Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Pound Cake

This cake oozes fall. It's warm (if you can't wait for it to cool off before devouring like me, plus its better that way!) it's cinnamony and autumny! Not words but whatever. This cake rocks! Ok so this is how this thing evolved. I was pondering on what to bake, so I grabbed my big recipes binder (pointed to above). You know what I'm talking about, I know you have one. Everyone has one. It's a big chunky binder filled with neatly printed recipes (for the days you felt super organized) and stained ripped out scribbled on notebook paper recipes  (for the days you weren't!), magazine scraps, cut outs from the back of the cereal box and other varieties of instructions on how to work in the kitchen! Well I've got one, but I haven't gone through it in a while. One reason being I like to try new things, and once I make a recipe, I pretty much remember it by heart. But for inspiration I went back, and I found my pound cake recipe. The first thought that came to mind was, ugh, heavy, dry, not in the mood for that. But then a light bulb came on! I'll give it a makeover! I love makeovers! Makeovers are super fun. So I thought, I'm staying in this shabbos. It's cold outside, I just want to plunker down on the couch with a cup of coffee and a yummy fall spiced piece of cake. So I threw in some apples, cinnamon and nutmeg and voila! A moist, rich, aromatic cake with the slightest sweet crispy glaze on the outside, like a doughnut. It's heaven on a plate. The key to keeping the cake so moist is by pouring only half of the batter into the pan, and then you fill it with sliced apples engulfed in a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with dots of margarine (or butter if you are doing it milchig, which would be even more sinful). So that when its baking in the oven, everything melts and gets all bubbly and spreads to the rest of the cake and makes a satisfying surprise when cut into. Plus the batter itself has diced apples in them, so there is another source for moistness. It's amazing you have to try it!

Apple Cinnamon Pound Cake
3 sticks plus 2 tbsp. margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
5 gala apples, peeled. 3 diced small and 2 thinly sliced.
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup confectioners sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 3 sticks of butter and  the granulated sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well. Add flour and beat until fully combined and smooth. Add in the diced apples and mix for just a few seconds to incorporate. Spray a bundt pan with non stick cooking spray and then sprinkle well with flour until the pan is completely coated. Using a large serving spoon, scoop half the batter into the pan and smooth out evenly. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon and the nutmeg and mix well. Add the sliced apples and toss. Sprinkle this on top of the batter evenly. Cut 2 tablespoons of margarine into cubes and scatter over the brown sugar mixture. Pour the rest of the batter over this and smooth out. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until a skewer pierced in the center comes out clean. (The cake will look really wet because of all the moistness but trust the skewer) Let the cake cool for half an hour. Using a knife, loosen the sides of the pan by simply sliding the knife in between the cake and the pan all around. Carefully flip onto a serving platter. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the remaining tablespoon of cinnamon. SLOWLY add tiny amounts of water, to make a thick glaze. When the cake has completely cooled, pour the glaze over the cake so that it drips down the sides.

To make the garnish, use a melon baller to scoop out balls from whole peeled apples. Roll them in a mixture of equal amounts white sugar and brown sugar. Place on top of freshly glazed cake to stick.

Broccoli, Sun Dried Tomato & Date Phyllo Bites

Forgive me broccoli for I have betrayed you. I told you how much I love you and then I abandoned you for who knows how long. I miss you. Lets be friends. Yay!

So now that that's settled... these are scrumptious. Tiny bites of salty and sweet goodness. Store bought mini phyllo cups are filled with a caramelized saute of broccoli, red onion, sun dried tomatoes and dates. The dates lend a chewy and sweet addition that pair so fabulously with broccoli and tang of the sun dried tomatoes. This is a quick fix and ideal as a gourmet appetizer in a perfect single bite.

Broccoli, Sun Dried Tomato & Date Phyllo Bites

24 mini phyllo cups (2 boxes)
1 head of broccoli, stems removed and chopped into 1/2 inch florettes.
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, chopped
8 pitted dates, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until lightly golden. Add dates, sun dried tomatoes and broccoli. Add salt and pepper and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes stirring often. Add water and cover. Let cook until all the water is absorbed and the broccoli is half way cooked. Remove from the stove. Using a teaspoon, fill phyllo cups placed on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Make sure to fill each cup equally with all the ingredients. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cups are lightly golden and broccoli is now fully cooked.