Just this past weekend we were coming back from up north and we stopped at Phillip’s Orchards and Cider Mill on US 127, just north of Lansing, MI. We thought we would just get some cider, maybe some donuts, you know, the usual. But then the apples were everywhere! They had bags and bags of apples – Northern Spy, Gala, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, you name it. We managed our way through the crowd and up to the counter with a small bag of Northern Spy. Now, small is a relative word. There were probably 15 apples or so in the bag. However, when we got to the counter I saw the giant bag (1/2 bushel) of apples. This bag was at least 5 times the size of my small $4 bag and it was only $7! It was called the “Applesauce Mix”, it had some Galas, Golden Delicious and Empires or Macs, etc. – I had to have it.
So now I’d done it – what was I going to do with all those apples? After I got home, I took out all the apples to sort them into eating vs. baking varieties and they covered my counter, which, is not saying much if you have seen the photos of my kitchen – but still it was a lot of apples. The great thing was that now I had enough apples to give a bag to my neighbor and a bag to my mom and dad and still have enough to make one of my all time favorite fall desserts, my Grandma Lisl’s German Apple Cake. I made two, the recipe really turns out best if you make two. So now I can have my German Apple Cake, and eat it too…
German Apple Cake
1 recipe Sweet German Crust (below)
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 Granny Smith or other baking apples, cored and sliced thin
Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare two shallow, 10-inch tart pans with removable bottoms with Sweet German Crust per the recipe.
With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff and set aside. In a separate bowl of the electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks until they are thick and pale in color, about 5 minutes, then fold them together with the whites by hand. Mix apple slices, sugar, and cinnamon together. Fold the apples and egg mixture together. Place half of the apple and egg mixture into each tart pan prepared with the unbaked Sweet German Crust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 cakes, each serving 8 to 10. Serve with a little bit of vanilla ice cream – yum!
Note: It is best to make this as a whole recipe for 2 cakes. If you do only want one cake, divide the apples by half but use 3 eggs, ½ cup sugar and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon.
Sweet German Crust
2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 egg, beaten
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil (increase the oil a bit if using gluten free flour mixture)
Combine flour and sugar. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour and sugar, until crumbly. Add the egg and oil and mix together with your hands until it resembles pie dough. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disk; set one half aside. Roll one disk into a thin layer and place it in a shallow fluted 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. The best way to transfer it from the rolling surface to the tart shell is to fold it in half with a bench scraper, making sure it is not sticking to the rolling surface. Next, in a single motion, lift it into the tart pan with the center crease at the center of the pan. Unfold the pastry and gently form it into place in the pan. It will crack and break but just use excess pieces which hang over the edge to fix any holes. Press the edges of the dough into the corners and cut the top of the dough off with a knife or your fingers to make it flush with the top edges of the tart pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough in another tart pan. This dough may be frozen. Makes 2 10-inch tart shells.