Apple Cake Tartlets and My Trip to Germany, Part 1

 

What is it about a trip to Germany that beings out the apple cake in all of us?  I don’t know but on my first day in Heidelberg I was on the hunt for a good cup of coffee to help shake off the jet lag from the eleven hour non-stop flight from San Francisco.  I ended up enjoying a pastry break, the first of many on the trip, with a giant slice of apple cake along side my strong cup of coffee.  So I guess I was a little bit hungry.  Apple cake and coffee – just what I needed to make it till sundown before falling into my hotel bed on the first day of my European adventure.

My travel adventure to both Germany and the Alsace region of France started with a favorite food blog and an announcement from Kirsten at My Kitchen in the Rockies.  Kirsten, along with her friend and another Colorado food blogger, Michele at Cooking with Michele were organizing a food and wine trip.  The trip would be starting in Heidelberg, Germany;  they would be going down the wine route that travels through the Palatinate wine region, with stops in Baden-Baden, including a cooking school experience in the Black Forest and ending in Strasbourg, France.  A food and wine trip in Germany and France…Where do I sign up?

The timing of this trip worked out perfectly in my schedule with the added bonus of Lufthansa flying non-stop from San Francisco to Frankfurt where the train to Heidelberg leaves directly from the airport..ok..double sign me up and I’m so glad I did.  Another added bonus to the wonderful itinerary of the trip – the small group of fellow food and wine travelers were a delight to meet.  In addition to myself, Kirsten and Michele, the lovely, Lea Ann at Cooking…On The Ranch, another Colorado food blogger, joined the trip.  Our group of inspired food, wine and cooking devotees showed up in Heidelberg ready to learn and have a good time.

Just like the company, the cooking schools were all fun.  The menus were always delicious, we made our own dinners together under the direction of a chef, twice in Germany and once in Strasbourg, France.  I came home with so many recipes that I’m going to be trying and sharing here over the next few weeks.  I picked the title My Trip to Germany Part 1 because I know there will be more than one post on my trip…  I couldn’t help thinking how many of the recipes I picked up would be perfect for holiday entertaining this year.

The night before we left Heidelberg, we attended our first cooking school at Kochschule Eppelheim, that is where I’m going to leave you for now.  I have a few recipes from that night I want to share, so I’m  going to have to spend some time on that project next week.

Please enjoy a few photos and an apple cake tartlet recipe inspired by my trip to Heidelberg.

One day into Heidelberg and we found ourselves on a guided tour headed up the hill to the Old Heidelberg Castle.  Lucky us, we had gorgeous views of the  Neckar River, Old Stone Bridge and Old Heidelberg as far as the eye could see from the Castle.
Not so mini ancient castle homes dot the hills surrounding Heidelberg castle..  the views that go on forever are one of the rewards after a long steep walk to the top. We took the funicular to the top, so I had to imagine that difficult hike up the hill.
We saw so many layers of history in Heidelberg Castle, from Gothic to Renaissance and everything in between.  At one point in the castle’s history, after being in ruins for many years, it was used as a quarry with stones being taken to build new homes in Heidelberg.  Up here at the top overlooking Heidelberg, there is construction going on everywhere-talk about upkeep on your thousand year old home.  Honey, the moat’s dry and the walls are falling down, time to move to Florida.
Sometimes really old castles just fall down, especially when they’ve been ravaged by the French during the war of succession of the Electorate of the Palatinate, as we learned on our guided tour of Heidelberg.
The second day I was in Heidelberg I discovered a memorial for a synagogue destroyed by the Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938 directly across the street from my room at the Hotel Villa Marstall.  The outline of the walls of the synagogue were set  in white paving stones with 12 cubes with lights, representing the 12 tribes of Israel marking the location of the pews.
I imagine that the best time to explore the cobblestone streets of Old Heidelberg is on a crisp fall day.  The light was beautiful and I noticed fallen leaves collected around the bicycles parked on the streets.  I was really out looking for another slice of apple cake.
I found the picturesque old houses with little modern cars parked in front perfectly wonderful, when can I move in? Notice the tiles, flowers and the shutters, sweet!
Kirsten ordered our special welcome dinner for the first night of our trip at the Gasthaus Backmulde in Heidelberg.  We started with the most flavorful tomato mousse (Tomaten Mousse mit Parmashinken and Rucola), a pork roast plated with house made spatzle, chantrelle mushrooms and spinach, delicious local wines, followed by a slice of apple strudel with a rich vanilla sauce.  This meal was the beginning of some serious wining and dining.
Working up a good appetite for a special dinner is easy to do after a day of exploring Heidelberg. which brings me back to another (closer) look at my apple cake tartlets, followed by the recipe.  Please stay tuned for my trip to Germany part 2 with recipes and photos from my cooking school adventures.

