Back when I was researching the possibility of going to cooking school, I ran across this quaint culinary school in Ireland, Ballymaloe Cookery School. (Just the name of it gives me warm fuzzies...) A college friend of mine had recently done a series of course there, so it seemed feasible to me at the time. I dreamed of living in one of their cottages, rooming with another zealous culinary artist or two. I would wake up with my fellow classmates early each morning with the first light, and help pick the fresh, organic produce from the garden as the dewy drops hung in suspension still from the leaf tendrils. We would spend countless hours in the kitchen every day learning how to make bread dough rise just so, the exact ratio of flour and sugar to produce the perfect cake, how to cook a beef tenderloin to medium-rare, a myriad of new vegetable combinations for delicious salads I had never thought of before....and that would be just the beginning! The simiplicity was its charm. Every dish would be created using the simplest of ingredients -- nothing unnecessary and all well-balanced.
But the reality of distance and finances hang over my head (maybe some day), so I am resigned to making Ballymaloe dishes in my own kitchen using Myrtle Allen's, The Ballymaloe Cookbook. Forgive me if I speak in an Irish accent when I ask for the flour off the shelf....
In an attempt to use up some more of my never-ending basket of apples, I made this delicious breakfast pastry.
Irish Apple Cake
1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. + 1 T. brown sugar
approx. 1/2 c. milk
2 cooking apples
Mix flour and baking powder together. Cut butter into pieces and mix in flour by hand until it resembles course crumbs. Add 1/2 c. sugar, beaten egg and enough milk to make a soft dough. Divide in two. Roll out one ball of dough and place in the bottom of a pie dish. Cut apples into chunks or slices, arrange on top of dough in dish and sprinkle with 1 T. of sugar. Roll out second ball of dough and place on top of apples, pinching down the sides. Cut vents on top. Bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Easy as pie. :-)