03 March, 2013

Irish Apple Cake | Irish Traditional Cooking

Apple cakes like this one are the traditional sweet in Ireland. The recipe varies from house to house, and the individual technique has been passed from mother to daughter for generations. It would originally have been baked in a bastible or pot beside an open fire and later in the oven or stove on tin or enamel plates – much better than ovenproof glass because the heat travels through and cooks the pastry base more readily. ~Darina Allen



Irish Apple Cake
Darina Allen
Makes about 6 servings
Cake
(8-oz / 225g) plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
(4-oz / 110g) butter
(4.5-oz / 125g) caster sugar
2 eggs, free-range if possible, beaten (divided use)
About (2- to 4-oz / 50 to 120ml) milk
1 or 2 cooking apples (Bramley's Seedling or Grenadier preferred)
2 or 3 cloves (optional)

For serving
Barbados (muscovado) sugar
Softly whipped cream



Directions
Advance preparation
Grease (9-inch / 24cm) ovenproof pie plate and set aside.


Prepare dough
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles the texture of breadcrumbs. Add (3-oz / 85g) caster sugar; then make a well in the center and mix together with one beaten egg and enough milk to form a soft dough.

Divide in two. Place half of the dough onto prepared pie plate; then, pat it out to cover. 


Prepare apples and top pastry
Peel, core and chop up the apples. Place them on the dough with the cloves, if using; then, sprinkle over the remaining sugar. The amount of sugar needed depends upon the sweetness of the apples.

Roll out the remaining pastry and fit it on top. (This is easier said than done as this "pastry" is very soft like scone dough. You may need to do a bit of patchwork if it breaks.)

Press the sides together and cut a slit through the lid. 


Bake and serve warm
Brush with beaten egg and bake in a moderate oven (350F  / 180C / gas mark 4) until cooked through and nicely browned, about forty (40) minutes.

Dredge with caster sugar and serve warm with Barbados sugar and softly whipped cream.





Slightly adapts Darina Allen, Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage (London: Kyle Books, 2012) 215. 

Perers, Kristin and Kyle Cathie.  "St Patricks day recipe: Irish apple cake." Photograph. The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 14 March 2012. Web. 1 March 2013.


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