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Danish æblekage

January 20, 2013

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Æblekage means apple cake in Danish. But this isn’t actually a cake at all. It is more like a kind of apple trifle made out of homemade applesauce, whipped cream and buttery sweet roasted breadcrumbs. It is a very traditional Danish dessert and I love it so much. I hadn’t had it for a long time, so when I saw some very sad looking apples in my dad’s windowsill this weekend, I knew I had to turn them into old-fashioned æblekage.

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This weekend has been beautiful. There is a nice layer of snow and today the sun was out, so I have taken most of the pictures for this recipe in my Dad’s garden, in the snow. It was freezing cold taking the pictures, but I just couldn’t resist having the beautiful white snow in the photos.

What you need to make this as a dessert for 4 people:

Applesauce

425 g. apples, cored and peeled and cut into chunks

Juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons sugar

One empty vanilla bean

Breadcrumbs

130 g./4,6 oz. very dry, white bread (if you don’t have bread quite that stale, dry it in the oven, sliced, at 100C/210F until it is completely dry)

80 grams/2,8 oz. butter

1,4 dl./0,6 cups sugar

Cream

2,5 dl./1 cup organic whole cream

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Add the apples to a pot along with the vanilla bean and add a splash of the water. Bring to a low simmer and see how the apples react. My apples were old and dry and needed the whole deciliter of water to not dry out. If your apples are fresh and juicy, you will probably need just the splash in the beginning to keep them from burning. Let it simmer until the apples have turned to mush, about 15 minutes, while keeping an eye on it, adding water as necessary. The applesauce should not be too liquid, but still smooth. When the apples have dissolved, you can add the lemon and the sugar. Add a little at a time as it really depends on your apples how much you’ll need. Taste it. It should not be overly sweet or sour. The sugar is only there to enhance the apple flavor and the same goes for the lemon juice. When you are satisfied with your apple sauce, put it to the side, and let it cool down completely. When cool, remove the vanilla bean.

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Now we are making breadcrumbs. Take your very dry bread and turn it into crumbs. I did it by beating it with the bottom of a pot, while it was in a plastic bag. It might be easier to use a blender or food processor. I like there to be some chunks left for texture. Melt the butter in a pan. When it has melted, but not browned, add the crumbs and the sugar. Over medium heat, keep stirring until it all has turned golden. It is slow at first, but all of a sudden it is very quick, so don’t leave it out of your sight. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread it out. Leave it to cool. You will probably end up with too big a portion of breadcrumbs, but use the leftovers on your yoghurt in the morning along with some fruit.

Now, all there is left to do is whip the cream, and put the dessert together. Traditionally you would put it in a big crystal bowl, and serve people from there. I like to make individual servings, but either way, you just layer the ingredients. I start with applesauce, then breadcrumbs and a good dollop of whipped cream. Then another layer of applesauce, finishing with more breadcrumbs.

And there you have it. It is so simple, but so good!

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