130g unsalted butter – must be softened at room temperature
300g plain flour
170g castor sugar
70 mls thickened cream
2 tsp baking powder
2 egg yolks
1 Tbs fresh bread crumbs – optional
1 kg granny smith apples
juice of 1 lemon
icing sugar for dusting
Step 1: Apple cake filling
Use fresh granny smith apples! The fresher the better, it means when you cook them they won’t fall apart easily and will taste lovely. I peel them and slice them into medium slices.
Cut the apples into rough 2 cm pieces, you want them large enough that they retain their shape when you cook them down.
Transfer the cut apples into a sauce pan and add the juice of the lemon, plus 1/2 of the sugar. The apples need to cook down with the sugar and juice until the juice evaporates.
Tip: Mum’s recipe called for adding all the lemon juice from one lemon … but, unless I had a fairly large lemon, I found that at the end of the cooking process I had plenty of liquid left in the bottom of the saucepan and needed to strain it. The apples mixed with the sugar and juice gave off their own liquid, hence my suggestion is to start with 1/2 the lemon juice and add as you go whenever you see the apples drying out.
Maximum cooking time for the apples should be around 10 mins. Stir them occasionally, otherwise when you bake the cake in the oven the apples will go soggy and be too soft.
Once the apples cook down, take the saucepan off the heat and let them cool down completely.
Step 2: Pastry
Combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, butter and thickened cream in a large mixing bowl.
Now I need to be honest here…I have never made my own pastry before! So at this step I panicked. Mum instructions were … add pastry ingredients and mix by hand quickly until it all combines to form a soft dough.
With Mum’s instructions flying about in my head and camera in hand I began to mix the above ingredients together and for the first 5 minutes it seemed as if I was on a mission to nowhere! My mixture resembled more of a crumble than a soft dough…but I persevered … and within about 10 mins, to my surprise, I had this …
followed by this …
At this point I was jumping with joy! I had a perfect looking pastry type of a ball so the next step was to wrap it up in some cling film and pop it in the fridge for about 30 min.
After 30 min here is what I ended up with…
At this point you will need to cut the pastry in 1/2 and press it into a baking tray. I firstly rolled my pastry out flat, twice only, with the rolling pin.
Tip: Place the pastry on a sheet of baking paper so that it does not stick to your kitchen bench!
I then transferred the pastry into the baking tray and pressed it out to the edges with my fingers. The pastry will rise and needs to be about 0.5 cm in thickness.
Bake it in a 180 degree oven for 10 mins until it’s slightly golden brown. Sprinkle it with the bread crumbs, I think it helps stop the base getting soggy from the apples.
Step 3: Add apple mixture
Add the cooled apple mixture and cover it with the second layer of rolled out pastry.
Place the second half of the pastry onto a piece of baking paper and roll it out quite thin. It needs to be thinner than the bottom half otherwise you will have too much cake and not enough apples.
Bake in a 180 degree, (pre-heated) oven for about 40 min, until you see the top of the cake turn golden brown.
Let it cool down and cut into even pieces … and yes for presentation I do like my pieces even!
Step 4: Icing sugar
Once the cake has been cut … sprinkle generously with icing sugar and ENJOY!!!