In Denmark this is called a cake, but it’s really more like a trifle, with layers of whipped cream and crushed cookies on a base of caramelised apple purée. Whatever you call it, it’s light and delicious and easy to make. You can also double the recipe and make it in a large bowl, trifle-style, but don’t assemble it until just before serving, as the cookies will lose their crunch. This recipe makes about 20 large cookies and you won’t need them all for the topping, so you’ll have some left over for snacking and lunch boxes. If you have been saving your scraped vanilla bean pods this is the perfect way to use them up. Otherwise, just use a whole fresh one, slitting it and scraping the seeds over the apples.
Dessert apples 1.8 kg (4 lb), firm and not too sweet
Scraped vanilla pods 2
Marzipan 200 g (7 oz)
Sugar 400 g (14 oz)
Large egg whites 3
Plain flour 12 g (. oz)
Baking powder . teaspoon
Double cream 360 ml (12. fl oz)
- The filling needs to chill, so make it first: Peel, quarter and core the apples. Put the apples in a large, heavy pan. Place the vanilla pods on top. Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the apples are lightly browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Caramelising the apples brings out their sweetness without any added sugar. It’s okay if some of them scorch a tiny bit.
- Stir the apples, scraping the browned surfaces from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened into a chunky purée, 45 to 60 minutes. If the apples start to stick or scorch, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and stir to loosen them. Let the apples cool a bit, then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan) with the racks in the top third and centre of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with baking paper.
- Crumble the marzipan into a food processor. Add the sugar and process until well combined. Transfer to a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in the egg whites one at a time, making sure each white is incorporated before adding another. Beat until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour and baking powder just until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the marzipan into a medium bowl using the large holes of a box grater and stir in the sugar.
- Scrape the cookie batter into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 12 mm (½ inch)tip or a large zip-top plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe out 5 cm (2 inch) mounds of the batter, leaving about 7.5 cm (3 inches) between them. The cookies will spread in the oven. Bake until golden brown and crackly, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets. They will fall and crack, but that’s okay, as they will be crumbled later. Don’t try to remove the cookies from the baking paper until they have cooled completely or they will stick and break.
- Whip the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed just until it thickens and begins to form soft peaks. It should be slightly fluid, not stiff and fluffy.
- Divide the apple sauce among 6 serving bowls and top with the whipped cream on the opposite side. Coarsely crumble 1 or 2 cookies over each serving. Serve immediately. Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Extracted from Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi
(Ebury Press, £27)
Photography by Ditte Isager
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Downtime: Deliciousness at Home