French Apple Cake…

cake

I thought it might be time for a brief break from poetry and photography…

In the fall, I love baking with apples. In Canada, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and with company coming this year I was looking for a new recipe that isn’t too sweet and puts the emphasis on the apples.

I happened on a recipe for French Apple Cake that really appealed to me. I love simple, rustic French food, and not only did this recipe sound great but it looked easy, which is even more important, so I thought I’d give it a try.

This dessert has a custardy, apple-rich base beneath a light, cakelike topping. Cook’s Illustrated recommends microwaving the apples briefly to break the enzyme responsible for firming up pectin. I followed that suggestion and it worked really well.

This cake goes really well with a light dusting of powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream but it’s also lovely by itself — and tastes just as good the next day or the day after, in the unlikely event that anything is left.

If you like apples or French food — or both — you might want to give this a try!

slice-of-cake

French Apple Cake

1 ½pounds apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced ⅛ inch thick crosswise (about 4 to 5)
2-3 tablespoons rum (optional)
teaspoon lemon juice
cup (5 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
cup (7 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
large egg plus 2 large yolks
3/4 cup vegetable oil
cup whole milk
teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

Serves 8 to 10

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Place prepared pan on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place apple slices into microwave-safe pie plate, cover, and microwave until apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss apple slices with rum and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes.

2. Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk egg, oil, milk, and vanilla together in second bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup batter to separate bowl and set aside.

3. Add egg yolks to remaining batter and whisk to combine. Using spatula, gently fold in cooled apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges, gently pressing on apples to create even, compact layer, and smooth surface.
4. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into reserved batter. Pour over batter in pan and spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over cake.
5. Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 1 to 1¼ hours. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, then cut into wedges, and serve.
Note: The microwaved apples should be pliable but not completely soft when cooked. To test for doneness, take one apple slice and try to bend it. If it snaps in half, it’s too firm; microwave it for an additional 30 seconds and test again.
Adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe.

 

Resonances…

watery-abstract

Watery abstract of the Mississippi River, Almonte, Ontario

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking.

I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

Joseph Campbell

How to eat a poem…

heirloom tomatoes

Don’t be polite.
Bite in.

 

Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that
may run down your chin.

 

It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.
You do not need a knife or fork or spoon or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

 

For there is no core

or stem

or rind

or pit

or seed

or skin

to throw away.

 

 

Eve Merriam

 

window sill lr

What I’m loving right now…

cantaloupe jam

I love that Labour Day weekend is here and I don’t have to go back to school. Not that I didn’t love school — I was a good student and I loved learning — but elementary and high school were way too regimented for my free spirit. CEGEP and university were where I really soared.

I love that I can continue learning and discovering and creating and practising skills so many years later, but now at my own pace and free of the pressure of judgement and comparison. This time is truly a gift.

Melon jam

Nothing pleases me as much as a new recipe to try…a new taste combination…something I have never thought of before. This week it was melon jam, inspired by a crop of cantaloupe that we couldn’t eat fast enough. The colour is sublime, but I wish I could give you all a taste too!

Rebecca Solnit On being a “bad Buddhist” … “Buddhism is your guiding star, not the planet you live on necessarily every day.”

Kim Manley Ort on Pivotal Photos I read this and immediately related to what Kim described as a “pivotal” photo. They’re “the ones that made me see my life, photography, and even myself differently. They’re not necessarily the best, but they sent me in a new direction.” If you want to understand more about your photography and yourself, go through your images … I think your “pivotal photos” will jump out at you. Some of my pivotal images

Thank you…

I want to sincerely thank all those who took time to comment on my recent attempts at poetry, with so much encouragement. A kind reader said she found my poem “thought-provoking and relatable” which made me very happy, although a bit surprised, since I was hoping it might be…

 

 

 

 

I listen between the words…

sept poem pic2

I listen between the words

you speak.
As you mouth the story,
a flutter of fear
a glimmer of gladness
a shiver of sorrow
all hover like hummingbirds in the air.
This is really the truth of your life right now, isn’t it?

Ever-changing, illusive, elusive.

Mine too.

 

I wrote this after thinking about how often we utter words to each other that have little to do with what we’re experiencing at a deeper level — in our guts, our hearts, our souls.

As Gibran observed: The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say. 

To do this, we have to slow right down, and become very curious about the quick small signals that flash on and off in conversation — signals we so easily miss when we are caught up with our own image and persona. Recognizing that our stories are just that — stories — can break down barriers and reveal what is common to us all.

Poetry is my language…

 

Water play 6

Poetry is my language.

I do not care for beginnings and endings —

it is the present of the present I cherish,

and your truth buried in a picture of the still moment

that makes me thrill as if on a ride

ever deeper into the fathomless.

I said I was taking a blogging break, and I am…But I did not expect that a poem would come to me in these last days of summer that captures how I feel about photography and poetry. So, in the spirit of spontaneity and inconsistency, I offer it to you…