Fall is suddenly here, which means apples, apples and more apples!
Not all seasonal foods can make an appearance at every meal of the day and hold their own, but apples have that great talent! And breakfast just might be the most perfect time of day to incorporate this delicious fruit into your diet so today I’m offering two breakfast recipes. The first is a pudding cake. What makes pudding cakes so lovable is their two layers: the bottom of fruit and butterscotch-flavoured juices, and the cake top finishes it off beautifully. Try this comfy dessert for a fall or winter brunch, using a variety of local apples. The second recipe is an all Canadian French toast recipe that you are sure to enjoy for any brunch or family breakfast.
Apple Spice Pudding Cake
7 cups apples, peeled and thickly sliced, 2 lbs./1 kg., about 7 apples
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cups milk
1-1/4 cups apple cider or apple juice
4 tsp. cornstarch
Butter bottom and side of 4- to 4-1/2-quart slow cooker; add apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Top with brown sugar; toss to coat apples. Gently press apples to level; set aside.
Cake Topping: In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Stir into butter mixture alternately with milk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of milk. Scrape batter evenly over apples; smooth top.
In small saucepan or large glass measuring cup, whisk cider with cornstarch; bring to boil on stove top or in microwave, whisking gently, to make slightly thickened sauce. Pour over batter; do not stir.
Cover and cook on high until sauce is bubbling, apples are tender and cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 2 to 3 hours. Remove insert from slow cooker; let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Kitchen Tip: When pouring hot liquid over pudding cake batter, hold a large spoon, bowl side down, over centre of batter. Let liquid flow over back of spoon. This disperses it evenly and prevents it from pitting the surface of the cake.
Apple-Maple French Toast
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 slices French thick bread
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for serving
3 apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup maple syrup
Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and a pinch of ground cinnamon in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Add the bread in a single layer, turning until all the egg is absorbed.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, and add apples, stirring to coat until starting to caramelize. Add the water, cooking until water has evaporated and apples are tender, about 4 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup and a dash of ground cinnamon; simmer for a minute to combine.
In a large, heated nonstick skillet, melt about 1 tablespoon butter and sauté the soaked bread until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes. Place French toast on a plate and top with apple-maple mixture, plus more butter if you’d like!
Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.