I can safely say that I am crazy about apples. I eat two or three each day, I bake desserts using apples, I put them next to main courses as a side dish, I make apple ice-cream, and chutney, and even mincemeat for my mice pies at Christmas. I freeze them or make apple compote to keep over winter. I basically use them every time I can. For me, there is no such a thing as a cooking apples; they are all equally good for eating and cooking.
This slight obsession with apples comes from home, but it has also been nurtured here in the UK. It is one of the many things my two countries have in common. The climate in Romania is perfect for growing apples, and we use them in a multitude of desserts, sweet or savoury pies, and in main courses. You will find a lot of recipes with apples on this website.
This apple torte is very popular back home, therefore it has quite a lot of variations, with jam or no jam, syrup or no syrup, sauce or not. I’ve made this recipe the way I like it the most: with everything in.
The use of carob is reminiscent of those days when we couldn’t find chocolate, so we had to be creative and use what was available. This was before 1989. However, the carob has such a delicate flavour, perfect for this dessert, lighter than a chocolate sauce.
8 small apples
150g jam (your favourite one)
120g butter – melted and lukewarm
150g almond flour
1 pinch of salt
1 lemon – zest only
1tbsp vanilla essence
1tsp baking powder
For the carob sauce
100 maple syrup (or honey)
20g carob powder
1-2 tbsp milk or water (if needed)
Method (needs overnight resting)
First prepare the apples: cut the lid and scoop out the core, then cut the bottom root to create a flat base. Add a teaspoon of jam in each apple.
In a 23cm diameter deep pan, make the caramel sauce by melting together the sugar and the butter, until the sugar changes its colour to a dark brown. Add the apples, jam side up, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200C.
Meanwhile, make the batter: whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale. Pour in the butter and add the almond flour. Mix well, then add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.
When the apples are ready, take the pan out of the oven, and pour the batter in. Return the pan to the oven, baking for 20 minutes at the same 200C, then for a further 20 minutes at 180C.
Remove from the oven and very carefully run a buttered knife around the edges. After 5 minutes, put a plate on top of the pan and quickly turn it upside down. Now reveal the cake and set aside to cool completely before serving.
Make the carob sauce: put the maple syrup and carob power in to a pan and bring to the boil. Add a splash of water if it’s too thick. Set aside to cool slightly, then add the cointreau. It is ready to serve.