Apple and Custard Cake
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Apple and Custard Cake, by Dori
This is a nice and simple recipe for making cake. You can also make slices from the same recipe by baking it in a smaller square tray. If you don't like apple you could use rhubarb or pears. In fact many other types of fruit would probably work as well.
The mid 1900s were a time of change. Many more sophisticated countries embraced the metric system (along with contraception and in the case of New Zealand, womens right to vote). For this reason all measurements in this recipe are in metric. Should you need to convert these to an inferior system please consult your local medicine man or alternatively a conversion table.
So here's what you'll need:
For the Base
- 200-250g Flour
- 80g Sugar
- 2 Egg Yolks (or 1 egg)
- 1 Pinch of Salt
- 125g Cold Butter
- 2 Tbsp White Wine
- 2 tsp Baking Powder (Check the description of your baking powder for this, you should use enough for 200-250g of flour)
For the Filling:
- 500ml Milk
- Custard Powder
- 3-4 Large Apples
For the Crumbs:
- 200g Flour
- 100g Sugar
- 125g Butter
Making the base: Start by getting a large bowl and mixing up all your dry ingredients in it. You want to have enough room to move the mixture around well later, so better to use a bowl that's too large than too small. Next stick in your egg, wine and butter. If you don't have white wine, water works too, but not as well. With the butter, make sure that it is very soft but cold. It is also helpful to mash it up into small pieces before adding it. Your bowl should now look like this:
Now you want to mix this well until you get quite a firm, slightly sticky dough. I prefer to start distributing all the wet ingredients using a large spoon (or electric mixer when I'm really lazy). However to get it smooth and well mixed, hands are the best utensil. Once you're done, the dough should be smooth and not break if you try to shape it, however it should also not stick to your hand if you pick it up. Shape it into a nice ball and leave it in a covered bowl while you prepare the rest.
Here's my wee ball:
Now onto the filling:
Make custard with 500ml of milk. I use packaged powder that you just mix in, but if you feel like making custard from scratch I won't try and stop you. It is probably best to just follow your packet's descriptions for this as they can be a bit variable. You might want to add more sugar than you usually would to the custard at this stage depending on the type of apples you're using (and whether you like really sweet cake or not). I usually add an extra 1/2-1 tablespoon.
While you're waiting for the milk to boil start peeling the apples. Don't cut the apples into bits, just leave them whole. I got most of my apples peeled by the time my custard was done, like so:
Finish peeling your apples and stir the custard occasionally so you don't get lumpy bits of skin. You now want to grate the apples. This is why it is useful to leave your apples whole as you can just grate around the core and have a nice stick of apple core left at the end. If you don't like grating by hand you can cut the core out of the apples and grate electrically. Also don't grate your apples too finely, since you do want solid bits in the filling. Grated apple looks like this:
Now you might want to a add a little bit of lemon juice to your apple to stop it from going brown really quickly, but I generally don't cause it will change colour once baked anyway. Finally sit your apple into your custard and mix well (the custard doesn't have to be cold before you do this).
At this stage you want to pick your favourite dish to bake in and grease it up nicely. I usually make this as slices in a smallish square tin. However our tin seems to have walked, so I had to choose between these
Thankfully any dish whatsoever will work.
Once you've lubed your dish, place your ball of base dough into it and shape it to the dish. You may want to add a little bit of extra flour to be able to shape the dough without it getting too sticky. Be sure to create a nice edge on the sides so you have a good container to put your filling into. I like my base to be around 5mm thick but thicker or thinner works, as long as you don't get any holes in the base. Here's my big (25cm diameter) dish with the base in it.
When making the edge keep in mind that higher is better then lower, you really don't want filling to spill over it cause it will be quite runny when it first comes out of the oven.
Now you need to make crumbs before you add the filling. For this, your butter also needs to be soft, but it can be warm or even molten (since there's no egg involved). You'll need to experiment a little with the butter/flour ratio to get the consistency right. You should be able to form firm balls in your hand that are easy to break up. However, if when you break up a lump it just falls into tiny tiny bits then your mixture is too dry. So you want to be able to make nice largish crumbs.
Mixture which is too dry looks sort of like this
Whereas with a tiny bit more butter added it becomes nice like this
Once you make nice crumbs pour your custard-apple mixture into the base and distribute it evenly so it's fairly flat. Then take a smallish handful of crumbs and start crumbling it onto the filling, continue until it is all covered. Once all is covered very gently press the crumbs into the custard so they aren't going to fall off when you're done.
Place this into a preheated oven (at around 200 degrees Celsius) and sit in the sun for 35-45 minutes while it does its thing. Your cake will be done once your crumbs start going nicely brown. Mine have gone a little too brown because the weather was nice, but here's the finished product
You can eat it warm, but you want to be careful because the filling will be pretty runny until the custard is cold. But I couldn't resist and had to take a chunk out, so here's what the inside of the cake looks like too