Apple, Walnut and Cinnamon Cake or Pudding

Have you ever eaten something wonderful at a restaurant, determined to replicate the same dish at home? After enjoying the two course lunch special at Cecconi’s cellar bar earlier this week, I inquired about the dessert of the day, hoping that it would be something wintry and old-fashioned. Oh happy day, the dolce del giorno was a wedge of apple, walnut and cinnamon cake, comforting and grandmotherly, jazzed up with modern restaurant toppings, including cinnamon ice cream, tiny cubes of apple jelly and something crunchy, perhaps a disc of meringue. No photo was taken: greed intervened long before any thoughts of pics entered my mind. It was good.

My version is close enough to Cecconi’s torta, without the flash toppings. A little dusting of icing sugar is enough but a dollop of Frangelico infused mascarpone goes well too. The cake morphs into a simple dessert when warmed and served with custard or ice cream. Hideous winter begone with a little warm pudding.

Torta di Mele, Noce e Cannella.  Apple, Walnut and Cinnamon cake.

  • 200 gr butter
  • 250 gr caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 300 gr plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 100 gr chopped walnuts
  • 500 gr apples, peeled, cored, finely diced

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 20 cm square tin. Dust with flour or line with parchment if you prefer.

Cream butter and sugar well then add eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder then add to the batter.

Fold in the walnuts and apples. Place in the prepared baking tin, ( it will be a stiff batter), smoothing the top, then bake for 60 minutes. Rest before turning onto a wire rack.

Cinnamon Meringue with Caramel Apples

This easy meringue dessert makes an impressive Christmas lunch finale, combining the spices associated with Christmas with hints of fruit mince-pie in the sauce. The individual meringues may be made a week before and the sauce made early on the day, then assembled at serving time.

Cinnamon Meringue with Caramel apples
Cinnamon Meringue with Caramel apples

The Meringues

4 egg whites

225g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp white vinegar

4 tsp ground cinnamon

300 ml thick cream

2 Tbs icing sugar, sifted

The Caramel Apples

4 granny smith apples

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs (40g) unsalted butter

2 Tbs honey

250g fruit mince

2-3 Tbs brandy

Preheat the oven to 120c. Line a baking tray with baking paper. whisk egg whites until stiff. Gradually add caster sugar until the mixture is glossy. Add the cornflour, vanilla, vinegar and cinnamon and whisk until combined. Draw eight 8 cm circles on the baking paper and pile the mixture into each circle, smoothing the sides. Make an indent in the top of each one and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave in the oven to dry out.

To make the caramel apple topping, core the apples and cut into six wedges then toss them in the lemon juice. Melt the butter and honey in a pan over low heat. Add apples and cook, stirring, until the apples caramelise. Add the fruit mince and brandy and cook until heated through. Whip cream and icing sugar together until thick, pile into the meringues, top with apples and sauce.

Easy Christmas dessert
Easy Christmas dessert

 

From Delicious, Lets Do Lunch, p 64. 2003

Easy Cinnamon Meringue with Cherries


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s cherry season here. As tempting as it is to eat them straight from the bag or dangle attached pairs from my ears, I like to save some for a few desserts. The following recipe for Cinnamon Meringue is a handy one for the looming silly season. These can be made ahead and stashed in an airtight box for a week. When you need a dessert, simply whip some cream and poach some seasonal fruit. The cinnamon adds another dimension to the meringue taste.

The Recipe

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 300 ml cream ( 35 %)
  • Cherries
  • sugar

Preheat the oven to 120c. Line the baking trays with baking paper. Whisk egg-white until stiff. Gradually add caster sugar until mixture is glossy. ( do this slowly in stages). Add the cornflour, vanilla, vinegar and cinnamon and whisk until combined.

Draw 8 cm circles on the baking paper: turn the paper over so that you can still see the circles) and pile the meringue into each circle, smoothing the sides. Make an indent in the top and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove when cool and store in an airtight tin or plastic clip box.

Gently poach the cherries in a little water with strewn sugar to taste. This should only take around 5 minutes. Add alcohol, such as Kirsch or amaretto, if you like. Whip the cream.

Serve the individual meringues topped with cream and cherries with some of the poaching liquid, and serve an extra bowl of cherries on the side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also made these little meringues with a Christmas topping of caramel apples, fruit mince and brandy. It was so rich! Below is a peak of that version.  The recipe is adapted from ABC Delicious, Let’s Do Lunch, 2003

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA