Pick a fall dessert for Turkey Day

Double Apple Crumble Cake (Photo Provided)

It’s time to start thinking about some sort of fall dessert to have at your Thanksgiving table! Even if your table this year will only be immediate family because of COVID, there’s no reason why you can’t splash out on an awesome dessert, so here are a few books to help you decide what to make!

Out this week, a cookbook author takes a scientific look at baking — and baking is definitely a science — in “A Good Bake” by Melissa Weller with Carolynn Carreno.

Weller is a James Beard Award nominee and a French Culinary Institute graduate who has created 120 sweet and savory recipes that anyone can master. Simple but deliciously effective photos by Johnny Miller accompany the recipes that will make you want to lick the page.

Chapters are divided into Savory Breads, Sweet Yeasted Breads, Laminated Pastries, Fried Dough, Pies and Tarts, Layer Cakes and Frostings, Quick Breads and Casual Cakes and Cookies and Bars.

Savory Breads have recipes like Potato Onion Buns, Soft Pretzels and Whole-Wheat Pain au Lait Pullman. Sweet Yeasted Breads had recipes for Cherry and Pistachio Panettone, Cinnamon Babka with Brown Butter Cinnamon Glaze and Hot Cross Buns. Laminated Pastries had dishes such as Double Chocolate Croissants, Blueberry Blackberry Cheese Danish Braid and Black Pepper Fantails with Salted Honey Butter. Fried Dough has recipes for Churros and Hot Chocolate and Deep-Fried French Toast with Strawberry Jam. Pies and Tarts has dishes like Sour Cherry Double-Crust Pie, Chestnut Honey Walnut Tart and even English Sausage Rolls. Layer Cakes and Frostings include Wyatt’s Chocolate Birthday Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Orange Crepe Cake with Hojicha Cream. Quick Breads and Casual Cakes has recipes for Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, Polenta Cake with Dried Apricot Compote and Orange, Oat and Flax Muffins. Cookies and Bars ends things with Chewy Gingersnaps, Hazelnut Linzer Cookies with Pineapple Jam and Milk Chocolate and Raspberry Blondies.

All I can say is make the Pumpkin Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream and Brown Sugar Frosting. It is an EPIC cake. It was a showstopper. Everyone who tried it loved it and wanted more. My husband said it was one of the best cakes I had ever made, and I love to bake. However, this is an all-day cake. My 15-year-old and I worked together to make it, and I would make it again, despite the long process. The cake must be made and cooled, and the two different kinds of frosting — one for in-between the layers and one for outside of the cake — need to be made and cooled. And the Salted Caramel Buttercream is intensive, as you need to make it, let it cool for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. The 15-year-old came in handy for this. But once you take a bite, it’s all worth it.

“A Good Bake” is published by Alred A. Knopf. It is $37.50.


Aren’t we all dessert persons? Now there’s a book with the name on it, “Dessert Person” by Claire Saffitz. Saffitz, the host of Bon Appetit’s “Gourmet Makes” brings a cookbook with plenty of recipes that will go from desserts to also savory as well as breakfast and brunch time!

The recipes are divided into chapters: Loaf Cakes and Single-Layers Cakes, Pies and Tarts, Bars and Cookies, Layer Cakes and Fancy Desserts, Breakfast and Brunch and Breads and Savory Baking.

Loaf Cakes and Single-Layer Cakes bring complex flavors like Spiced Honey and Rye Cake, Kaocha Tumeric Tea Cake and Marscapone Cake with Red Wine Prunes. Pies and Tarts bring new flavors like Plum Galate with Polenta and Pistachios, Blackberry Caramel Tart and Quince and Almond Tart with Rose. Bars and Cookies take them up to the next level with Brown Butter and Sage Sables, Minty Lime Bars and Earl Grey and Apricot Hamantaschen. Layer Cakes and Fancy Desserts bring a sense of occasion with Strawberry Cornmeal Layer Cake, Chocolate-Hazelnut Galette des Rois and Black Sesame Paris-Brest. Breakfast recipes include Seedy Maple Breakfast Muffins, Brioche Twists with Coriander Sugar and St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake. Breads and Savory Baking end things with Tomato Tart with Spices and Herby Feta, Clam and Fennel Pizza with Gremolata and Pull-Apart Sour Cream and Chive Rolls.

Another great fall cake to make was the Double-Apple Crumble Cake. This used fresh apples as well as apple butter in it, and made a dense and complex cake, with a delicious crumble on top. Though my husband wished it had icing, I really enjoyed the simplicity of the flavor and the relative ease it was to make. You can try it as well with the recipe following below.

“Dessert Person” is published by Clarkson Potter and is $35.

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.


“Reprinted from Dessert Person. Copyright ç 2020 by Claire Saffitz. Photographs copyright ç 2020 by Alex Lau. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House”



Serves 10 to 12

Season: Fall / Winter | Active Time: 45 minutes (not including making the All-Purpose Crumble Topping) Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes, plus time to cool | Difficulty: 2 (Easy, but with several steps)

Special Equipment: 9-inch springform pan*

3 tablespoons unsalted butter (1.5 oz / 43g)

4 medium Pink Lady apples (about 1.7 lb / 794g), peeled, halved, cored, and cut into †-inch-thick slices**

Butter for the pan

2 cups all-purpose flour (9.2 oz / 260g)

11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

11/2 teaspoons baking powder (0.21 oz / 6g)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

1 cup apple butter (7.8 oz / 220g) ***

1 cup sugar (7 oz / 200g)

1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (4.2 oz / 120g)

1/4 cup neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed (2 oz / 57g)

2 large eggs (3.5 oz / 100g)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

All-Purpose Crumble Topping

Precook the apples: In a medium skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the apples and cook, tossing often, just until the slices have begun to soften and turn slightly translucent, 10 to 15 minutes (it’s okay if some of them start to brown, which could happen if you’re using drier, cold-storage apples). Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven and prepare the pan: Meanwhile, arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350∂F. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of the springform pan with room temperature butter, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, smoothing to eliminate air bubbles. Set the pan aside.

Mix the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside.

Mix the wet ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk the apple butter, sugar, creme fraiche, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the apple butter mixture. Whisking from the center of the bowl outward, incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet just until you have an evenly mixed batter.

Fold in the apples: Using a large flexible spatula, fold the cooled apples into the batter, leaving any liquid behind in the skillet and mixing thoroughly to distribute the apples evenly.

Fill the pan and top with the crumble: Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the batter, breaking up any pieces larger than a marble.

Bake and cool: Bake until the crumble is browned and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake slides easily through the apple slices and comes out clean, 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Serve: Cut around the cake with a paring knife, then remove the ring. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices.

DO AHEAD The cake, well wrapped and stored at room temperature, will keep up to 4 days.

*Use a 10-inch springform pan if you don’t have a 9-inch. The cake will be slightly thinner, so start checking it for doneness after about 1 hour 15 minutes

**Use whatever variety of apple you prefer, just as long as it’s very firm and has some natural tartness. Try to avoid older apples that have been in cold storage for a long time and have a tendency to turn mealy when baked. To test an apple for freshness, press the tip of your thumb firmly into the skin. If you can’t make an indentation easily, it’s a good apple.

***Don’t use an apple butter with added sugar or spices. Try to find one that lists apples as the sole ingredient.


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