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Apple Pound Cake

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Francois Payard's Apple Pound Cake, from 'Simply Sensational Desserts'1/3-cup raisins - 3 tablespoons dark rum, such as Myers's 1 scant cup all-purpose flour - 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened - 1 cup confectioners' sugar - 3 large eggs - 2 apples, such as Fuji or Rome, peeled and cored - 1/4 cup apricot glaze

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2-1/2 -inch loaf pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. Bring a small pan of water to a boil, add the raisins, and boil 1 minute. Drain and repeat the process. Drain the raisins well a second time and place in a small bowl with the rum; stir and set aside.

3. Sift together the flour and baking powder.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix in the raisins and rum. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until blended. Spoon half of the batter into the pan and smooth into an even layer.

5. Cut one apple into 12 wedges and arrange them over the batter, down the center of the pan, so their sides touch and the domed side of each wedge is on top. Spoon the rest of the batter over and around the apples and smooth the top. Cut the other apple into 8 wedges and then cut each wedge in half crosswise. Arrange the wedges in a single row along each long side of the pan, pressing the center-cut sides of the apples against the sides of the pan. There will be two rows of apple slices, with their points toward the center of the pan and exposed batter in the center. Gently push the apples into the batter, leaving the top of the apples exposed.

6. Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Unmold the cake and turn it right side up. Gently brush the apricot glaze over the top of the hot cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting into slices.

from "Simply Sensational Desserts" by François Payard
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHILIPPE L. HOUZÉ © 1999


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