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Apple Ladyfinger Layer Cake with
Cider Buttercream



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Basket of Cider Apples, Pays d'Auge, Normandie (Normandy), France
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Apple Ladyfinger Layer Cake with
Cider Buttercream

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Apple Ladyfinger Layers:
4 eggs, separated and brought to
room temperature
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup peeled grated apple
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) husked hazelnuts,
toasted and ground
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Poached Apple Filling:
3 large apples, peeled, halved and cored
1/2 cup cider
1/2 cup sugar
3 strips lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cider Buttercream:
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into
16 pieces, room temperature
1 tablespoon Calvados
1/4 cup apricot preserves, melted
1/2 cup (3 ounces) hazelnuts,
toasted and chopped

For ladyfinger layers: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking
sheets with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper, shaking off excess.
Draw a 9-inch circle on each. Beat 4 egg yolks with 6 tablespoons sugar until mixture is lemon colored and forms a ribbon. Mix in flour, grated
apple and hazelnuts. Beat 4 egg whites until foamy. Add salt and cream
of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2
tablespoons sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until whites
are stiff but not dry. Gently stir 1/4 of whites into yolk mixture, then fold
yolk mixture back into remaining whites. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tip and pipe out in concentric circles on each baking sheet
so no paper shows through (or divide batter between 2 baking trays and
spread with metal spatula). Bake until layers are just firm to the touch
and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes. Slide off onto rack and
let cool.

For filling
: Chop apples coarsely. Combine cider, sugar and lemon peel
in 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add
apples, cover and poach, stirring occasionally, until tender when pierced
with a fork. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let apples cool com- pletely in liquid.

For buttercream
: Drain apples (reserve liquid) and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Simmer liquid in small saucepan until reduced to about
1/2 cup. Begin beating yolks in medium mixing bowl. Gradually pour in reduced liquid and continue beating until mixture is lemon colored and
forms a ribbon. Add butter 1 piece at a time and continue beating until smooth. Stir in Calvados.

To assemble
: Place 1 ladyfinger layer on rack set over baking sheet.
Brush with preserves. Mix poached apples with 1/4 of cider butter-
cream and spread over ladyfinger layer. Top with second ladyfinger
layer bottom side up. Frost top and sides with remaining buttercream.
Press nuts around sides of cake. Transfer to serving platter and refriger-
ate overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Serves 8.

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