Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Caramelized Apple Gingerbread

(photo taunton.com)
Almost nothing heralds Fall more than gingerbread and pumpkin cake, pie. Cool weather would help too, but alas, here in Southern California we're in the low 100's every day. But, back to Fall cooking here. Until I tried this cake, I thought a gingerbread is a gingerbread is a gingerbread. Sure, you could have a more dry one, maybe a moist one, one more highly spiced than another. But I doubt I would have thought a gingerbread could be something I'd really rave about.

Then Cherrie and I went to a cooking class at one of our favorite cooking school haunts, Our House South County, and Sarah made this fabulous cake. It just went right over the top for me. I've made it several times since. The apples make it different. I'd just never had apple gingerbread before. But then you add the "caramelized" part of it and it really did shoot through the moon. This cake isn't hard, although it does take a bit of extra time to cook the apples and make the caramel. What a terrific accompaniment to a tummy warming dinner tied to fall flavors. If you make this, I guarantee you, you'll have a hard time staying out of it.

Caramelized Apple Gingerbread
Recipe: Our House, South County
Servings: 10
6 whole apples -- baking type - Pippin or Granny Smith
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter -- softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup dark molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. POACHED APPLES: Peel, core and halve the apples, then place in a large stock-pot style pan large enough to hold all of them in one layer. Add sugar, vanilla and water to cover them. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer until apples are just beginning to soften, but barely still retain their shape, about 8-10 minutes. If using Granny Smith apples, it may take longer. With a slotted spoon, remove apples from poaching liquid and reserve.
3. CARAMEL SAUCE: Melt butter in a 9-inch nonstick round cake pan on a very low burner. Add the corn syrup and brown sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is completely melted, then remove from heat. Gently turn the apple halves flat side down on top of the caramel mixture.
4. GINGERBREAD: Cream butter and sugar with mixer. Add the egg and mix completely. Add molasses and mix in completely. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and ginger. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream alternately to the butter/sugar mixture until mixed in thoroughly. Pour this over the apples and level with a spatula. Place cake pan on the center rack in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to one hour. When a toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes.
5. Serving: Invert cake onto a serving platter and top each slice with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
NOTES : Ideally you should serve this cake when it's warm. If you want to make it earlier in the day, leave it in the cake pan once you take it from the oven. Once cool cover with foil, then when you're ready to serve it, gently reheat for about 10-15 minutes at 250°, then invert onto the serving platter as indicated. This cake is not as sweet as you might think. Be sure to cook the apples until they're almost falling apart because they do retain their shape in the cake pan and don't cook much more.
Per Serving: 499 Calories; 16g Fat (28.4% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 88g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 60mg Cholesterol; 256mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 3 Fat; 3 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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