Pascale's Kitchen: Apples and dates to delight on

The three apple and date recipes Ive included this week are easy to make and all of the ingredients are most likely already sitting in your pantry waiting for you to create something yummy.

Date cupcakes
Two of my favorite fruits are apples and dates, and now that spring is here, its a wonderful time to prepare tasty cakes that are full of fresh fruit.
The three apple and date recipes Ive included this week are easy to make and all of the ingredients are most likely already sitting in your pantry waiting for you to create something yummy to eat with them.
The date cupcakes are one of my all-time favorite recipes. If you dont have a cupcake tray, or youre short on time, you can also prepare this recipe as a cake in a round or loaf pan. The majhoul dates that are added to the cake batter give the cupcakes a rich taste and a toffee-like texture.
This is an incredibly healthy recipe, and if youd like to enhance it a little, you can add a bit of whipped cream or powdered sugar on top.
The second recipe is for tarte tatin made from apples, but you can easily use pears instead and add pieces of nuts, too.
The last recipe is a moist apple cake that is topped with a unique caramel icing.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Date cupcakes
Makes 14-16 cupcakes (depending on size of cupcake holder)
■ 15 majhoul dates
■ 50 gr. butter, margarine or oil
■ 1½ cups warm water
■ 1 cup flour, sifted
■ ½ cup whole wheat flour, sifted
■ ½ tsp. baking powder
■ 1 tsp. baking soda
■ ¼ tsp. ground cloves
■ ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
■ 1¾ cups demerara or brown sugar
■ 1 Tbsp. raw tehina
■ 1 tsp. quality vanilla extract
■ 1 egg
■ 100 gr. walnuts, roasted and chopped
For decoration:
■ 2 cups whipped cream
■ Sprinkles, chopped nuts or powdered sugar
Remove the pits from the dates, then cut the dates into medium-size pieces and place them in a bowl. Add the butter, margarine or oil, pour in the warm water and mix.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves and cinnamon.
While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add the date mixture. Add the tehina, vanilla, egg and nuts. Mix well.
Arrange cupcake holders on a tray and spray them lightly with oil spray or brush with a little melted butter or margarine. Spoon batter into cupcake holders until they’re ¾ full.
Bake at 180° for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Before serving, add a little whipped cream and then sprinkle with powdered sugar, chopped nuts or sprinkles if desired.
Tarte tatin
Use a 28-cm. diameter pan.
For dough:
■ 1¼ cups flour, sifted
■ ½ tsp. salt
■ ½ tsp. sugar
■ 115 gr. cold butter, cut into little cubes
■ ¼ cup ice water
For filling:
■ 6 Granny Smith apples
■ ¾ cup sugar
■ 3 Tbsp. cold water
■ 60 g butter, cut into cubes
In a food processor with steel blade, blend flour, salt and sugar for a few seconds. Add the butter and process for 10 seconds until crumbly.
Gradually add the water and process for 30 seconds until smooth. (Note: the less you blend it, the crispier crust will be.) Form dough into a ball. Flatten it slightly, cover with plastic wrap and cool in fridge for at least an hour.
To prepare the filling, peel and cut the apples into cubes. Reserve half an apple for the middle of the tarte.
Add water and sugar to a pan and bring to a boil over high flame. Lower the flame a bit and cook until sugar begins to caramelize. Don’t stir it – just shake the pan a little every so often. Remove from flame and add butter.
Put the half apple in the center of the pan and then arrange the quarters around, with the round part facing down. Cook for 20 minutes on low flame until sauce thickens. Remove from flame.
Take the dough out of the fridge, and on a floured work surface roll it out into a flat circle just a little larger than the pan. Place dough over apples and fold the dough over the edge of the apples and tuck in edge. Heat oven to 190°. Put the pot in an oven (you can cover handles with aluminum foil) and bake for 15-20 minutes until it turns golden brown. Remove from oven and place on metal rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Place a plate face down on pot and then flip over so that tarte is sitting on plate. Serve immediately.
Moist apple cake
Use a round 26-cm. diameter pan.
■ 2½ cups Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into cubes
■ 100 g raisins ■ ½ cup sweet red wine
■ 2 Tbsp. cognac
■ 3 eggs
■ 1 cup sugar
■ 1 cup oil
■ 2 cups flour, sifted
■ 1 packet baking powder
■ ¾ cup candied pecans or hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
For decoration:
■ ½ cup brown sugar
■ ½ tsp ground cinnamon
■ ½ cup pistachios, chopped In a wide bowl, add apple cubes, raisins, wine and cognac.
Mix and let rest for 15 minutes. In a mixer, blend eggs, sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder.
Fold in pecans and apple mixture. Pour batter into pan and flatten. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and pistachios on top.
Bake at 180° for 40 minutes. Remove and let cool.