As a country, Luxembourg is very small and sandwiched in the middle of three much bigger powers, namely France, Germany and Belgium. Added to this, over 37% of the population consists of people who have emigrated from countries such as Portugal, Belgium, Italy and the former Yugoslavian states. The country is trilingual and children have to gain certification in German, French and Luxembourgish before graduating secondary school. As this might suggest, the cuisine of this country is just as varied, taking inspiration for all of these cultures, ranging from German peasant dishes to the more sophisticated French cuisine.
Two of the central ingredients in Luxembourger cuisine are apples and plums, which sounded to me like a great combination – cake planned! The recipe was adapted from here, and consists of a delicious combination of cake, topped with apples and plums, and covered generously with custard, which soaks though the whole cake, creating a lovey moist texture. I love most things to do with custard, but this one is particularly good.
Apple and Plum Cake
- 300g/10oz flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 110g/40z salted butter, cubed
- 120ml whole milk
- 2 braeburn apples, thickly sliced
- 2 firm plums, cut into large segments
- 2 eggs
- 240ml milk
- 6oz caster sugar
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas mark 5 and line and grease an 8in round tin. Don’t use a springform tin for this recipe as all the delicious custard mixture will leak out, and that would be very sad…
In a food processor, gently pulse the sugar, baking powder and flour together until combined. Add the butter and continue to pulse until it forms small lumps. Add the milk gradually until the mixture forms a soft dough. Take this out of the food processor CAREFULLY (we don’t want it to turn red!) and press into the pre-prepared tin.
Next prepare the fruit. Peel and slice the apples and press firmly into the dough. Do the same with the plums, arranging in a pattern of your choice – this will be the decoration of the cake, so make it pretty!
Whisk together the eggs, milk and sugar for a few minutes until completely combined, and then pour over the cake, ensuring an equal coverage – you don’t want one part to be sodden whilst the other is bone dry! Bake for 55-60 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Whilst the cake is still warm, gently heat the apricot jam and water together, and brush over the top of the cake. Sift icing sugar and cinnamon over the cake and serve. As you can see from the pictures, the cake is a very rustic-looking cake, and so don’t worry if it isn’t completely neat at the edges! You could add cream, berries or more custard, but it’s also very delicious just eaten as it is – warm and delicious!
[Note on removing from the tin – the custard can sink down to the bottom of the cake and make it look uncooked at the bottom, so use your judgement on removing the cake as to whether it looks like custard or uncooked cake mix! If it is cooked for the amount of time stated and the skewer comes out clean it should be cooked well]