A lot of people want to know: “Does Craig ever cook for you?”
Normally the answer is “no, never, he just likes eating,” but last week the answer became: “Yes, but only when I slice my finger.”
I blame the new peeler. Strangely, since moving to this apartment, I’ve lost not one but two peelers. The first I actually lost lost (it was a Y-shaped peeler, and one of my favorites); the other I accidentally broke when it mysteriously inverted itself so the peeler part was faced inwards and the non-peeling part was faced outwards. Peelers in my kitchen don’t stand a chance.
My newest peeler is from Williams Sonoma and it’s a hardcore peeler. You can merely brush the surface of whatever it is you’re peeling–an apple, a pear, the face of a rival food blogger–and the skin seamlessly slips away. Such was the case when I started peeling apples to make Gale Gand’s apple crumb cake from her very pretty book “Brunch.”
This recipe is astoundingly easy. It’s listed as “Quick Pear Streusel Coffee Cake” (I didn’t have pears so I used apples) and “quick” is the optimal word: in just a few minutes, your house or apartment will smell wonderful. The resulting cake is beautifully moist, cinnamon-y and deeply comforting.
And, as if to prove how easy it is, if you slice your finger while peeling one of the apples? Your non-cook boyfriend can step in to save the day.
While I was bleeding profusely, Craig pinched together the streusel topping. This is his hand sprinkling it over the top:
Asking him now how he felt about helping me make this coffee cake, he offers this inspiring response: “Micromanaged.”
This is the cake that brings people together! Why not micromanage the non-cook in your life and have them whip you up this cake? Just slice your finger, bark orders and enjoy some crumby comfort.
Easy Apple Crumb Cake
from Gale Gand’s “Brunch”
by Gale Gand
For the cake:
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ripe pears (she likes Bartlett) or apples (I like Granny Smith) [she says to leave the pears unpeeled (how ironic!); if you use apples, like I did, you should probably peel them], cored and chopped
For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
To make the cake, combine the flour with the baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the pears, and mix well. Pour this into the buttered baking dish.
To make the streusel, mix the sugar, flour, cold butter, and cinnamon in a bowl by pinching them together with your fingers until well combined. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.
Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is golden and dry on top. Cool in the pan, and then cut into squares. This cake keeps for up to 4 days, covered, at room temperature. Trust me, though: it won’t last that long.