Gewürztes Apfel- und Haselnusskuchen-Tatin

We had arrived in Germany as part of a ‘Reformation Tour’ and were set to spend the next week exploring various significant historical sites that pertained the reformation of the Christian Church.

It was Friday morning, we had arrived in Rudesheim am Rhein and we were told that the official touring started on Sunday. This meant, that we had today and Saturday to explore at our own will, with the exception of pre-booked river cruises and passes for Saturday morning explorations.

Now, we had planned specific things we wanted to do in each place we travelled, a little dorky and maybe a bit cliche, but they were things such as:
1. Eat a frankfurt in Frankfurt.
2. Have ‘Kaffe und Kuchen’ anywhere in Germany.
3. Have a German sausage and really see if they are the ‘wurst’ (they really aren’t, they are the best! Especially covered in curry sauce.)
Well, you get the picture…

So, we took to the streets of this gorgeous little town, wandering the quaint alleyways, photographing absolutely everything, when we came to a sign that said ‘Kaffe und Kuchen’. Our little group stopped in our tracks and exchanged knowing glances, then, practically in unison said ‘To Kaffe und Kuchen’ and made way for the cafe entrance.

Upon entering the cafe, we were greeted with the most glorious sight! Cakes, tarts, pies, you name it, they had it. We each perused the beautiful windows of delicious treats, made our order and sat down.
Sadly, they only had one option for gluten free, but I tell you, it was a mighty tasty option! It was a basic gluten free vanilla cake, with slivered almonds and spiced caramelised apples cooked into it. Ah-maz-ing!

We devoured our ‘Kaffe und Kuchen’, then headed back out to continue exploring this incredible village.

Months later, we are back in Australia and I am missing that feeling of ‘home’. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this phenomenon, where you travel to where your family came from, your cultural heritage as such, and just feel like you’ve come home. It’s a weird sense of belonging. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the familiar/similar look and features of people, or the familiar food options, but I was definitely missing it back in Australia.
So, I thought, why not recreate my own little ‘Kaffe und Kuchen’ moment back here in Australia and re-live my German moment of contentedness.

(Spiced Apple and Hazelnut Tatin Cake)

100g hazelnut meal
50g pistachio meal or finely ground pistachios
150g almond meal
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla
60g butter, at room temperature

Apple Base:
3 red apples, thinly sliced (I used Pink Lady’s and cut them using a mandoline slicer)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1/3 cup water

Spiced Caramel Glaze:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
50g butter
2 tbsp milk

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a cake tin with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine hazelnut meal, pistachio meal, almond meal, 1/2 cup caster sugar, egg yolks, 60g butter and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. The mixture will be quite stiff.
3. In a seperate bowl, add the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Once stiff peaks form, slowly incorporate the remaining 3/4 cup of caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time while still beating. Do this until the egg whites are glossy and the sugar has dissolved into the mixture.
4. Take half of the egg white mixture and add it to the egg yolk mixture. Fold together until the mixture has started to loosen and the egg white mixture has been mixed in well.
5. Add the second half of the egg white mixture and gently fold into the mixture until it has all come together into a batter. Set aside.
6. In a large fry pan, add 3 tbsp brown sugar, mixed spice and 1/3 cup water and bring to the boil together. Add the thinly sliced apple pieces and cook together for 3-5 minutes, or until the apples are starting to soften and are well coated in the mixture.
7. Using tongs, remove the apple slices one piece at a time and arrange in the base of the lined cake tin, ensuring an even layer across the base is achieved. Then add the cake batter over the top and smooth over, ensuring an even coverage of batter.
8. Place the cake in the oven, with an extra baking tray on the shelf below (in case any of the caramelised apple juices escape the bottom of your pan). Bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour and 10 minutes. Check at 55 minutes – if an inserted skewer comes out clean, it is ready, but times will vary depending on your oven and the cake tin you use.
9. While the cake is baking, make your caramel glaze. To do this, add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp mixed spice and 50 g butter to a small saucepan. Heat together until all ingredients are melted and dissolved and the mixture is boiling. At this point, be really careful as the mixture will spit and be very hot. Add 2 tbsp milk and mix quickly – be careful not to burn yourself. Then turn off the heat and leave to settle.
10. When the cake has cooked through, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, place a plate over the tin and invert the cake onto the plate. There should be a layer of beautifully cooked apple slices with a deliciously moist and dense cake underneath.
11. Take your caramel glaze and drizzle over the top of the apples, ensuring the whole top is covered and glossy, letting the extra drizzle gloriously down the sides.

At this point, all I can say is good luck! This cake is hard to resist and if you have made it to eat later in the day, you’re going to have a hard time restraining yourself from the temptation of cutting into this gleaming beauty.
Otherwise, go ahead, slice into it while it is still steaming from the oven and enjoy with a dollop of crème fraîche and a cup of something hot! Guten Appetit!

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