So I was talking to my dear friend the other day about this new life of mine and she said, "So what have you been up to?"
And after a long pause I said, "I have no idea."
And it's true.
I spend a lot of time wandering around.
I sleep and I eat. I haven't accomplished anything major. I write papers sometimes. I talk to strangers who might become friends. And I sit on a blanket at night and look at clouds, and pretend to work. But mostly I just sit and think and dream.
I have discovered something about myself. I'm not really afraid of people. I mean, sometimes I am of course. And everyone has those moments. But in general, I'm way more outgoing than I ever thought I was. Which is really, really great. I feel like I'm finally growing into myself. Which is glorious.
I think it's the rum.
Marie-Helene's Apple Cake
from Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
This is so simple it's really a crime not to make it right this second.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper or nothing if you're lazy like me.
Whisky the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
Peel the apples, cut them in half, and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1-to-2-inch chunks.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so it's evenish.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper and invert it onto the rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.