Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bratapfelkuchen or how to expand your waistline really quicky!

It all started when my lovely friends gave me a couple of bags of beautiful Spartan apples freshly picked from the trees in their garden. I could have been really good, of course, and just worked my way through them over the next few weeks, but some were a bit bruised and slightly imperfect and wouldn't have kept long. Well, that was my excuse anyway!
Once I had the excuse I had to think of ways to use them and had a bright idea to find a recipe for Bratapfelkuchen or baked apple cake that I had eaten in Germany many times and loved.
I found several recipes but they all called for an ingredient that I was pretty sure I couldn't get hold of in the UK, something called 'vanilla pudding' which, I believe, resembles a firm custard. So, I decided to experiment. I'm happy to report that the experiment was very successful, so here is the recipe.


200g plain flour, sieved
1/2 tsp baking powder
75g caster sugar
1 pinch of salt
100g butter, softened


6 medium apples, peeled and cored
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbs of custard powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
100 g sugar
600ml single cream
200ml milk
50g flaked almonds

26cm springform tin


Mix up the pastry ingredients and knead it until smooth. Form into a ball, cover in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Line the base of the springform tin with baking paper. Roll out the pastry and lower it into the tin, lining the base and sides to at least a height of 2.5cm. The pastry may well fall apart (mine did!) but just press it into shape and it'll be fine! Prick the base with a fork. Cover the pastry with greaseproof or baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 10-15 minutes or until it's slightly golden around the edges. Set it aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the peeled and cored apples into a bowl of water with the juice of a lemon added to it. Whisk the custard powder, sugar and 200ml cream together until smooth. Add the vanilla essence. Put the rest of the cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take it off the heat and whisk the custard mix into the cream and milk. Return the pan to the heat and whisk continuously as the mixture comes to a boil. Cook until the custard thickens well. Dry the apples and arrange them on the pastry. Pour the custard over the apples and making sure you fill the holes where the cores were. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and return to the oven for at about another 15 minutes or so until the custard is set.

Allow to cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. Some recipes recommend that you leave the cake for 24 hours before eating, if you can keep your hands off it!

A common variation is to fill the apples with rum soaked raisins before pouring the custard over.

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