Apple and olive oil cake

Apple olive oil cake I don’t know about you guys, but I really enjoy watching Australia’s Masterchef. I think George, Gary and Matt do an excellent job at hosting the show. The British, American and the Dutch Masterchef have got nothing on the Australian version of the show. In my opinion, the Aussie’s can’t be beaten. They’ve got it down! There are several reasons for this success, but three which stand out to me. 1. Every contestant is treated with respect. Nobody has to suffer verbal abuse (which is the case for the American Masterchef. But hey, Gordon Ramsay is the host. Need I say more?). 2. The contestants treat each other with respect and are supportive of each other. In the American Masterchef they are so competitive. They will almost kill each other to win the contest. 3. They often have famous (guest) chefs on the show. I must give the British version credit for having Michel Roux Jr though. But…I WANT MORE!

Usually the contestants have to make a recipe created by the guest chef. As is the case for this recipe. This apple olive oil cake is a recipe from Maggie Beer, who has been on the show a couple of times. She’s a lovely chef and very down to earth, what is what most people seem to love about her. Her recipes are, what I think, Australian country cooking. But with somewhat more delicate flavors than seen in some American country dishes. She’s very much into organic produce and even has her own line of products that come from her own farm.

This recipe is some work, but it is worth it. The olive oil cake is moist as can be has a slight tang to it from the apple poaching liquid. The rosemary is a nice addition, because it gives this cake an extra dimension. I would, however, use slightly less rosemary next time. If you can’t get verjuice, I would substitute for a non-acidic apple juice. I used a regular apple juice which was a bit overpowering, I thought. So use either a mild apple juice or the fresh (cloudy) apple juice for best results.

Apple olive oil cake and sabayon

Olive oil, apple and rosemary cake with sabayon
Poached apples
4 pink large lady apples, peeled, cut into 8ths and core removed
300ml verjuice
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil cake
3 eggs, separated
125 gr caster sugar
75 gr plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
60ml reserved apple poaching liquid


¼ cup caster sugar
Remaining reserved poaching liquid, (less 30ml for sabayon)

30ml apple poaching liquid
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 175⁰C (fan forced). Grease and baking paper line the base of a 20cm spring form cake tin.

For poached apples, place apples, verjuice and rosemary in a large, deep frying pan. Cover and bring to the boil over a high heat.
Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove apples from heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Return apples to frying pan and place over a high heat, add extra virgin olive oil and sautee until apples start to colour, remove from heat.
Arrange caramelised apple pieces in the base of prepared cake tin.

For olive oil cake, beat whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add half the sugar and beat until sugar has dissolved.

 In a separate bowl, beat yolks and remaining sugar until pale.

 Sift in flour and baking powder, pour in oil and 60ml reserved apple poaching liquid and mix to combine.
Gently fold in meringue, 1/3 at a time until combined. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until pudding springs back to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes. Remove the spring form tin collar and flip / invert pudding on to a wire cooling rack.

For glaze, pour caster sugar and remaining reserved poaching liquid (but put aside 30mls for the sabayon) into a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.

For sabayon, place all ingredients in a heat proof bowl and place over a shallow water bath. Whisk until pale, light and frothy. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.
Control applied heat by removing bowl from the heat occasionally to cool mixture and to avoid over cooking the yolks. Whisk mixture continuously and return to heat to continue cooking as required. To check consistency, mixture should hold a trail of the number eight.
 When sabayon is a constancy of your liking (don’t let it get too thick) remove from the heat and whisk until cool. Pour into a serving jug.

To serve, cut into thick wedges and brush with verjuice glaze.

Source: Maggie Beer

Chocolate Caramel Tart

Chocolate caramelIt’s been so cold here these past two weeks. The kind of weather which makes you want to stay inside and eat comfort food. Unless…you can go ice skating! This is THE activity when the canals freeze up. I had a bit of ice fever this past weekend as well and went ice skating with my dad. The signs at the canal said ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Enter at own risk’, because the ice wasn’t thick enough in some places. Still, that didn’t stop us and the other 100 people or so from having some fun on the ice. The Dutch are well-known for lots of things, obedience isn’t one of them. A few laps around the shoveled natural ice rink and, as if that wasn’t daring enough, my dad suggested we’d skate to the windmill and the ‘koek and zopie’ stand (literally a cookie and drink stand). With no clear path because of the snow, we skated to the koek and zopie stand for some hot chocolate. Could it be more Dutch? Having a hot chocolate on ice skates with a windmill in the background. I think not! But, it is pretty awesome when you think about it.

Chocolate sugar

Anything that’s hot or has chocolate (preferably both, like hot chocolate) is a winner with these kind of temperatures. Then again, chocolate in my book is always a winner. Not to speak of chocolate and caramel. Mars bars are the first thing that come to mind. Sometimes I really crave them. The silky milk chocolate and the soft caramel are just such a delight. The recipe posted today kind of reminded me of it. Although, it’s definitely more decadent. The ganache is made of dark chocolate which creates a fuller flavour and the chocolate crust gives this extra texture.

Chocolate caramel

I’ve been wanting to make this recipe from Saveur for ages, but recipes with caramel tend to scare me. Not just the failing part and ending up with something black and solid in the pan. It’s the actual pain I’ve had from caramel recipes gone totally wrong. I once tried spun caramel as part of a decoration on a dessert. Don’t ask me how, but I managed to get three fingers burnt on each hand. Very very painful. So, whenever I see a caramel recipe, my sore blistery fingers are the first thing I think of (kind of Pavlov right?). This weekend, I practiced my caramel making skills once again and it went quite well (Extinction! I should have thought of that sooner being a psychologist and all).

Chocolate caramel tart 

So many people have commented that their caramel burnt way before they hit 340 F. With an accurate sugar thermometer you should really get to 340 F without having problems. If you’re not sure about the accuracy of your thermometer, make sure to watch the colour of the boiling sugar mixture. It can be difficult to see the actual colour, because of all the bubbling going on. I took a teaspoon of the mixture every so often and dropped it into a glass of cold water. You really want dark golden in this recipe, not yellow. The mixture will smell just a tad bit burnt. After reading all the comments about the caramel leaking out of the tart at room temperature, I decided to try reheat the caramel back to 250 F after adding the cream and butter. Even though the taste was great, the caramel was just a bit too hard (some bits more like toffee). So my advice would be to follow the recipe as is and just keep it refrigerated. Next time I make this, I will make the crust just a bit thinner and make a little less ganache for the topping. This will make the caramel stand out more, like it deserves.

For the crust

  • 1 1⁄2 cups flour
  • 1⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, preferably at room temperature
  • 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the caramel

  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. crème fraîche

For the ganache

  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz (113 gr) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Gray sea salt for garnish

1.  Make the crust: Heat oven to 350˚F (177˚C). Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy; mix in yolks and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to a 9″ (23 cm) fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

2. Make the caramel: In a 1-qt. saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340°F (171 °C). Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and crème fraîche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4–5 hours.

3.  Make the ganache: Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4–5 hours. Sprinkle tart with sea salt, slice, and serve chilled.

Source: Saveur