Monday, January 3, 2011

The perfect Petits Gâteaux aux Pommes for the New Year

Unlike Americans who send their Season's Greetings cards just before/around Thanksgiving (that's at the end of November (!!!!) for my non-American readers), French people have an extended deadline until mid the end of January. Rien que cela! Et oui...  Season's Greetings, is (still for my non-American readers), a politically-correcnice term that has come to include Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa (Eid hardly ever falling in the Winter months). An easy way out that can't disappoint! Nicer than all-too-kitchy electronic Holiday cards, if you ask me. And even nicer if the people take the time to personalize the card just a little...(but who really does it these days? Really?)
But don't get me wrong, French people take an easy way out too! First, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving and second, we don't go into the trouble of wishing people a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah, at least not in writing. We just bundle our best wishes for la Nouvelle Année. And unless you are home with no kids, a lot of time to kill and a PhD in Philosophy or French literature to elaborate on the wishes, you generally wish people "meilleurs voeux de bonheur et de bonne santé" for Happiness and Good health! What I don't like about the cards is that I sometimes feel that people have me on their mailing list and therefore feel compelled to send me a card. Not that I mind but I'd rather get a short phone call, a postcard sent from their home/vacation town during the year, a text-message even...  Since we don't live in France anymore and since we moved to the digital age very fast, and since it's only January 3rd, I have yet to send something out (a video?). However, more than sending anonymous obligatory cards, I have jumped on the other American tradition to send/give food as presents.  And that, in a way, seems a better way to celebrate the Holidays and the New Coming Year. My favorite gift this season has been a small jar of my homemade Granola (I even tried to send 2.3kg (more than 5 pounds)  to France to share among our relatives, only to be stuck in my husband's suitcase in Frankfurt because of the snow (and still hoping to get it back!!)).... but I have also given fresh baguettes, chouquettes, gougères, in addition to three-course meals at our place. Sharing meals (or food) with family and people is important, including that lonely neighbor across the street. It's more important than having these people on your Season's Greetings mailing list. Seriously! These petits Gâteaux aux Pommes would be a perfect way to start...  Bon Appétit!
(inspired by My Tartelette)
For the cake batter:
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) sugar
- 1 ts cinnamon or Cardamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 ts baking powder
- 85 ml 2.87 Fl oz) milk
- 85 ml (2.87 Fl oz) cream
- 80 ml (2.7 Fl oz) vegetable oil
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 apples, pealed and diced

For the cream on top:
- 80 gr butter (2.82 oz) (room temperature)
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ts vanilla extract
  • Preheat ovent to 350F
  • Butter cake molds and set aside
  • In a bowl, mix in all the dry ingredients together.
  • In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, cream and vegetable oil.
  • Pour the liquids onto the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour the batter onto the molds about 2/3rd full.
  • Place the apples dices/slices on top. Reserve
  • In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well until smooth. Set aside
  • Put the cakes in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Take them out and spread the cream batter on top
  • Bake again in the oven for 15 minutes (until an knife comes out clean)
  • Dust with powdered sugar for decoration!
My Personal Comments:
  • Make sure you don't overcook the cakes in the first step (10minutes) because the cake needs to be soft enough to absorb the cream.
  • The cream might overflow : I like to bake them on a dish so that the oven stays as clean as possible
  • You could make them with Cardamon instead of Cinnamon
  • You could make a large cake instead of smaller ones. Just add a little bit more time for the second baking. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful little cakes! Happy New Year! (oh, and I love the idea of an extended deadline on holiday cards!)