The time – how does she fly! It’s been 10 days since we got back from our vacation and I have only told you about 1 day! Tut, tut. In the meantime, my beloved husband Joergi-Bear has had a birthday (on the 2nd) and we have been working hard trying to make up for being away for 2 weeks. I am soo hard done by, she says, sipping a cold glass of rose and reminiscing about the Apple Cream Cheese Cake I made for Joerg’s birthday – and strangely enough the recipe for today’s post.
This cake is made with Quark / Fromage Blanc / Fromage Frais or in American, low fat cream cheese. I got this description from a link via Wikipedia and it starts off by saying that you have to fly to France to get the product, but it then does give the following explanation:
"What is fromage frais? It is a fresh white cheese, unavailable in all but the most special of specialty shops in the United States. It is a creamy soft cheese made with whole or skimmed milk and cream. In Europe, it is available plain or flavored with fruit or with herbs and spices. It has the consistency of a cream cheese but with fewer calories and less cholesterol.
Substitute low-fat cream cheese in the recipe (but please, not nonfat cream cheese, which we are sure is one of the 10 worst food products of the last 10,000 years). "
I quite agree with whoever wrote this piece. German quark (in my opinion at least) is even better than French fromage blanc as it is firmer, i.e., less runny, so more like the low fat American cream cheese. This does help when it comes to the cake setting…in France I add more custard powder just to be sure that it will set and one has cake not pudding.
My hubby loves fruit cakes and lots of it, so this is a Sheet cake enough for a real crowd. We have had a lot of pop in visitors over the last few days, so I am down to the last 4 pieces. I can’t actually find them as Joerg has hidden them so that I don’t give them to anyone else. A good sign though – he obviously likes it! I am more a savory rather than a sweet person, but even I like this cake. I keep the degree of sweetness down to a tooth-saving level, but by adding the topping in the original recipe, you can increase the tooth-decaying qualities (am I bad or what?!). Not that I am as angelic as I am making our to be – I serve the cake with cream…
The very first day my darling husband and I moved into our first joint apartment, I was putting food into the fridge and he was putting ice cubes into the freezer (man has always had his priorities right) and I stood up without realizing that the freezer door was still open and whacked my head on the open door. I staggered back and Joerg rushed to the knife drawer and pulled out the biggest knife I had ever seen and came at me with it! Well I shrieked to say the very least (he is after all, German). Joerg is very much a hands-on type of a guy and I had visions of him lacerating the bump, pressing out the pooled blood (bruise) and stitching it up again with some kitchen garn. Poor man just wanted to put the cold steel against the bump to stop it bruising. One lives and learns.
Since said incident, he has learnt to warn me before rushing at me with some or other life threatening piece of equipment. I “fondly” remember the time we sailed in the Mediterranean and 3 days away from land I got an infected wisdom tooth. Joerg had all types of witch doctor mutti to keep me going till we got to Formentera Island (just before Ibiza) where the tooth was duly pulled – Joerg asked the doctor if he could watch and the doctor said he could help! “You just make a little cut here and a little cut there and then you pull za tooth” he said to Joerg. I had my mouth wide open, but he still managed to hear “over my dead body” – although I’m not sure that that is the ideal statement in such precarious situations. Anyway, I had a steak for supper that same day – the sooner you chew the better it is for the healing I once read in some or other dodgy magazine (was it perhaps called “Fat for Life”?).
But as usual, I digress. The birthday cake is today’s topic – I WILL tell more about the holiday, but I must share the cake recipe as it is so good. The almond slices on to could have been browner, but other than that I was more than happy. Toast some in a pan and sprinkle them on top is a solution if your oven, like mine, doesn’t brown the top well. Cakes come out nicely browned in my other oven, sometimes even a little too brown, but we won’t go there today! Adding the freshly grated ginger gives the cake a nice rafiness and kicks it up a notch.
So with no further ado, here is the recipe.
APPLE CREAM CHEESE CAKE / SHEET CAKE
Makes about 20 slices
150g ground almonds
200g butter or margarine
2 egg yolks (I used 2 whole eggs and it worked just as well!)
Pinch of salt, optional
1-2 pkts of custard powder (38g each)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 kg Quark / low-fat cream cheese / Fromage blanc or frais
Thumb size piece of ginger, grated (optional)
50g / ½ pkt of flaked / sliced almonds
1 tbsp honey
80g flaked / sliced almonds
1. PASTRY: Knead all the pastry ingredients together and then leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes. Thereafter, roll out the pastry onto a deep baking tray lined with baking paper, prick all over with a fork, and bake blind at 200C (or 170 for a fan oven) for 10 minutes.
2. FILLING: Mix all the filling ingredients together, except the apples, in the order they are given (avoids lumps). The apples you peel then quarter and remove the cores. Score the rounded sides of the apples with a fork.
(Alternately, you can slice them like I did. I put them in a container with a little lemon juice to stop them going brown while I prepare the rest of the apples.)
Spread the filling evenly over the pre-baked pastry and place the apples with the scored rounded bit facing upwards (or the slices) onto the filling.
3. TOPPING: Heat the butter, sugar, cream and honey till it has dissolved and mixed together and pour over the filling. Sprinkle the almonds on top and bake for about 30-35 minutes at 180C (or 160C in a fan oven).
And voila, you have a delicious cake and lots of it!! I found this recipe in a German magazine - I’m just not sure which magazine it was. “Neue Post” perhaps? Thanks to whoever it was.