14 August 2014

Nigella Lawson's Italian Apple Pie

We've unpacked my cookery books! Finally after months of having to cook from memory I'm able to try out the huge list of recipes I've flagged for testing. One of the books I was really looking forward to getting my hands one was Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration and so when I decided to have my family for a summer supper in the garden I cooked two recipes from it. The first was a pasta dish which was perfectly nice but needed some tweaking (in my opinion). The other recipe was this Italian Apple Pie which I did at the last minute realising I'd forgotten about pudding and I had some apples that needed using up.

I was really focussed on the pasta and indeed so focussed that I was happily gossiping outside not realising that the alarm was going off to let me know the pie was reading - meaning it had a few charred patches. A disaster I thought, bin it immediately. However, I was persuaded to serve it and I am so glad it was saved from the bin. It was incredibly delicious and unusual and actually very light for what is basically a cake (the sponge was so good I'm going to use this method for other cakes) and great with double cream (and strawberries on the side) for a pudding or indeed with a cup of coffee as elevenses, It is incredibly easy to make and Ned loved it so much that he learnt to say 'cake'!

Italian Apple Pie

Serves 8

100g soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder 
pinch of salt
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
zest 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
75ml full fat milk, at room temperature
3 pink lady apples, or any crisp eating apples (approx 500g in total)

You will need to grease a 22/23cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6/400F.

1. Into a food processor put the flower, baking powder and a pinch of salt, 100g soft butter, caster sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, and blitz until it forms a thick smooth batter. Then, with the motor still running, pour the milk gradually down the funnel to lighten the mixture.

2. To do this by hand, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs, followed by the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, and milk until you have a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

3. Halve 1 of the apples, the peel, core and chop one half into approximately 1cm cubes, add these to the batter and either pulse to mix, or beat in. Pour your batter into the springform tin.

4. Quarter and core the remaining apples (including the unused half apple), leaving the skin on, then finely slice them and arrange in concentric circles (or how you can) on top of the cake batter.

5. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle this over the apples, then bake for 40-45 minutes, by which time the cake should be risen and golden. Piece with a metal skewer, should have only a few crumbs sticking to it when removed.

6. Leave to cool for 1 hour, before springing it out of the tine to cut and serve warm, or leave to cool completely once out of the tin
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