Recipe: Torta di mele (Apple cake)
What could be more traditional for Rosh Hashanah than apples? OK, maybe honey... but actually they go hand-in-hand. Since last year I proposed a recipe with honey - my traditional chicken breasts with pomegranate and honey - this year it is time for apples.
I like this cake as it is easy to make and moist. It is a traditional home-made cake with golden slices of apples on top and a full but simple taste. You can also top the cake with brown sugar to create a crustier top. I like to use apples such as Royal Gala or similar because they are sweet and juicy, but you are welcome to use any other kind you may prefer. The only apples I would not recommend for this dessert are, funnily enough, Bramley cooking apples, as I find them too floury and sour - plus they break during baking. But then I'm Italian and I didn't grow up eating them.
You can make a parev version of this cake using margarine instead of butter. In this way it will be suitable for your meat dinner at Rosh Hashanah and all year round. Enjoy it, happy baking and Chag sameach!
Silvia Nacamulli's website is www.cookingforthesoul.com.
Preparation time: one hour. Serves six to eight
2 free range eggs
220g white caster sugar
200g white fine flour
100g of butter or margarine
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
3-4 apples (such as royal gala or your favourite kind for baking)
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400° F/gas mark 6.
In a bowl, gently mix the eggs (whole) together with the sugar.
Melt the butter/margarine in a sauce pan or in the microwave, and pour it in the eggs and sugar mixture. Stir well. Now add the flour, the baking powder, the cinnamon, a pinch of salt and mix again gently.
Cut the apples into quarters, remove the inside with the seeds and cut it again into thin moon-shaped slices.
Take a 24 cm (9-10 in) round baking tin and cover it with greaseproof paper. Pour the mixture into it and place the apple slices on top so as to create 2 layers.
Once the first layer is laid, push the apple slices inside the cake mixture so that the apples are entirely covered. The second layer will be on the top, with the apples gently pushed into the mixture but still visible.
Tip: you can squeeze the apples close to each other as much as you like, and make sure to start from the very edge of the tin, so more apples will fit in and the cake will have a fuller taste and a more moist texture.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. The centre should be soft and the top golden.
Serve either warm or at room temperature, on its own or with a scoop of ice cream.