Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipes: Bev's Apple Cake & Plum Torte (Κεικ με Μήλα & Κεικ με Δαμάσκηνα)

We stepped off the plane in Anchorage a month ago. The sun was shining brightly; the air crisp and cold. Our clothing, suitable for 75°F weather we left behind in Greece, left us shivering in Alaska.

We were one of the last to pass customs; our suitcases, fully packed with delicious Greek ingredients (including 30 pounds of cheeses), attracted intense governmental scrutiny. We helplessly stood by while a neophyte customs agent mauled delicate cheeses, sticking his thumb through their centers. Puzzled, he gave the cheese to a more senior agent for scrutiny, who immediately approved its entry. At long last, all our food passed muster, albeit a little worse for wear.

Because of the customs hold up, we missed the normal 30-people-fighting-for-10-taxis that happens after every international flight lands in Anchorage. Tired and relieved, we stepped into a waiting taxi and headed home.

Anchorage was awash with color: the sky, brilliant blue; the trees, gloriously gold. The mountains surrounding the city were deep green and snowless. Since we’ve been back, supermarket produce sections have been overflowing with fall fruits.

With all the fall fruit that’s landed in my kitchen, I’ve been doing a lot of baking. So far, my favorite treats are a pair of simple to mix, one-bowl cakes that are packed with fruit and wonderful flavor.

Bev’s Apple Cake is moist, has lots of apples, and isn't overly sweet. When fresh from the oven, the top crust crackles, nicely contrasting with the moist crumb and juicy fruit.

Plum Torte is one of the New York Times most requested recipes of all times. First created by Lois Levine and popularized by Marion Burros in her New York Times column, Plum Torte is moist, buttery, and absolutely delicious. Like Bev’s Apple Cake, it takes minutes to put together, but seems as if it took a lot of effort.

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my little expat kitchen said...

30 pounds of cheeses? Incredible. I only to manage to bring from Greece about 2 kilos—and 5 kilos of various other goodies.
Both cakes sound great but i would definitely go for the plum torte. I love prunes.
I can't believe that last photo. What an amazing thing to see happening in front of your house!

my little expat kitchen said...

ehm prunes? ok I love them too but I meant plums :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Greece and Alaska both have their appeal ant time of year. Customs is getting more and more sticky. You can imagine the scrutiny when I take my walking poles (which won't fit in my suitcase...rats). There must be contraband stuck inside the numbe of tiomes they scan them and ask me about them. As for the cakes I see them in my future.

Banana Wonder said...

Well shoot, I don't know which one I'll make first. Still drooling over your kale gallette which I'll be making perhaps this weekend. And WHAT 30 lbs of tyri?! Bravo sou for making it past customs with that bounty. You got some slick moves!

jenny said...

I saw this apple cake on Maya's blog and thought it looked really great, too... Do you have any suggestions for adapting it to be gluten-free? The small amount of flour in it makes me want to give it a shot. I might try :)

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Our quarantine guys are just as strict when it comes to bringing in imported foods...I totally understand your frustration though. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes Laurie..I'm always on the look out for sweet recipes with fruits in them. The apple cake sounds divine!

Laurie Constantino said...

Hi Jenny! I agree, this cake would be pretty easy to make gluten-free. As for a gluten-free, all-purpose flour substitute, here's the best discussion of it (and gluten-free baking in general) that I've run across:
Good luck!

Megan @ MAID in Alaska said...

These look wonderful!! And you've given me a few ideas for gluten free/Megan friendly goodies! MMmm....

Maria Verivaki said...

beautiful post, it evokes the meaning of autumn very well - fall fruits are top on my list, with summer veges and spring greens following, which leaves just winter to contemplate: dont let the imminent snowfall dash your hope!

ps do you freeze the cheeses?

kitchen roach/galley roach said...

no moose sightings here, yet. I will try the plum cake, sounds delicious- though we hardly can get good fruits in our town.

Valerie Gamine said...

Hi, Laurie.
Thank you so much for mentioning my blog in your AKFoodNew Tweet (I'm the baker whose is trying to figure out how to get a job as a cook on the f/v Northwestern.) The more people who know, perhaps the better my chances are that Sig will pay a visit to my blog. I can't thank you enough!

Also, your plum torte looks scrumptious! It's hard to find a good recipe that incorporates plums. I can't wait to try this!

Hopefully your cheese made it home without too much damage. I'm so jealous of you if it's feta! I could live on feta and tomatoes.

Thanks again! It really is a small world, I'm so glad I discovered your blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Fall fruits are such great joy to bake with. Both these cakes looks amazing. They have been bookmarked for future use. Especially since they require almost no effort at all!

Maria said...

I know the customs agent poking around your Greek delights must have been frustrating but it's great that everything passed through. NY customs agents are known to take items such as those away.

I love seeing the Italian plums overflow the markets during fall. That plum torte looks wonderful and I will save this recipe for next years bounty!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

I love an apple cake thats overloaded with apples and this one sure hits the rite spot!
I love how its moist and the top crust cracks!!
All fantastic and u sure have a fantastic blog!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Have been trying to add to my prev comment but my internet troubled me so!
so here am i again!!
Everything works for the good and here ur customs delay ,gave u some comfort in the taxi:-)
Well u sound like me , i once had around 60 pounds of local mangoes {goan} with me and had to pay alot for it !
How exciting to pick all that stuff!!!
Am in love with both ur recipes here and will be tryn thm too!

Dave said...

I love mediterranean food.
The recipe for Bev`s Apple Cake sounds very delcious! I will try it!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Glad everything went through the customs at the end without anyting being confiscated. My parents had a similar experience when they were visiting me.

The plum torte sounds really good! I need to experiment with baking with fruits a little more.

manju said...

Loving these cakes, and I'm not really a desserter. Thanks for the recommendation on the plum cake, can never have enough plum cake recipes! Unfortunately we don't have a plum tree outside the kitchen as we did in our first home.

AnaVar said...

Love greek cheese. You are quite capable to have been able to bring back so much.