From They Always Wore Aprons. Story and photos By Helen Krayenhoff
This “cake” is a pure celebration of the apple. Use different varieties—some sweet, some tart.
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
1 tablespoon organic sugar
2 5-inch ramekins, lightly buttered
Preheat oven to 300°.
Peel and core apples and slice very thinly by hand, on a mandolin, or in the food processor (use 3mm disk).
Finely grate the zest of one orange and mix zest with sugar.
Build the cakes in the ramekins by carefully piling the slices in differing directions to make as solid a structure as possible. Every third or fourth layer sprinkle a pinch of the orange sugar mixture. When you reach the top, tie a collar of parchment paper around the dish and secure with cotton string. Collar should reach 3-4 inches above the top of the ramekin. Continue building up the apples until you have reached the top of the collar.
Cut a small circle of parchment paper to fit on top of the apples and weigh down apples with a smaller ramekin or another kind of flat-bottomed ovenproof dish that fits inside the paper ring. Place ramekins in a baking dish to catch overflow liquid and place in oven. Bake for at least 3 hours. When the apples have collapsed to below the top of the ramekin, turn off oven, leaving cakes inside to cool gradually, at least an hour or overnight.
To serve, slide knife around edge to loosen and turn over onto a pretty plate. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.