Baked Apples

A true classic, this beautiful dessert is lovely topped with crème fraîche.

Ingredients:
4 apples
½ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup boiling water

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse and dry the apples. Using a sharp paring knife or apple corer, cut out the cores, leaving the bottom ½-inch of the apples intact. (If using a paring knife, first cut out the stem area and then use a small metal spoon to scoop out the seeds). Cut the holes so that they are an inch or so wide.

2. Place the apples in a baking dish and stuff each apple with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle each with cinnamon.

3. Pour the boiling water into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the apples are cooked through and tender, but not overcooked and mushy. When done, remove the apples from the oven and baste them with the juices from the pan. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.

Apple Bread Pudding

This delightful bread pudding is equally good at brunch as it is for dessert!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
6 cups ½-inch-cubed Challah bread (about half a 15-ounce loaf)
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
6 eggs
1½ cups cream
1½ cups milk
2 tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Toss the cubed bread and apples in a large bowl, and then arrange them evenly in the dish.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, milk, honey, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and apples. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

3. Put the baking dish in a larger metal roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes about 1 inch up the side of the baking dish. Bake until the pudding is firm and the top is golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Italian Buckwheat Cake

Known as schwarzplententorte in German or torta di granosaraceno in Italian, this wonderfully moist and dense cake is usually eaten for breakfast together with a big cup of coffee—or as a morning or afternoon snack.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
2¼ cups buckwheat flour
2¼ cups almonds, skins on if possible, pulverised into almond meal
1 apple, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
F&L crisp topping
F&L cherry-plum jam
Powdered sugar

Method:
1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat until pale and creamy. Add the buckwheat, almond meal, grated apple and vanilla extract until just combined.

2. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold in, bit by bit, into the batter until well combined and pour batter into a greased and lined round baking tin. Top with the F&L crisp topping

3. Bake at 350º for about 50 minutes or until the cake is deep golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, remove cake from tin and slice in half lengthways. Spread the bottom layer with the jam and replace the top layer. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

Challah Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Drizzled with a warm bourbon sauce, this dessert is oh-so-comforting!

Ingredients:
4 cups slightly stale Challah bread with crusts, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped


For bourbon sauce:
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
Pinch of salt

Method:
1. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Whisk the eggs, milk, whipping cream, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl. Place the bread chunks and pecans in the prepared dish. Pour the milk mixture over and let stand 5 minutes. Push down bread into custard. Refrigerate for 2 hours, pushing bread into custard occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 375°. Place the bread pudding in a large metal baking pan. Add enough water to baking pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the dish with bread pudding. Bake until pudding is puffed and golden brown on top, approximately 50 minutes.

3. While pudding is cooking, prepare the sauce: Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Simmer until thickened, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly.

4. Remove dish with bread pudding from water and cool slightly. Cut into squares. Serve bread pudding warm with sauce.

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