I acknowledge that this is the second loaf cake that I have posted here in less than a month. The last one, a pear and dark chocolate gem, is perfect as a special occasion treat. While it might look understated, it is a knockout filled with chunks of dark chocolate nestled in a brown butter cake batter. This blackberry apple cake, on the other hand, is for snacking. It’s amazing how two cakes that look so similar can be made up of such different ingredients. While I certainly love making indulgent desserts every once in a while, it’s way more essential for me to have somewhat healthy, homemade snacks that I can eat throughout the day. Every day between meals, I may eat some pickles, nuts, or squares of dark chocolate (sometimes all within the same snacking session). But, the best weeks are when I have prepared something like this blackberry apple snacking cake. It’s a perfect sweet treat that feels extra special and indulgent but that I know is actually made up of pretty great ingredients.
I have been on quite the breakfast food journey over the past couple of years. Until about three years ago, I never ate anything but cold, sugary cereal for breakfast. Everything changed when I tried this oatmeal for the first time and the joy of eating something warm and a little more wholesome and filling in the morning was introduced to me. Even though I still love oatmeal, trying my first acai bowl in Hawaii last March put me on a whole new path. This past summer, eating a cold, refreshing smoothie bowl was almost all that I wanted to eat every morning. Recently though, when I wake up, our apartment is pretty cold and I am craving warm food again. One of the things I love about smoothie bowls is the contrast between super smooth blended fruit and the various crunchy things I sprinkle generously over the top. I am always mixing various seeds, nuts and other bits that I have in my cupboard over the bowl (I also do this with my oatmeal, but the contrast in texture isn’t so obvious). While I find myself firmly back in the oatmeal wagon, I thought that having a smoothie-esque wintery breakfast bowl would also be great to have in my arsenal: this warm applesauce breakfast bowl is it.
Last week, I was brainstorming what I could bring to a Thanksgiving potluck as dessert and my boyfriend just kept repeating “What about apple pie?”. In the end, the idea grew on me and I went straight to researching all sorts of different pies. The closest I have ever come to making a pie before was when I made a strawberry galette, last summer. After reading about countless different types of apple and other fruit pies I made a couple of key decisions. First, I wanted a simple, flaky crust but only on the bottom. I saw a bunch of pies that had a crumble topping and I thought it was genius: you get buttery pastry and a crunchy, nutty top? Definitely the best of both worlds. Also, so that I wouldn’t have to use too much sugar I decided to use both tart and sweet apples in the filling, spiced with some nutmeg and cinnamon. Lastly, because I wanted to put a little twist on things, I decided I wanted to put rosemary throughout the pie: in the crust, topping and filling. I love rosemary and apples (actually I love rosemary with fruit and in desserts, generally)! And that’s how this rosemary apple pie was born.
It really feels like autumn here now. The trees are golden, the apples and pears have taken over the markets, and there is a clean, crisp feeling to the air. Today we went to see the larches. They look like coniferous trees but turn yellow at the end of September. I’ve heard a lot about how beautiful they are, which made me vaguely skeptical as to whether they would live up to all of the hype, but they were truly spectacular. A bright blue sky against the golden larches is a new autumn memory for me. In retrospect, these muffins would have been the perfect snack to bring along on the hike. They are everything I want this time of the year: warm spices, tart apples, and a sweet treat. On top of everything, these healthy breakfast apple muffins are golden too, coloured by my apparent new obsession, turmeric.