What would be the purpose of reading so many blog posts if no inspiration took place? Isn't that the point? I was inspired to make an apple tart by a post on Seitan is my motor, where Mihl has been tirelessly whipping up one spectacular classic German dessert after another. She made a dessert called Erdbeerboden that had a crust she called sponge cake. But because Erdbeerboden means strawberry cake, mine would be have to be called something else, though I have no idea what that might be — apfelboden? But it also had cherries and dates, so I don't know.
|The fragrant, cooling crust, before being removed from the pan.|
I had to de-glutenize the crust, but it wasn't hard, and it still seemed springy and spongy to me. I used an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. The sides didn't stick at all, and after loosening the cake from the pan bottom a bit with a knife, the cake released intact from the pan. I completely forgot to line the pan with a circle of parchment, which would have made removal even easier.
For my ingredients I used:
5/8 cup cup hot water
2 tablespoons chia seed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons almond flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gf flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 cup arrowroot
Grind the chia to a powder in a high-speed blender, then add the hot water and emulsify. Whisk the sugar, two flours, baking powder and arrowroot together in a large bowl. Add the chia-water, oil, and vanilla, and mix with a electric hand mixer (if you have one) until smooth (about one minute).
Place the batter in the tart pan and bake at 400˚F for 15 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on a rack before loosening and removing the cake from the pan.
Now head to Mihl's post for complete directions, and the more traditional, non-gluten-free version.
|The caramel sauce spread onto the cooled crust.|
On top of my sponge cake, I added a layer of caramel. I was inspired to make caramel sauce from soaked dates to spread on the cake by a post on Keepin' it Kind. I had a bit of trouble with this because the quantity of dates was too small to be adequately blended in either my food processor or my blender, and I ended up adding more liquid to get it smooth. It was a little looser than I wanted, but still worked out OK. I think I might double the quantity next time so as to have a thicker caramel. (The salted caramel sauce was really intended to be part of another recipe for salted caramel apple butter, so it wouldn't have mattered if it were a little lumpy as it would have been thoroughly blended with the apples, later. For my purposes, I needed it smooth.)
|The cake before being glazed.|
Speaking of the apples, although Kristy's post provided the inspiration to cook the apples in a slow cooker, and combine them with caramel, my first experience with cooking apples and other fruit in a slow cooker was when I tested recipes for Robin Robertson's book, Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker. The results were so rich and flavorful that I used my slow cooker for the apples in this recipe with the hope of adding intensity to the flavor. I sort of followed Kristy's no-sugar recipe with a little additional water, but shortened the cooking time, cooking just until the apples were tender but still held their shape. I really love my slow cooker.
After cooking and cooling, the apples were applied to the crust and decorated with cherries. (I used frozen cherries which I heated briefly in a pan to defrost them and release their extra liquid.)
The final piece took me back to Mihl's blog again to make a glaze. I used the liquid left from cooking the apples, the soaking water from the dates and liquid left from cooking the cherries, and a small amount of sugar. I made the glaze using both arrowroot and agar agar flakes because I wanted it to be a little soft, rather than a hard jelly.
For the glaze:
1 cup liquid leftover from cooking apples, soaking dates, warming cherries
Sugar, to taste
5/8 teaspoons agar-agar powder
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
|The glazed cake.|
Sweeten the liquid to taste. Sprinkle the agar agar over the cold liquid and let it sit for five minutes. Place the arrowroot in a small dish and add 1 tablespoon liquid. Stir to dissolve, then add to the agar agar mixture. Heat the glaze until it bubbles, turn to simmer, and cook until thickened, about five minutes.
Pour the glaze over the fruit and refrigerate the cake so the glaze can set.
Then, eat the cake. Thank you Mihl and Kristy.