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).
Now head to Mihl's post for the baking 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.)
|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 so the apples would be tender but still hold 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.
|The glazed cake.|
The glaze was poured over the top and the cake was refrigerated so the glaze could set.
Then, we ate it. Thank you Mihl and Kristy.