 fantastic people.  They are a collection of home recipes.  People from all over the world have provided recipes that bring them comfort.  I have loved looking through them, and can’t wait to cook them!  I hope you do too.
In terms of price, the ebook will cost as much as you want it to cost, with a bare minimum of $10.  It is a donation, so that price is adjustable and you can donate as much as you wish!  Whether you purchase it for $10 or $510, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  All together, we can make a difference.  We can pool our donations and extend a hand to Haiti’

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Apple, Cranberry & Praline Cake… and Ten in 10!!

“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”
Thomas Fuller

Here’s a fruity filled beginning to 2010, a year that’s already beginning to look good. The year that we just wrapped up was filled with goodness too, ever so satisfying. The high points being blogging with friends, Food Blogger Connect, Twitter and macarons! Who would have dreamt that life would change monumentally with a microapplication called Twitter?? I’ve made breakfast club pals, macaron pals, laundry club pals, dragon pals and even snail pals!

Food blogging led to fabulous new friends, and some I was actually able to meet at the Food Blogger Connect! We exchanged gifts there, BIG TIME, and so came the idea of this absolutely delicious dessert! This is one from the heart, and is thus sweeter. It tasted so good!!

I used the praline from Pamela and cranberries from Jamie, both fine foodies and fab friends from France. As a matter of coincidence, I had apples on hand and was browsing one of my favourite French food blogs, Bea‘s La Tartine Gourmand. I just had to make this comforting cake. Bea’s blog is heart warming, just like I love it … full of connections, memories, family, food and gorgeous pictures. If you need a dose of inspiration, do head straight here! Vive la France!!

Twittering with food bloggers offered things to make life even better this year. I am delighted to have joined up for a wonderful challenge Ten in 10: ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010, the brainchild of a wonderful blogger Lori @ Recipe Girl. What is this all about?

It’s about wanting to feel healthy. Everyone has a different vision of what being healthy means. Some want to lose weight, some feel that they’re already at a comfortable weight but they would like to make a commitment to exercise, some would like to eat healthier, etc. Everyone will have their own individual goals for this healthy challenge.
Read about it here, and you can join in too.

I have penned down a few goals that I hope to work towards…(easier than putting down New Year resolutions LOL!)

  • Eat healthy
  • Increase vegetables in meals
  • Decrease non-vegetarian options on the table to 2 days a week
  • Make more stuff at home vs store bought to decrease preservatives, & my carbon footprint
  • Stick to local & seasonal food
  • Use more fruit in the daily diet especially for the kids
  • Focus on fruit and natural sugars in dessert

I have learnt to look at food in new ways. Fruit have become a HUGE part of my baking life, and I aim to include vegetable in the roll call too. I am waiting for a recipe of brownies with sweet potato that my sister has promised to mail me. Broccoli has been won, and I have my sights set on cauliflower. I can say from recent experience, persistence pays with kids; I can see them battling their veggies less now!

I will attempt to explore and achieve my healthy goals over the next 10 weeks, and will hopefully carry them through the rest of the year too.

Apple,Cranberry and Praline Cake
Adapted minimally from this recipe from La Tartine Gourmand

Ingredients:
3 large apples
2 oz dried cranberries (soaked in hot water for 20 min)
3 eggs
7 Tbsp butter, melted (1/2 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (or 1/2 tsp fleur de sel)
75gm plain flour
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar (or light brown sugar)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup nut praline (optional)

Method:
Sift the flours with the baking powder and keep on the side.
Soak the cranberries in hot water for 20 min, then drain.
In the meantime, peel your apples, remove the core and slice them thinly.
Preheat your oven at 180C.
Break the eggs in a large bowl and beat them with the sugar and salt, until light.
Add the melted butter and the rest of dry ingredients. Mix well but not for too long, until everything is incorporated.
Add the apple slices and half the nut praline.
Butter a round 9.5″ mold and pour in the apple batter.
Top evenly with the cranberries and nut praline.
Cook in the oven for 30 to 35 min. Remove and let cool for a few min before unmolding on a large plate. Eat it lukewarm, it is even better.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
A little news that I just got that I am excited to share. I am one of the 50 bloggers & chefs whose recipes have been included in the free STRAWBERRY mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch.

