Friday, April 26, 2019

Fresh Teacake and Book(s)--Mom's Day May 12

By Cal Orey
Ever hear of Feng Shui in the kitchen? It’s the placement of objects that goes way back centuries, thanks to Chinese art. Arranging nature’s foods in wooden bowls, like round apples, may bring you good health, good fortune, peace and harmony.
Before I left on a spring vacation to Canada last month, I put the cabin in order. After all, it was bad timing: Mercury was in retrograde—not the best time to pack your bags and travel.

Translation: The adventure flopped. But once back home on the South Shore, things turned right side up again. 
I give credit to the nine green apples placed by me in a bowl sitting on the dining room table. Read: Thanks to poetic justice, I get to do a redo adventure! So, this springtime apple teacake is inspired by the Eastern Canadian journey that paved the way for a fresh journey.

Springtime Apple Teacake

1 1/2 cups cake flour (you can use 1/2-3/4 cup more for a more coffee cake texture)
1 cup brown sugar (less is healthier, but this is a decadent teacake)
½ cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda, fresh
½ teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
1 stick European style butter, soft, cubes
¼ cup half and half
2 large eggs
2 large Granny Smith apples, washed, peeled, cored, sliced (extra if you want to arrange slices on top for a nice presentation)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Hazelnuts, chopped (optional)
Caramel sauce, premium brand

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking soda, and spices. Add the butter, half and half, and eggs. Mix well. Fold in the apples. Spread batter into a butter greased standard size tart pan or baking dish (about 9.5"x 2" or bit larger if preferred). *You can top with slices of apple. Bake for about 45 minutes or longer (due to your altitude) until light brown and firm to touch. Cool. Leave cake in tart dish. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and nuts. Cut in slices. Drizzle with caramel sauce.  Pair it with black or herbal tea. Serves 8 to 10.

As warmer weather approaches, baking dishes, like this one, will be phased out by no-bake, lighter recipes. But for now, we can still enjoy crisp evening, a perfect time to savor fresh green apples all dressed up. I can tell you when I cut the first slice, and took a bite of this rich, moist and sophisticated teacake I felt happy in my comfort zone at home—Lake Tahoe.

As the saying goes, things happens for a reason. Maybe those green apples in a bowl turned the tide for my travels. The next trip will be in autumn, north to Alaska, a place I was meant to be. And yes, I’ll leave a bowl of green apples out when I leave, and bake a homemade apple teacake when I return. 

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