Apple Cake Tartlets and My Trip to Germany Part 1

Yield: 6 apple cake tartlets

Adapted from a recipe for 'Old World Apple Cake' by my mother-in-law Raynee Price's friend Hanne Schatz.

Ingredients

  • for the apples
  • 3 lbs (7-8 apples) Granny Smith Apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 lemon slices, plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to sprinkle on sliced apples
  • for the pastry
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • for tops of tartlets
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, mix the cinnamon and sugar together
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. to make the apples
  2. Peel and slice the apples, sprinkle with tablespoon of lemon juice. Simmer the apple slices in the water with sugar and lemon slices. Cook until just tender, don't overcook as apple slices will become mushy.
  3. Drain off any leftover liquid, cool and remove lemon slices.
  4. preheat the oven to 350F and spray 6 4" tartlet pans with baking spray, place on parchment lined baking sheet
  5. to make the pastry
  6. Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder.
  7. Cut in the 10 tablespoons of butter with pastry blender or hands, until the mixture is crumbly.
  8. Mix in the egg yolks.
  9. Reserve 1 cup of the pastry mixture for the crumb topping.
  10. to put together the apple cake tartlets
  11. Divide up the remaining pastry mixture, evenly press into the bottoms and up the sides of the tartlet pans.
  12. Fill each tartlet with apple slices and top with the reserved pastry (crumb topping) mixture.
  13. Dot each tartlet with butter and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.
  14. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Cool on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  16. Remove the side rings and continue cooling until cool enough to remove the tartlet pan bottoms, continue to cool.
  17. Serve slightly warm, vanilla ice cream would be a good thing.
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Comments

  1. You were on this trip also. How great…except for that darn long flight. We lived in Heidelberg in 68-69 while my husband was in the army. It was absolutely fairytale for us, and my command of the German language made it even more special. Love your photos. Susan

  2. Beautiful pics and lucky you–what a great trip! You’ve put me in an apple cake mood now. :)

  3. I love all of your photos, but am really fond of the bicycles leaning against the wall. It’s full of art and tells a story. Your apple cake tartlets look beautiful and very professional. Makes me want to reach into the screen and take a bite. 11 hour flight??? and here I was whining about a 7+ hour flight from Denver. It was a great trip and very nice meeting you Patty and finding your great blog.

  4. Gorgeous apple tartlets, Patty. Beautiful Heidelberg and I love those old houses….

  5. What a fabulous trip, I love your photos! I haven’t been to Germany (well to the airport, but that doesn’t count ;)) – now I must go! As for these tartlets, I wish I had one in front of me to devour this afternoon!

  6. Patty, I loved going along with you on your adventures, if at least through this post. How I wish I could have been on such a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing the gorgeous apple cake tartlets – it’s a great way to get bring a bit of Germany home. I’m in love with the photos, Patty, just lovely.

  7. GiselaFlores says:

    Love these pictures, Heidelberg is beautiful. I was in Germany last year, but I never made it to Heidelberg. Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to make the apple tarts- They look fantastic! :-)

  8. Just amazing my friend. I can’t believe how pretty and cute it is there. The moat is dry, lol. So awesome, next time you are jetting off on a cooking trip let me know. I can only imagine how good the apple cake was you found, but I know the one you made was delish. I’ll be on the lookout this week for some apples, I have a few strange treats laying around here that need eating first. lol. Welcome home.
    -Gina-

  9. From the stunning photos of your trip to Germany to the lush Apple Cake Tartlets, an irresistible post Patty!

  10. So jealous! What a beautiful place, and I bet the food was amazing. Your apple tartlets look amazing too. :)

  11. Looks like you had a lovely trip. Going to be baking some of these tonight with all my extra apples… thanks for the idea :)

  12. I hardly know where to start with my comments on this beautiful post! Your travel photos are so lovely – you really brought the beauty of Germany home to me. This must be the perfect time of year to travel there. And I’m dying to make those tartlets now, too. They look absolutely delicious!
    Looking forward to reading part 2.

  13. Oh Patty- this was SUCH a fun post. I am so happy for you that you could make such an amazing trip. It sounds absolutely fabulous and I am living vicariously through your posts !!! And your photos are all lovely but that last shot of the apple cake tartlet looks absolutely pro. Great job !!