FREE IPHONE STRAWBERRY RECIPE APP LAUNCHES
“STRAWBERRIES” iPhone App to View and Share 50 Strawberry Recipes
from Top Food Bloggers and Chefs
Watsonville, CA (January 13, 2009) – The California Strawberry Commission today announced the availability of the free “STRAWBERRIES” mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch users featuring more than 50 mouth-watering strawberry recipes from some of the most popular food bloggers and chefs from around the web. Individually selected for that “wow” factor, these recipes will inspire families, foodies, cooks, the health conscious and strawberry lovers everywhere to get even more creative with strawberries.
iPhone and iPod touch users can now access different strawberry recipes complete with vivid food photography and step-by-step directions to create that special dish for those around you. The free app neatly categorizes recipes under Snacks & Appetizers, Breakfast, Cocktails, Main Courses, Salads and Sweets. Recipes range from traditional favorites, such as shortcakes and pies to more exotic dishes like strawberry dumplings, salsa and ceviche.
Individual recipes can be shared with friends, family and online networks by simply posting the recipe to Facebook or Twitter with the click of a button. Recipes can also be emailed to anyone for viewing or printing.
Availability
The Strawberries app for the iPhone and iPod touch is available immediately as a free download at the Apple iTunes Store. Click here to download: http://bit.ly/8LANJo

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APPLE CRISP … still nostalgic about London & FBC!

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”
Henry David Thoreau

This is a beautiful season. … festive warmth, mulled spices, apples, nuts, dried fruit…add to it memories of a great trip to London, and it’s all magic. I fell in love with Autumn when it arrived, and thought that was my most favourite season. Now that December is happily upon us, I think I love it even more than Autumn. It’s the season to be jolly!

This is a short crisp post about the apple crisp I made on my return from the UK last week. I am busy these days. Food, fun, festivities … and family! Apologies for the lack of posts but have been a little caught up ever since I got back from the Food Blogger Connect in London. The daughter appearing for her final examinations doesn’t seem to make things easier of course.


I got back to baking pretty soon when I returned. I came back and the son fell to my feet begging me for dessert! ‘We haven’t had ‘dessert’ for four days, Mama’, he hollered. Chocolate in bars obviously doesn’t qualify for dessert any more, so I set to make the easiest thing I could in limited time. It had to be a fruit based dessert, and the only fruit at home were apples…

… so I zeroed in on a crisp! Just had to add some ‘London nostalgia’ to my dessert. What I decided to use was the LinswoodMilled nut flour‘ from the enviable goodie bag that we got at the FBC ’09.


The bags were organised by no other than fabulous Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets, and would have left you drooling! The Linswood site is worth a stop over because it’s brimming with a wonderful array of super foods as well as recipe ideas! Thank you Beth … I do love my goodie bag to bits!! That’s what inspired my CRISP!!


What’s the difference between grunts, slumps, buckles, cobblers, crisps, crunches, pandowdies, and brown betties?
All of these quick and simple desserts are made of fruit topped with a biscuit dough or a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, and sugar.
If biscuit dough is dropped by the spoonful on top of the fruit, it makes a lumpy, “cobbled” surface–like a street paved with round stones–and so the dish is a COBBLER.
Traditionally, if the biscuit is stirred into the fruit during cooking, it’s a PANDOWDY.
To be a CRISP, a CRUMBLE, or a CRUNCH, the fruit must be topped with some variation of a butter, sugar, and flour topping.
Typically, a CRUMBLE has flour, sugar, butter, and oatmeal; a CRISP has flour, sugar, butter and nuts; and a CRUNCH has sugar, butter, and breadcrumbs. There are also cake-like (instead of biscuit-like) variations, which include BROWN BETTIES and BUCKLES.
Some of the funny names, which date back to early American cooking, have a British influence (you know, the people who created BUBBLE and SQUEAK). SLUMPS and GRUNTS, for example, both have a large biscuit over the fruit. But a SLUMP is cooked uncovered, so it slumps on the serving plate, and a GRUNT is covered, which steams the biscuit topping and lets the fruit gurgle–or grunt–while cooking.


APPLE CRISP

Serves 8
Ingredients:
6-8 firm apples; (crisp ones, a bit tart are fine)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsps vanilla sugar or regular
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup black dried grapes or raisins
Topping
2 heaped tbsps plain flour
2 tbsps brown sugar

2 heaped tbsps milled organic seeds
1/4 cup butter; chilled
1/2 cup rolled oats

Method:
Core,peel and dice apples. Toss them with lemon juice immediately after all have been chopped or they turn brown.
Mix in the dried black grapes, walnuts, cinnamon & sugar.
Put into 8 individual ramekins or a shallow pie dish (9” or 23cm or 1L), and press lightly into place.

To prepare crumble:
Mix milled flour, plain flour and sugar with a spoon in a dry bowl.
Put in cold butter cut into pieces and work with finger tips to make a breadcrumbs like texture.
Now toss in the oats lightly with a spoon.
Assemble:
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put this crumble over the apple mixture, pressing down gently to cover the top & seal the fruit in.
Bake till top light brown and stewed apple juice begins to appear on edges/about 30minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil until done.

Serve with either a dollop of whipped cream, or vanilla ice-cream.
Note:
Warm in microwave if need be before serving.
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Thank you for stopping by!
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