Friday, June 24, 2011

Apricot Crumble Cake

My father-in-law has a farm about an hour north of Amman. Now, before you get carried away, it's a plot of land with mostly olive trees and a small house that resembles more a hut than a structure you want to spend your weekends in. You might be envious, because besides the olive trees which provide us for the better part of a year with olive oil, he also has a couple of stone fruit trees like peaches, italian plums, yellow plums and apricots (and a fig tree and several concord grapevines).

This past week he came back with crates overflowing with apricots. I have anticipated this time since arriving in Jordan. I had plans for jams and chutney, crumbles and, of course, cake.
Before I left for Jordan I made a rhubarb cake for a potluck which came from Nicky at deliciousdays. It was one of those easy to make but utterly delicious coffee cakes with crumbles, a custard like filling and full of sweet pockets of rhubarb. In the description of said cake, Nicky mentioned this recipe could be adapted to other fruits like cherries and apricots. So today I took my chances, wandered downstairs to the kitchen of my mother in law and filled a bowl with sweet, sun kissed apricots.

a bowl full.

For me, the city child, this close relationship between farm to table is still fascinating. Just a couple of hours ago, these apricots were on trees weighed down heavy and now they are in my kitchen.

I adapted the recipe to my own liking using, first of all, apricots instead of rhubarb and secondly decreasing the sugar in the crust. With most of the cakes I bake, I have issues with the amount of sugar. There hasn't been a single frosting recipe, for example, in which I didn't reduce the sugar. I like my sweets on the grown up side of things. This cake - especially because of the tart apricots - is on the barely sweet side. Below is the recipe with my adaptions and conversions into cups.

Apricot Crumble Cake
adapted from delicious:days

200 grams (7oz.) soft butter
160 grams (3/4 cup) white sugar
pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 large egg, at room temperature
400 grams (3 cups plus 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

600 grams apricots, stones removed and quartered

For the filling:
2 large eggs
75 grams (1/3 cup) white sugar
100ml (3.5oz.) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

washed apricots

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and butter a 26cm springform pan or line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer with paddle attachment) beat the butter, egg, sugar and salt together until well combined and fluffy. Mix the flour and baking powder together, add it to the butter and rub the mixture together until smaller and bigger crumbs develop.

3. Put half and up to two thirds of the crumb mixture into the prepared baking pan, gently pressing it down. Make sure to also form a rim. Depending on the fruits used, Nicky advises to cover the bottom with a thin layer of breadcrumbs to avoid the fruits from completely soaking the bottom. Evenly spread the prepared fruits on the cake bottom and sprinkle with the remaining crumbs. Eat the rest of the dough once you are happy with the amount of crumbs on the fruits - if you aren't afraid of eating raw eggs.

4. Bake the cake for 25 minutes at medium level, rotating halfway through to make sure your cake bakes evenly.

5. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cream, eggs and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl. Beat well to ensure the sugar dissolves. When the 25minutes are up, remove the cake from the oven and spread the filling over the cake, making sure to distribute the filling evenly but try to avoid letting the liquid go beyond the rim. Otherwise it may leave dark or burnt spots which will not influence the later taste.
Bake for another 25minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling has set (this second part took me 45minutes, so make sure to check on the cake regularly). Let the cake rest for 10minutes before removing the baking form.

Apricot crumble cake

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