Usually I wouldn't go near anything Christmassy until December 1st, but this week is the last week of the current term of my classes, so I wanted to bake something to go with our early Christmas coffee. One thing I made was Apfelbrot, a staple in our family in the lead-up to Christmas. It is a rustic cake/bread, moister than stollen, lighter than fruit cake and beautifully fragrant.
There are a lot of variations of this, and I have experimented with different nuts - chopped roasted hazelnuts instead of whole ones; almonds; mixed nuts minus the peanuts, as I felt they wouldn't work that well - but here is my aunt's recipe (which I just realised happens to be dairy- and eggfree):
- 750g apples (peeled and grated)
- 250g sugar [I use less, around 200g]
- 250g raisins
- 250g whole hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 dessert spoon dark rum
- 500g flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- Mix the grated apples and the sugar and let stand for at least six hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 for fan-assisted ovens).
- Put the raisins in a sieve or colander, rinse vigorously under a fully opened hot tap and drain.
- Add the raisins, nuts, spices, cocoa and rum to the apples and sugar and mix to combine.
- Mix the flour and baking powder and sift onto the apple mixture. Mix to combine.
- Pour into two medium-sized loaf tins. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
With the oven in our new house we have noticed that everything is cooked much sooner than expected. After years of having an oven where you had to add at least 20 minutes to the given time, this still surprises me every time. So I would advise checking after 45 minutes.
Speaking of preparation, this year I even managed to buy a diary (Moleskine; the price seems to go up every year, but it is the best weekly planner I know of) before January. I am one of those sad people who get antsy and panic when they enter the new year without a diary (and yet I almost always end up leaving it until mid-January). So between the baking and planning ahead to such an extent that I have a planner for planning ahead I feel a bit more ready for the winter months.