“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Martin Luther
During the years of baking and storytelling the tale of my baking past has coloured many of my creations…how baking connected me to my roots, how did the smell of fresh bread stole my heart, how did I watch my fairy grandmothers bake… but some personal touches and details slipping, has always made the story somewhat incomplete….Throughout that cold December week just before Christmas, baking happened to be a daily activity in the mornings, to – just as always – get ready for the festive season with a luxurious array of sweet treats… During that week, one particular movement, mixed with the smell and taste turned out to be the point from what onward I couldn’t imagine living a week anymore without the power of creating that experience. She was baking a simple apple sponge. As she whisked a cheeky dice of apple wanted to escape the heat of the oven, but Grandma -like she was floating on air – turned and gently guided it back to her ceramic bowl. Her movement smelt like cinnamon. I was only little, and my gorgeous Grandma didn’t know it, but then my lifelong passion with the scent, appearance and flavour of baked goods was born. The old kitchen with its fire-heated stove became my favourite place to be and I was mesmerized by watching the grand lady bake. I hardly missed a bit, and growing into having my own place next to her, meant touching the sparkle of the magic from up close. Baking was always my favourite part of her kitchen chores, for many reasons…She truly glowed when she baked. Her feet were above the ground, and she told tales without saying a word… I usually got a little piece of dough to play with when she baked, and oh my, wasn’t it special… And she baked. She baked endlessly. Breads, scones, cresents, strudel, pies, rolls….just baked. Great -great grandmothers’, aunts’ and godmothers’ secret recipes shared place with her relentless energy and flawless simplicity in the kitchen. When baking, ever since, I am still quest for finding the enchanted world of her kitchen. Every single bake takes me back in time, and every slice of almond, every dusting of flour, every drop of apple juice and every cracking of an egg takes me one step closer to unlocking the secret…The secret, that I am convinced is really just a very simple but precise formula of mixing love and devotion. Unless she had an army of invisible elves helping her, that is also possible… Grounding walnuts, sprinkling apple with cinnamon, watching the cake rise and turning gold in the oven, all moments that can mould one’s mind and heart into one big pot of sugar…just so all out there can be aware…
Ingredients: 170 g butter, 3 eggs, a(250 ml)mug sugar, one and a half (250 ml) mug of plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, zest of one lemon, 1 tsp cinnamon, a pinch of salt, 3 apples (peeled, cored and diced)
Method: whisk the eggs with the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt until shiny and homogeneous. Finally fold in the dices apple gently and bake in a lined 20×30 cm tin. Serve with a with a dusting of sugar.
“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” Robert H. Schuller