Late-summer apples have a thin skin and a gossamer flavor. They don't enjoy the endless shelf life of autumn's "storage" apples, but if you refrigerate them, you can easily pile up enough to make a big batch of applesauce - or the following recipe. From Greg Patent's 2007 book, "A Baker's Odyssey: Celebrating Time-Honored Recipes from America's Rich Immigrant Heritage," here's how to make Missoulian Jody Anderson's recipe for Swedish Apple Pudding, an applesauce topped with a layer of sponge cake.
Swedish Apple Pudding
Makes 8-10 servings.
Jody Anderson, who made this for me on a late summer day when her Transparents were at their peak, learned this recipe from her Swedish mother-in-law, Anna Anderson, who had been taught the recipe by her mother, Bed Bood. Mrs. Bood immigrated to the United States in 1885 from Varmland, an area of Sweden with a relatively mild climate conducive to growing apples. Jody says only late-summer apples will do for this recipe, and since she has a Transparent apple tree right outside her kitchen door, that is what she always uses. Any first-of-the-season apples, available at farmers' markets and in some supermarkets, will work. Lodi, Summer Red, and Wealthy are all excellent. I have also had wonderful results with first-of-the-season McIntosh, which are available in late September into the first part of October.
Jody's mother-in-law developed a technique for cooking the apples in batches in a microwave oven. "I just love the fact that there's no spattering," Jody says. But I have also made the applesauce in a large pot on top of the stove with minimal to no spattering.
5 pounds of late-summer apples (see headnote)
3/4 cup of water
1 1/2 - 3 cups of granulated sugar
one 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice (not drained)
2/3 of a cup of bleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 large eggs, separated
3/4 of a cup of granuluated sugar
3 tablespoons of cold water
3/4 of a teaspoon of pure lemon extract
1 1/2 - 2 cups of heavy cream or half-and-half, for serving.
To make the filling: cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a large bowl. Add 8 cups of cold water and drop in the lemon halves. Quarter, core and peel the apples, then cut them into ½ inch chunks. Add them to the acidulated water as you go.
To cook the apples in a microwave oven: drain the apples and measure out 4 cups. Put ¼ cup of the water into a large (6 quart) microwave-safe bowl and add the 4 cups of apples. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high power for 11 minutes. Remove the bowl and, beginning at the edge of the bowl farthest away from you, to avoid scalding yourself, carefully lift off and remove the plastic. Mash the apples a bit with a potato masher just to break them up a bit; the sauce should have some texture. Add ½ cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of the crushed pineapple with its juice, stir well, and taste. If the mixture is too tart, add more sugar to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap again and microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Transfer the sauce to another large bowl. Repeat the procedure twice more, using 3 quarts of apples in all. (You may have some leftover apples, which you can turn into applesauce to eat.)
To cook the apples on top of the stove: put all the apples into an 8-quart stockpot and add the ¾ cup of water. Cover the pot, set over medium heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the liquid comes to a boil. Uncover the pot and stir well, then cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes more, until the apples are tender. Add 1 ½ cups of sugar and taste. If the mixture is too tart, add more sugar. Use a potato masher to break up the apples a bit, but don’t overdo it; you want a sauce with some texture. Continue cooking the apples at a simmer, uncovered, over medium-low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender. Add the pineapple with its juices, and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Measure 6 cups of the filling (if you have less, that’s okay) into a large microwave-safe bowl to reheat in a microwave, or into a pot to reheat on the stove. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or pot lid and set aside.
Adjust and oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a 2 ½ - 3 quart baking dish about 3 inches deep.
To make the cake: sift together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very thick and pale, about 5 minutes. While beating, gradually sprinkle in the sugar, then beat for another 2-3 minutes. The yolks will be very thick. Beat in the water and lemon extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir them in with a whisk just until the batter is smooth.
Reheat the filling in a microwave oven on high power for 3-5 minutes, or reheat it in a pot on the stovetop. The sauce must be boiling hot when the cake batter is poured on top.
Meanwhile, in a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium speed just until they form peaks that hold their shape and curl softly at their tips when the beater is raised. Gently fold the whites into the cake batter only until no whites show.
Carefully uncover the hot applesauce, give it a stir, and scrape it into the baking dish. Spread it evenly, and immediately pour the cake batter on top. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed.
To serve hot, let the cake cool for at least 5 minutes. To serve warm, let the cake stand for about 1 hour. Or cool the cake completely and serve at room temperature. Spoon portions of cake and applesauce into serving bowls and pass the cream at the table to be poured around the cake.
Storing: Leftover cake keeps well the refrigerator, covered, for a day or two. It’s excellent cold.