  14. Just beautiful Patty. You transported me! Ryan and I want to visit Germany badly…his ancestors hail from that country! And these tartlets? Well, you know they make me swoon. Anything with apple and pastry does me over! Thank you for sharing!

  15. What a lovely holiday, Patty! Your photography is beautiful and I enjoyed your narrative on the images. That must be such a fun collaboration enjoying the sights, food, and culture – with a group that is like-minded. So much to talk about and enjoy together.

    I adore these little apple cake tartlets. Had to run through the ingredient list to see if this is something I can make today without having to run to the store! Great size and the crumbly topping is calling me! ;)

  16. Patty – how lovely! (Both the tarts and the trip). I loved following pieces of your journey on instagram. Poor Joe – I think the only parts of Berlin he saw were the three blocks between his hotel and the location his meetings were at…

  17. Patty, what a MARVELOUS trip! With food bloggers? Cooking school? Amazing meals? Color me green. Your photos are amazing…Bill would like Germany to be our next European adventure, so I can’t wait to read more about your visit. And your apple tartlets look spectacular…perfect fall dessert.

  18. What a fabulous trip Patty I’m so jealous, but happy you got to experience such a great trip all centered around food! I love these little tartlets and aall the photos of the country. I can’t wait to go and visit next year when we go see our exchange student and family. Can’t wait for your next post on your trip thanks for sharing :)

  19. This sounds like an amazing adventure, Patty! We’ve been to Germany and Heidelberg years ago…we took a car trip, visiting towns and cities along the Rhine. Your photography is amazing! I’m so jealous of the cooking school experience…so wonderful!
    Your apple cake looks delectable, just like something you would get in a very good pastry shop in Germany! I aspire to be able to take photos like yours! I need a photo class!!

  20. Thanks for sharing the incredible photos and a little history! The story about the synagogue was very moving.

    I could just taste the apple cake tartlets…they look like they would just melt in your mouth! Look forward to more about your trip!

  21. I enjoyed following your adventures on Instagram and now seeing this post, I can see that you had the time of your life. How fun to travel with other like minded folks. Your photos are great. Speaking of great – thse tartlets look they came straight out of a high style bakery – simply magnificent. A MUST MAKE!

  22. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I just LOVED following your trip on IG, Patty. Those photos were so tempting (especially the ones of the cheese!) Now these tartlets-oh, my! Wish you were a little closer to me:))

  23. What a fabulous trip with kindred spirits! Your photos are stunning and love the commentary – you make me smile, “Honey, it’s time to move to Florida” :D I’ll take all the apple tartlets in Heidelberg for one of yours!

  24. I just pulled 3 of these out of our oven..they smell delicious and look positively beautiful….
    I knew when I read the recipe it would be a welcome addition to my apple recipes..Thanks so much..
    Lovely travel photos!

  25. Wow, Patty! What an amazing adventure! I love your photos – we were in Germany in April, but cruised down the Danube River so didn’t see this part – I think we’ll just have to go back. I can’t wait to see the rest of your posts!

    Have a lovely weekend.

  26. Patty your trip sounds wonderful and your photos as well. What a fun adventure. I actually believe I have Michelle’s cookbook. I may have purchased it in Colorado.

    Did you happen to get an apple strudel recipe? If so I hope you share it. Your apple tartelettes look beautiful. I’d love to have one for breakfast.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. Have a great weekend.

    • pattysfood says:

      Thanks Vicki, I didn’t get an apple strudel recipe but I’ll bet Kirsten at My Kitchen in The Rockies has a good one ;)

  27. What a beautiful place and the icing on the cake must have been those cooking classes. If you combine travel and cooking, then it is a marriage made in heaven. I look forward to some of the recipes.

  28. I made the same road trip the first time I visited Germany, ages ago (Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Baden Baden, Strasbourg). Such great memories you brought back! I just love Europe, so much to see, do and eat! The apple tartlets look gorgeous! Can’t beat apples and streusel.

  29. My goodness, how beautiful! I haven’t been to Germany and now want to go even more. I love anything with a streusel topping. Between that and the fact I haven’t had breakfast yet, your apple cake tartlets look irresistible.

  30. I was out of town and crazy with work about the time you posted this Patty so I totally missed it till now. LOVE your photos. I’ve been to Heidelberg and this brought back so many wonderful memories. I grew up on apple kuchen, my family and community was very German, and your apple cakes look very authentic and very delicious. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!

  31. Your photos are so beautiful! And that apple cake looks delicious.

  32. I just pulled these beauties out of the oven! They look almost as pretty as yours! Thanks so much for an easy and delicious recipe!

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