I looked at this recipe because it was a simple apple cake that seems similar to a clafoutis which I made a bit of a meh attempt this summer with fresh peaches. Will have to figure out a better version the next time. But when you read the details of this recipe, it gets more interesting and more charming.
In regards to it being similar to a clafoutis, recipe wise in that I am correct. There isn’t much flour, but a good bit of butter, infused with vanilla bean and that, to me, is always a good idea. Some eggs and lots of my favorite apples, Granny Smith. They are always my go to apples. This is from northern Italy, near Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein and is delicate, but rich as well. It is a perfect delivery for apples – simple and wickedly good at the same time.
Bolzano Apple Cake
Scott Carsberg in the New York Times
4 oz (1 stick) butter
1 vanilla bean
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 lbs Granny Smith apples (4 medium-sized)
1/2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C whole milk at room temperature *
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9” x 2 1/2” round cake pan with butter and flour and line with parchment. Grease and flour the parchment, tapping the pan to remove any excess.
Melt the butter over low heat. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the butter. Add the vanilla pod and keep on low heat for a couple of minutes, swirling gently. (The idea is to infuse the butter with the vanilla, not to brown the butter.) Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Place the lemon juice and lemon zest into a bowl big enough to hold the apple slices. Peel, quarter and core apples. Slice thinly and add to the bowl, tossing gently with the lemon juice and zest as you go. Set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Whip the eggs and the sugar until the mixture is light in color, thickened, tripled in volume and forms a ribbon when drizzled from the beater. This takes about 5 minutes on a stand mixer on medium high speed.
Remove vanilla pod from the butter and gently fold the butter into sugar-egg mixture. Fold a third of the flour into the batter alternately with half of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the apples until every piece is coated with batter. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out the batter and apples evenly.
Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate the pan and raise the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for another 25 minutes until the cake is golden brown. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan, gently remove the parchment and invert onto a serving platter.
* totally forgot to do this.