Tuscan Dessert Apple, Lemon and Almond Cake
I am never quite sure if I should be calling this a cake or a tart but in any event it is delicious and quite easy to make.
The origins of the recipe are from Tuscany in Italy but I like to use highly perfumed Irish dessert apples when in season. Look out for some lesser known but very delicious Irish dessert apples such as Irish Peach and Ardcairn Russet.
10gbutter melted for greasing the parchment paper
4 dessert apples
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g caster sugar
110g butter melted and cooled
125g whole almonds, blanched, peeled and ground to a fine powder in a foodprocesser or ground almonds
110g plain flour sieved
1½ teaspoons baking powder sieved
100g of apricot jam
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons of chopped sweet geranium leaves ( optional)
Preheat the oven to 180c / 350 f / gas 4
Linea 28cm flan ring with a removable base with a disc of parchment paper. The paper should in one piece cover the base and sides of the tin and come up 1 cm above the edge of the tin. Brush the paper with a little melted butter.
Peel,core and quarter the apples and slice into c 3 mm slices. Mix with the lemon zest.
Whisk the vanilla, sugar and eggs to a thick and light consistency similar to a batter. Whisk in the cream and cooled melted butter. Fold in the almonds, flour and baking powder. Add ¾ of the sliced apples, being careful not to break the apple slices.
Pour the mixture into the prepared flan ring and gently smooth over the surface. Scatter the remaining apples over the surface and sprinkle with 1 dessert spoon of caster sugar.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160 c etc and cook for a further 40 minutes by which time the tartwill feel gently set. It may be necessary to cover the tart during the cooking with a sheet of parchment paper if the tart is getting too dark. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
While the tart is cooling make the apricot glaze. Warm the apricot jam and lemon juice in a small saucepan to just soften the jam. Do not allow it to boil as it dulls the flavour. Pass through a sieve pushing as much through as you can.
While the tart is still warm, paint the surface with the apricot glaze to achieve a shiny finish and if using the chopped geranium, sprinkle on immediately after glazing the tart.
Serve warm with softly whipped cream.