October is here and to me that means apples and pumpkins and lots of leaves to rake! I’ve already filled my freezer with tons of applesauce and my fridge is filled with grape, plum and raspberry jams. I still have to make the last of my oregano and basil into pesto and then I might be ready for the chill of winter. But I’m skipping ahead, aren’t I?
Fall is one of my favorite times of year. It allows me to transition not only physically, but mentally, from a time of relative relaxation (think deck sitting in summer) to an urgent, more demanding season. I only have to look at the squirrels to know what they are thinking about. The glory of fall, I believe, is that it allows us to appreciate what is behind us and lets us have some time to get ready for all we still have yet to do.
Enter the apple. Whole Foods want us to think apples. After a bumper crop of apples, and crab apples, it has been hard to get them out of my mind. We’ve had to rake them from our front yard to keep our yard from smelling like a still. This however brings every squirrel and rabbit in the neighborhood, right to our front door. I’m not sure if they get dizzy from eating these apples, but I can tell you that they leave way to many for me to pick up. I finally had to tell Manservant to stop sorting the good apples from the bad, because the freezer was full!
But back to Whole Foods. Yesterday on a rainy, cold, gray day, I ventured out and filled my senses in their produce department. Apples of various varieties from Ela Family Farms, a local grower that produces Jonathans, Galas and Honeycrisps, quickly caught my eye. Other apples of many varieties were also available and all looked so resplendent in shades of green and red, and even yellow. My guess is that each state in the country has their own regional varieties and it would be fun to hear what you can find that I can’t. Besides all the fresh apples, Whole Foods has a wide array of apple recipes and apple products including their apple pies, caramel apples, apple soap, maple, apple and bacon pizza (YUM!), apple soup and others too numerous to mention!
The timing of this all coincided with my receiving the latest Food and Wine issue that features a sharlotka on the last page of the magazine. I had never made one before and loved the idea that a cake could have no butter. Who would have thought? Now the picture I took looks nothing like the one in the magazine, but I’ll wager it tastes better!
I chose to substitute in brown sugar because, not only do I love the taste, I also love its caramelly qualities. Caramelly is a word, right? If not, it should be!
After tasting a bite, Manservant said that it tastes like a professional made it. Well, I’ve spent over thirty some years in the kitchen cooking and baking and cleaning, so I feel that qualifies me as a professional. I have no clue what he meant by this! This cake does have a meringue like top with a crisp bite to it, so maybe that’s what made him think this. It is filled with lightly sweetened, tender apples, that contain a hint of cinnamon. You will think fall when you make this. You will smell fall when you bake this. You will taste fall when you eat this. Enjoy!
Whole Foods is giving away 1 $25 gift card to help fill your basket. This is a sponsored post by Whole Foods but all opinions expressed are mine, baby. All mine. This giveaway is easy to enter as long as you live in the US. Giveaway closes on October 31st, 2014. Subscribe if you don’t want to miss the announcement of the winner or tune in on November 3rd to see if you won! The winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator! So now, to enter: (dahdah, dah, dah, de DAH!) Enter once by leaving me a comment and telling me what your favorite apple or apple recipe is. Enter twice by subscribing to This is How I Cook. Enter again by following me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
Apple, Brown Sugar Sharlotka (adapted from Food and Wine)
Time to Make: 30 minutes
Time to Bake: 60 minutes
Makes: 1 6″ cake to serve 6 people who are watching their diet!
4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced (I used a mandoline, but you can slice them thin)
1 1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c plus 1 T flour
1/4 t cinnamon
A few shavings of nutmeg
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 t almond or vanilla extract
Butter for greasing pan
Powdered Sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom and sides of a 6″ springform pan with butter.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and 1 T of sugar and let stand for about 15 minutes.
Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl.
In an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the extract, and the remaining sugar at medium high speed, for about 8-10 minutes, until thick and pale yellow, when the beaters are raised.This should form a thick ribbon falling from the beaters. Gently fold in the dry ingredients.
Spread the apples in the prepared springform pan and pour batter over evenly. Let stand for five minutes to allow the batter to sink in a bit.
Bake for about an hour, until it is golden and crisp on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove sides and transfer to a platter. Dust with sugar. Serve and feel like a professional!