Today, I did a bit of harvesting, a few tomatoes and berries and these beauts.
They grow on the tree in the front yard. In years past, they’ve never turned this delicious red color and they’ve been really sour. No idea what kind they are, either. This year it looks like we got lucky. They are really tasty!
One of my favorite things about this time of year is the good stuff to make and eat (this week’s wacky warm weather notwithstanding). So I got out Baking – From my Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, to see what I could do with these guys. I am a sucker for anything involving apples, since it usually also involves ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. There was quite a few options but this one had me at “shortbread”. The recipe as written uses a cramberry jam filling, but in the notes she suggests apples as an alternative. I made a a few other tweaks as noted below and this is what came out.
It did not suck. Happy fall baking!
Fall Shortbread Cake
Adapted from Baking – From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons room temp butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla (*I was out, so I used an *ahem* liberal splash of amaretto. Feel free to try some for quality control first.)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until soft and smooth. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Reduce mixer to low and add egg and yolk, mix until absorbed. Beat in vanilla or whatever you are using. Add the flour and mix only until incorporated; you may wish to finish by hand to avoid overmixing. It will be more like a soft cookie dough than a cake batter. Divide into two disks and wrap in plastic; refrigerate 15-30 minutes (or overnight but let sit out about 30 minutes before using).
Apple filling (as I made it)
2 apples, peeled and sliced
3 T butter
About 1/2 cup brown sugar, less if your apples are sweet – mine were on the tart side
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 grated nutmeg
Melt the butter til foamy and add the apples, let them soften for a few minutes. Add the brown sugar and let it thicken a bit. Add the spices and cook a bit longer, but you don’t want applesauce. I happened to have some dried cranberries on hand so I threw a handful of that in too. Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out one half dough and lay on bottom of springform pan. I gilded the lily a little here and spread some of last year’s apple butter on the bottom before I spread the cooked apple filling on top, your choice here. Roll out the second disk of dough big enough to fit the top of the cake and set it on top – mine was slightly too big so I just rolled the edges and smooshed things together a bit to seal it. Sprinkle with some sanding or raw sugar if you like. Bake about 30-35 minutes. Cool. (Or not, if you are impatient like me. A little ice cream would not go amiss.)