Monday, 31 October 2016

Pear & Apple Torte with Ginger & Cranberries

So what is this anyway? I just can't decide. Is it a cake? Is it a pie? I'd say it's an F1 hybrid between a cake and a pie, but then what? Please let me know which "parent" you think it looks most like! Or if you have an actual other word to describe this thing that would be great too.

Experimental cooking is such fun. The cleaning up afterwards, not so much. I thought this would go into a spring-form pan, picked one that was too large, and then transferred everything to a second, smaller (also greased and lined) spring-form pan, at which point I decided that a spring-form pan was really not the way to go (too much filling) and transferred everything to a large pie-plate, which finally did the trick. Score one for the "pie" side of the ledger. On the other hand, when it was done I lifted it out to my cake plate and cut it there.

The dough starts off like a standard pastry dough (pie!), but instead of being held together by water, it's held together by egg, and also raised with baking powder. That makes it rich, airy, crumbly - score one for the "cake" side of the ledger. There's a definite filling - pie! - but in a fairly thin layer - cake! I just don't know! Whatever it is, it's really nice. No argument about that. Just like pie cake it would have been good with some whipped cream.

8 servings
2 hours - 1 hour prep time; not including time to cool

Make the Dough:
2 cups soft unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Measure the flour and mix in the salt, baking powder, and sugar. Put it in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter, as for making pastry - it should be in small bits, the size of a pea or smaller. I find it best to rub in any large lumps with my fingers once most of the butter is the right size with just a few stubborn lumps remaining.

Break in the eggs, beat them slightly with the vanilla extract, then mix them into the flour with a fork. It should come together to form a dryish dough. My "large" eggs were on the small side, so I had to add a couple of teaspoons of cold water before I could get a dough to form; if you have to do that it's okay but keep in mind this should be a quite stiff and pastry-like dough. If you can get rid of any patches of dry, whitish flour it is probably then moist enough to form a dough.

Cut the dough in half, and pat or roll the dough out to an 8" circle. I used the centre of my 8" spring-form pan traced onto parchment paper, and used the paper instead of buttering the pie-plate. It worked very well.

Make the Filling & Finish the Thing:
2 tablespoons finely minced preserved ginger
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon anise seeds, ground
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon tapioca OR arrowroot starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced (2 medium) pears
1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced (2 medium) apples

Mince the preserved ginger and chop the cranberries; put them in a mixing bowl. Grind the anise seeds and add all the spices, the tapioca or arrowroot, and the sugar to the bowl. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears and apples. Toss them in the above mixture until it is evenly distributed amongst them. Pile the seasoned fruit in the middle of the rolled out pastry base, leaving a neat 1/2" of clear clean dough around the edge. Roll out the remaining dough to an 8" circle, on another piece of parchment paper I'm afraid, then place it evenly over the topping and peel off the parchment. Pinch it down to seal it to the edges of the bottom pastry. Press down gently to distribute the fruit filling as evenly as possible under the top layer of pastry. It should be flat to just slightly domed. Cut slits in the pastry to allow the steam to escape.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown and firm. Cool to room temperature and serve, possibly with whipped cream.

Last year at this time I made Chai Cider Tea.


Megan said...

It seems similar to Krummeltorte (German apple crumb cake). Except that you've rolled out the top instead of crumbling it, and you've used 2 eggs instead of 1. I like using the crumb topping since it's less work. But either way, it's fantastic.

Ferdzy said...

Ah! So a krum-less Krummeltorte! Could be. I used the base from the Thuringer Mohnkuchen I made a while back, so it makes sense that there are other German things made with similar pastry. In other words, I'm re-inventing the wheel here. Well, as long as it is round and it rolls I guess there's nothing wrong with that.

I was actually much inspired by an apple pie recipe I saw in The Scots Magazine, but didn't make any notes about other than thinking it had a rather generous, cake-like pastry, and then I remembered the Mohnkuchen and went from there.