In the depths of cold and windy autumn, when rain is beating against the windows, there’s nothing more comforting than a slice of still warm apple cake. Every bite you take will evoke feelings of love and comfort. This classic Polish recipe has got just the right amount of sweetness to let the tartness of the apples come through. The “crust” is like a cross between a shortbread cookie and pie crust. The dough is made with sour cream and a little sugar, rolled indulgently thick, and layered with a cinnamon studded apple center.
- 5 medium cooking apples (about 500g grated apples) like Braeburn, Granny Smith or Gala
- 300g spelt flour, sifted
- 180g unsalted chilled butter
- 1 tbs sour cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 100g white or brown sugar
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Combine the flour, 50g of sugar, and salt. Add cubed butter, egg yolks and sour cream. Use a pastry cutter or a knife to cut in the butter until small, pea-sized pieces if mixing by hand. Bring all the ingredients together with your hands and roll it into a ball. Try to do it as quickly as possible, without overdoing the dough. Divide the dough into two pieces, roughly 2/3 and 1/3 of the dough and wrap them in cling film. Place the smaller one in the freezer and the bigger one in the fridge for ideally an hour. Meanwhile, peel, core and grate your apples. Place them in a large pan, add the remaining 50g of sugar, cinnamon and a splash of water if necessary and sauté for a couple of minutes until the apples soften and become fragrant.
Take the bigger piece of the dough from the fridge and with the palm of your hand, push it about 1/3 up the sides of the baking tray until the whole base is covered. I used a 20cm (8”) square cake tin. Prick the dough with a fork and bake in the oven for about 15 mins until it is golden and lightly springy to the touch.
Spread the apples over the crust (if the filling seems too watery, get rid of the excess water) and using the side with larger holes, grate the remaining dough over the apple filling. Put it back in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. Serve dusted with powdered sugar… either warm or chilled.