LOVELY AUTUMN: Baking A Caramel Apple Cake with Chris Thomas

I met Chris Thomas (owner/pastry chef at Brick House Kitchen) on Instagram, and through our mutual love of food and (specifically apples) we collaborated to bring you 3 amazing recipes with apples to welcome Autumn.  It all began with the idea to bake a Caramel & Apple Cake, of course I don’t anything about baking apple cakes so, Chris taught me!  The day evolved from originally baking one great cake to bringing you (lovers of Autumn baked goods) 3 awesome and easy recipes!  These recipes are from Chris’s own recipe box (she claims they are easy and not a big deal).  Well, Chris they may not be super complicated for professionals but for us normal home cooks-they are a big deal and very appreciated.  Thanks for sharing your recipes and your time for this fun project!  I had an absolute blast and enjoyed every moment of this project!

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Chris Thomas has been working her wonders in the kitchen for over 40 years and her family (3 generations worth of them) have been involved in the restaurant/food scene in Charleston since the 1970’s.  Her father opened their first restaurant on King St and since that time they have had an array of locations throughout the low country.  The family run legacy is now located on James Island (Folly Rd) and is called Brick House Kitchens.  There she works along side 2 of her children who are also involved with the business.  The restaurant is tucked away, among large Oak trees draped with spanish moss in a large converted, old brick double story house.  The eclectic feel of the restaurant (parlor seating, porch seating and out door seating) has a personality all of its own, and is relaxed and fun.  They serve mostly vegatiarian dishes (along with some fish and seafood).  When in season they have nightly oyster roasts and occasional music in the out door patio.  The second floor of the restaurant is available for more intimate gatherings (wine/cheese/dessert get togethers, baby showers etc…).  Its a fun spot, and I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.  There is nothing in Charleston like it.

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Granny Smith Apple Pie:

(Upon arriving for our bake day, Chris had already prepared the pie crusts, so those were ready to go.  If you don’t know how to make pie crust, then I suggest goggling an easy to make recipe or cheat and buy a pre made one from the grocery store.)  This recipe is for a double batch-makes 2 pies:)

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What you will need for 2 pies:

  • 2 pie crusts
  • About 15 granny smith apples (cut up into slices with skin still on)
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • spice combo to be aded to syrupy sauce (a pinch of ginger, a bigger pinch of cinnamon, mini pinch of nutmeg)
  • to make crumble topping: 1 stick of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup of flour.  Crumb and mix together

What you will do:

  • preheat oven to 375 f
  • cut up apples into slices with skin intact, soak in water until ready to touch with saucey syrup
  • to make saucy apple syrup: mix flour, sugar, spice combo together and then coat the apples and lightly toss to make sure the apples are well coated
  • pour apples into unbaked pie crusts, sprinkle with crumble topping
  • bake about 1 hour, 15 min. Check periodically, pies may be done sooner or later (should be goldeny brown on top!)
  • allow to cool fully, serve open faced with vanilla ice cream-WOW!

 

Apple Fritters

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What you will need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup (plus alittle more) milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vegtable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 apples
  • As Chris puts it: the holy trinity of autumn spices (2 dashes of ginger, 3 dashes of cinnamon, half a dash of nutmeg)
  • skillet to fry/vegetbale oil for the skillet (about 1-1 1/2 inch deep oil in skillet)
  • small skillet to cook apples

What you will do:

  • lightly cook the apples (sliced with no skins) in a small skillet with the holy trinity of autumn spices.  Do not cook long, just enough to soften them up.
  • in small bowl mix together the milk, vegetable oil and 2 eggs (give a little stir and mix but do not beat, then add apples)
  • in another bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt
  • combine both bowls and lightly mix
  • heat skillet with oil on high heat, once hot, begin to drop in batter to skillet and turn once medium to deep golden brown color
  • once fried well on both sides, remove from oil and allow to cool on plate with paper towel and lightly coat with powdered sugar, eat and enjoy!!!!

 

Apple & Caramel Cake

(VERY IMPORTANT CAKE BAKING TIP FROM CHRIS: to avoid having cakes that sink, make sure the sugar is fully incorporated in the oil and egg mixture. She really stressed this like 3 times…so I will listen.  She’s the pro and thats why I went there in the first place)!

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What you will need for the cakes (this is a double recipe):

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups vegtable oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • holy trinity of autumn spices (1/2tsp ginger, 1 dash nutmeg, 1 1/2tsp cinnamon)
  • 5 apples (or about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • (2) 9 inch cake pans
  • parchment paper

What you will do:

  • in bowl mix together dry ingredients
  • in mixer add sugar, oil and eggs (let the mixer go on low for awhile)
  • slowly add 1 cup of dry mix at a time to mixer (on low speed) then continue adding cup after cup, slowly to allow mix to get into the fold.  Add apples (which are cut into cubes about 1 x 1 or so, with skins still on).
  • once well mixed together add the pecans and give 2 good turns with a spoon by hand to mix in nuts
  • cut parchment paper to fit in bottom of cake pans
  • pour cake batter between cake pans
  • bake at 375 f. about 45min or so.  You will know the cakes are done when the sides have begun to pull away from the pan edges and the center springs back when lightly touched.

Caramel sauce

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What you will need:

  • 1/2 pound of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

What you will do:

  • melt sugar and butter, stirring with whisk on med/high heat, once well melted add cream
  • continue to whisk (total about 5 minutes(ish).  Do not taste, you will burn your tongue (horrific, awful burn).

 

After cake has cooled some, pour carmel all over top of cake and allow to drizzle or drip off the edge of the cakes:)

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