Thursday, 2 February 2012

SmartCooks and Super Bowl Apple Charlotka Dessert

February 2012

SmartCooks here.  I'm told I never post any dessert recipes.  Truth is, my friends are all wayyyy better at making scrumptious desserts than I am (and you know who you are!).  I am a willing taste tester.  Anytime. Except it's Super Bowl weekend, meaning a few folks are coming over to watch the game on one of the big screen TV in the house.  They can take their pick from the half dozen or so TVs in the house (embarrassed not), but I assume the main one in the TV room will be the centre of action for the game and food.  

It means Menu Planning R Me, and that includes dessert.  I'm trying dutifully to find a 'healthy' Super Bowl meal that revolves around chicken wings, dips and sides.  Wish me luck on that front.  But I did find an almost guilt-free dessert called Apple Charlotka.  

I've made Apple Charlotka once already for a house-warming but didn't taste it. I will make it again this weekend (actually I will make two -- one for RC!).  I happened upon the recipe when I was browsing through one of my favourite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  The author/photographer hasn't posted much in recent months as she has been finishing her first cookbook based on her blog (available Fall 2012).  But, as she herself noted, there's only so much editing you can do without needing to do something else -- like bake, take pictures (photos are all from her site) and post a recipe for Apple Charlotka.

Apple Charlotka fits the bill for 'healthening up' Super Bowl menus.  It's originally a Russian recipe that defies categorization -- no milk, butter, crusts, or a lot of flour and sugar.  It's based on six (organic) Granny Smith apples, is a cinch to make, and pretty to view.  It neatly fits the January/February 'No Dessert' rule (self-imposed), the need-a-pick-me-up weather, AND something interesting and somewhat healthy-ish for Grey Cup hosting.  It will pair nicely with any of fruit, yogurt, or, ahem, ice cream.  Apple Charlotka it is. 

There are a couple of must-haves with this recipe.  

First, it works best if baked in a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper (I cut out a circle of parchment for the bottom).  I've been looking for an excuse to visit Paradis post-Christmas and this was perfect.  I walked out with both a pan AND, even more important, Husband found a funky-looking Zyliss Easy Twist Apple Corer.  How timely!  It worked like a charm.  

Second, the recipe recommends beating the eggs and sugar until thick and "ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs".  Huh? I You-Tubed this technique to no avail, so eventually winged it and used the electric mixer for about 3 minutes and I could kind of see ribbons on the beaten mixture so called it done.  It seemed to work OK.  If anyone knows or can show me the technique.... let me know.  

Third, and a key point, is pouring the batter over the apples.  At first, the author wrote to "pour the batter over all the exposed apples".  She later updated the posting to clarify that the batter should be poured and pressed down into the apples.  I didn't press enough on my first try so there was more batter on top showing than apple.  I intend to mix it more on the second attempt and am sure it will look and taste devine.    

Apple Sharlotka
(Smitten Kitchen recipe, with thanks to her husband's mother, grandmother, etc.) 
Butter/pam for pan and parchment paper 
6 large organic tart apples (e.g., Granny Smith)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla 
Ground cinnamon (try fresh from Spice Hunters; if not use good ground cinnamon) 
Powdered sugar, to finish


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2) Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.  Butter (or pam) the paper and sides of the pain.
3) Peel, core (with the handy-dandy Zyliss Easy Twist Apple Corer), and halve the apples, then chop to medium-sized pieces about 1/4 inch thick.  A mandolin works well for slicing.
4) Place apples in the pan.
5) In a large bowl, with an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs with sugar until thick and ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs. (For me, this was about 3 minutes or so, I think).
6) Beat in vanilla, and then stir in flour with a spoon until just combined. Batter will be very thick.
7) Pour over the apples in the pain, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter over all apples. Make sure to press the batter down into the apple pile. The batter should be level with the top of the apples.
8) Bake in oven for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out free of batter.
9) Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then flip it out onto a rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip it onto a serving platter. (I did this with no mishaps!)
10) Dust lightly with ground cinnamon and powdered icing sugar.

Note: It can be served warm or cooled, and/or with some lightly whipped sour cream, yogurt, ice cream. Your choice.

Who is playing in this Super Bowl game anyway?  Doesn't matter... enjoy the food (and the game).  

1 comment: