Apple and Cardamom Babka


 
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche

Hiii! I’ve written and re-written this little top bit a bunch of times now, and I can’t think of anything clever, or witty, or funny to say, or any context that goes along with this recipe other than it’s yum and I think that you should make it. It’s been a bit of a long week. I’ve seen on a few different places people complaining about having to scroll past this part of food blogs to get to the recipe, and how they think it’s bullshit. It keeps rolling round in my mind. That we have gotten to a place where we expect instant gratification. That everything should be served up on a platter for us. That all recipes should be free and available on the internet without having to spend an extra 2 seconds of precious life scrolling past the part where the person who puts hours into developing recipes gets to express themselves for a little bit I think it’s always interesting how people find literally ANYTHING to complain about, including having to do two extra finger scrolls to get down to the recipe they are getting for free. Anyway. That’s what is swimming round in my wee brain!

I’m coming at you today with a giant dose of autumn. Last year a friend shared her Mum’s Swedish cinnamon roll recipe with me. They are super cute little knots, loaded up with cardamom and cinnamon, and finished with pearl sugar. I’ve been meaning to turn them into a babka for a while now, so finally here we are.

I took my go-to brioche recipe, laced it with some warming spices, filled it with a similar filling to the Swedish rolls, but scattered some chopped apple over the filling before rolling it up nice and tight. I love how the apple and the spices play together, and I just can’t go past the swirls of a babka. When making babka I generally freeze the dough for an hour or so before rolling out to help the dough stay chilled and keep its shape better when cut, however this time I tried a slightly different method, and rolled out the dough, filled it and rolled it into a sausage, then chilled the rolled sausage for an hour or so to firm it up before cutting. This resulted in a super clean cut when it came to splitting the dough lengthwise, and made the shaping process much easier in my opinion. Definitely going to be my go-to babka method from now on!

A few wee tips:

  • This dough can be made the night before and proofed in the fridge for the first rise. If you do this you can skip the chilling step!

  • These would also make epic cinnamon rolls. After you have rolled the dough into a log, cut into 10-12 rolls, arrange in a greased baking pan, and follow the rising and baking directions - you may need to reduce baking time slightly so just keep a close eye!

  • The swedish sugar isn't necessary, but if you can get your hands on it, it's hugely worthwhile!

  • If you don’t have an apple on hand, you can omit it if you like!

 

 

Apple and Cardamom Babka

- Makes two loaves -

Bread Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
3 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
One medium apple, peeled, cored and finely diced

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Swedish pearl sugar to finish (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all of the filling ingredients except for the apple in a small bowl, and mix well to combine.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle 16” x 24”, squaring off with a bench scraper as you roll to make sure it is as even as possible. Using an offset spatula, spread the filling mixture over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the chopped apple.

Starting from the long side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Measure the length of the sausage of dough, then cut in half so it is in two sausages. Place these pieces side by side on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.

Line two loaf pans with a parchment paper ‘sling’. Remove the chilled dough sausages from the fridge. Working with one at a time, using a sharp knife, cut the first piece in half, lengthwise, and then cross the pieces over each other, and then cross over two more times to form a twist (this video also explains well). Place into the loaf pan, tucking the ends under slightly if needed. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Lightly cover the loaf pans in plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for an hour to 90 minutes, or until the dough springs back lightly when pressed. While the loaves are proofing, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. 

Brush the loaves lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with Swedish pearl sugar if desired. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and the internal temperature registers 200˚F / 90˚c. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container, or wrap tightly before freezing.

Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche

Apple Butter Macarons with Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream


 
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron
The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron

For the last couple of years, we have been part of a CSA. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” - essentially a farm upstate grows all the produce, then each week drives a truck down to drop off shares to a bunch of different CSAs. You pay at the start of the year, and then get to pick up seasonal veggies for 22 weeks! Each week is slightly different. It’s a great way to meet people, and the produce is always amazingly fresh. I became part of the volunteer group that runs it a few years ago - we each take turns running the pick-ups.

Anyway, where I am going with this is that I ran the pick-up last week, in the middle of a storm. I froze my wee fingers off, but it ended up being incredibly worth it, because due to the storm a bunch of people didn’t pick up, so I came home with a GIANT crate of apples. Like, crate that they use in the orchard. It’s way more apples than I know what to do with, so I’m going to get to it this weekend making some apple butters and pies so that we have them on hand in the freezer.

I popped round to Jase’s yesterday and we made these apple macarons! We filled them with an apple butter, and a swiss meringue buttercream which we spiked with vanilla bean, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. You can’t really get any more autumn than that. Fall AF.

A few wee tips:

  • I have included notes to make apple butter (which is really just reduced apple sauce!) in both the instant pot and the slow cooker. You may or may not have to reduce down the mixture using the slow cooker - it depends on your apples. You are looking for a thick apple puree or sauce consistency. Remember that it will thicken in the fridge slightly!

  • Using the instant pot you will have to reduce it more because the water does not evaporate. You can do this on the saute function, however I find this a little inconsistent in heat delivery, so prefer to switch it to the pot.

  • The Apple butter needs to cool down before it can be used - overnight is ideal. You will be left with extra - but it is amazing on toast or baking!

 

 

Apple Butter Macarons with Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Apple Butter
960g (2 pounds) apples, cored and diced
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
Maroon gel food colouring (we used maroon by americolor)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

 

- PROCESS -

APPLE BUTTER

Combine all the ingredients in the pot of an instant pot. Seal and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Blend well using a stick blender or high powered blender, and transfer to a medium sized pot over low heat. Cook down for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently, until the apple butter has reduced to a thick paste (It will thicken slightly in the fridge). Transfer to a covered container and cool in the fridge completely.

Alternatively, to make the apple butter in the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours, until the apples are very soft. Blend either with a stick blender or a high powered blender. If the mixture is still reasonably runny (this will depend on the moisture content of your apples), transfer to a pot over low heat. Cook down, stirring frequently, until the apple butter resembles a thick paste. Transfer to a covered container and cool completely in the fridge.

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add maroon gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. 

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

SPICED SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small french star tip. 

ASSEMBLY

Place the apple butter into a small piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the shell, then a blob of the compote in the middle. Place the second shell carefully on top. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

The perfect Fall French Macaron - Macaron shells are filled with a smooth apple butter and spiced swiss meringue buttercream. #frenchmacaron #applemacaron

Miso Caramel Apple Pie


 
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel
Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel

It doesn't feel at all like autumn, even though there are already apples and pears at the green market. The days are still hot and humid, and it's all too tempting to flick on the air conditioning and pretend that it isn't boiling outside. I am right in the middle of a bunch of travel (we leave for the Saveur awards TODAY and I am v nervous but also v excited! You can follow along on stories!), so hopefully once we make it back it will be well and truly warm clothes weather.

I head to San Fran the day after getting back from the blog awards, and then we are going to PARIS!! I am in the middle of an epic planning list, and spend my free time reading up on other bloggers who have been there, just to plan out the list of the eats. I can't wait! We used to travel heaps when I was little, but it was mainly to Canada. Europe is crazy far from New Zealand, so we are going to hopefully make the most of living on this side of the world and visit as many places as we can while we live here!

I'm just going to pretend that it's sweater weather though, because there is pie to be made! I riffed on the traditional salted caramel apple pie, by adding a little miso to the caramel. The first time I made it was when Jill and I made Claudia's miso butterscotch sauce to add to something that we were making. I was super on the fence about adding miso to caramel, but we found ourselves standing over the stove, eating it by the spoonful. The miso adds an amazing umami flavour to the caramel, which cuts through the sweetness perfectly. It goes amazingly with the apples - this is probably one of my favourite pies to date. 

A few wee notes:

  • Both the pie dough and the caramel can be prepared the day before you make the pie - the dough is best if you can give it an overnight rest.

  • Have everything all ready to go when you make the caramel, because things move quickly.

  • I added a braided border to the pie, and covered up the little joins by using stamp cut-outs, which are my fave way to fancy up a pie with very little effort.

 

 

Miso Caramel Apple Pie

- Makes one 9 inch pie - 
 

Pie crust recipe from four and twenty blackbirds

Pie dough
2 1/2 cups (310g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar

Miso Caramel
1 ½ cups (300g) Sugar
9 Tbsp (135g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup (180ml) heavy cream
3 Tbsp white Miso
1 tsp flaky sea salt

Filling
1.2kg (2.6lbs) apples, peeled and finely sliced
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ (38g) cup flour
½ cup (50g) raw sugar

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or  your fingers,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.

Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. 

MISO CARAMEL

Place the sugar in a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan. Place the cream and the miso in a small pan, and whisk together well. Heat until warmed, then keep on a very low heat until needed. Heat the sugar on medium, stirring constantly. The sugar will start to form clumps, then begin to melt. Cook until is it amber in colour, then remove from the heat and immediately add all of the butter. Be careful as the caramel will bubble rapidly. Once the butter is incorporated, add the cream and stir well. Stir in the salt, and pour into a glass jar. Allow to cool completely.

PIE ASSEMBLY AND FILLING

On a lightly floured surface, roll the smaller disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line a 9" pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1 inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling and lattice.

Roll out the second, larger disc of dough into a rough rectangle approximately 1/8 inch thick. Use a pastry cutter to cut strips approximately 3/4 inch wide - these will be used for your lattice. Roll out scraps into a long segment, and cut thin strips using a pastry cutter. Braid the strips into 3 strand braids, to use for the border of the pie. Store the strips and braids on a baking sheet in the fridge until ready to use.

In a large bowl, toss together the apple and lemon juice. Leave to sit for 5 minutes, then drain any excess liquid. Add the flour and the sugar, and toss well to combine. Transfer the filling to the lined pie dish, packing the slices of apple in tightly, and mounding in the middle. Pour over most of the miso caramel, reserving about 1/4 cup for serving.

Arrange the strips of pie dough on the top of the pie, weaving a simple lattice. The Lattice that I did on this pie is the same concept, but you place the first line of strips horizontally, then weave in the other line of strips at a 45˚ angle. (Instead of perpendicular like a regular lattice). Trim any overlapping pie dough and lattice strips so that they are flush with the edge of the pie dish. If you are adding a braid border, brush a little egg wash then place on the braid. I used a couple of cut out pie stamp shapes to cover the joins.

Rest the pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 425˚f/ 220˚c. Place a baking tray on the bottom rack of the oven. 

Brush the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling. 

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the extra miso caramel.

Miso Caramel Apple Pie - Flaky pastry, fresh apples, and a sweet/savoury miso caramel