I must begin this week’s column with a small personal confession: It took me many years until I learned to enjoy the texture of fruit pies. The way I got over this obstacle was by trying out new methods of baking and measuring fruits and nuts. And now I can honestly say I love baking fruit pies.
My early relationship with fruit pies was certainly not love at first sight, as it was with cream cakes, chocolate mousse or nut cakes. Yet it is a love that has been building slowly as I become oriented to hot fruit, cream, jams and layers of crumble. The more pies I baked, the more I learned about the connection between fruits and crusts.
There are a few different types of fruit cakes. The first one is fruit pies that are made with pastry dough or cake batter that are filled with fruits either before or during the baking process. The filling can be made from fresh fruit, jams or syrup.
The second type is a crumble sprinkled over a fruit filling that can be made with oats, nuts, coconut and sesame.
A third type of fruit cake is similar to a crumble, but is creamy and must be stored in the fridge.Translated by Hannah Hochner.
PEAR, MAPLE AND CINNAMON CRUMBLE
Make in 24-cm.-diameter pan.
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200 gr. white flour, sifted
200 gr. butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
¼ tsp. salt
100 gr. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. oats
½ cup pecans
50 gr. butter, cut into cubes
7 pears, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. cinnamon
⅓ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. sugared ginger, chopped coarsely
Sour cream or vanilla ice cream
To prepare crumble, put flour, butter, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add oats and pecans and continue to pulse until small pieces of dough form. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in fridge.
To prepare pears, melt butter in a pan and gently sauté pears. Add the lemon juice, cinnamon, maple syrup, lemon zest and ginger. Mix for another minute or two until the sugar has dissolved and begins to caramelize. Turn off flame.
Transfer to an ovenproof dish and flatten pears into a 2-cm. layer. Sprinkle crumble on top.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 20 minutes or until golden brown and liquid from pears appears.
Serve with sour cream or vanilla ice cream.
APPLE AND WINE PIE
This tasty pie is easy and quick to make. The dough is made with semolina and the grain absorbs the apples and spices nicely.
Use a 24-cm. x 32-cm. pan.
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced extremely thinly
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
50 gr. raisins
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. candied pecans
2 cups sweet red wine
1½ cups semolina
1 cup flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
150 gr. cold butter, cut into thin strips
Put the apple slices in a large bowl. Add the sugar, maple, raisins, cinnamon, pecans and wine. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes so the apple slices can soak up the flavors. Stir every once in a while.
In a separate bowl, mix all the dough ingredients, except for the butter. Press ¹⁄3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan and flatten. Pour in all of the apple slices, including the juice, and flatten. Sprinkle on the remaining ²⁄3 of the dough on top and gently press down. Lay butter slices on top.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 150° for 60 minutes or until pie turns golden brown.
Important note: The pie seems like it’s not fully cooked, but don’t worry – it is. Don’t bake it any longer than an hour. Remove it from the oven and let it cool on the counter. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
BANANA AND NUT CAKE
This is the perfect cake to make when the bananas on your counter become overripe and no longer look very appetizing.
Use a 22-cm.- or 24-cm.-diameter greased pan.
150 gr. butter, cut into cubes
1 cup brown sugar
2¼ cups flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 packet vanilla sugar
4 overripe bananas, peeled and mashed
¾ cup hazelnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp. raisins
½ cup milk or sour cream
Round or long banana slices
2-3 Tbsp. demerara sugar
In a food processor, mix butter, sugar and eggs and mix well. Lower speed and gradually add rest of the ingredients until mixed well.
Pour into pan and place banana slices on top (gently push them into batter). Sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
Remove and let cool. APPLE CINNAMON CAKE
Use a wide greased loaf pan.
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
½ cup canola oil
½ cup water, milk or juice
¼ tsp. quality vanilla extract
1 cup flour, sifted
4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
4 Tbsp. demerara sugar
1 level tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
¼ cup hazelnuts, gently roasted and chopped
½ cup powdered sugar mixed with ¼ tsp. cinnamon
With an electric mixer, beat eggs until foam forms. Gradually add sugar while mixing. Mix for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in honey, oil, water, vanilla and flour and mix gently.
In a separate bowl, mix all the filling ingredients. Pour some of the filling into the pan and flatten. Pour half of the batter on top and flatten. Add the rest of the filling, and then add on top the other half of batter and flatten.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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