That Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake I made last week was so easy and delicious that I’ve made another one already! The surprising and somewhat unexpected reason why it has been such a winner around here however, is the fact that it doesn’t call for cinnamon. You see, cinnamon is not something my entire family agrees on and probably never will. Its not like we come to blows over it but my Persian in-laws just don’t think of it as the fall/winter dessert treat that we more Anglo types do. In their neck of the woods cinnamon is more commonly used as an ingredient in savory dishes such as Loubia Polo, a tomato cooked rice with beef and green beans. Without the presence of sugar (and perhaps nutmeg) cinnamon takes on a nearl completely different and exotic flavor profile. The Persian palate just doesn’t connect to cinnamon at dessert time. (Doost na daraand!) As far as we’re concerned here in Western Culture, the spice is the hallmark of so many fall desserts and apple dishes in particular that it is hard to think of any apple dessert without it. I stopped making desserts with cinnamon in the interest of family harmony and that pretty much wiped out the apple repertoire. Enter: Marie-Hélène.
Many of my fellow Dorista’s (the name I coined for those of us committed to either baking or cooking our way through her various books) resolved their cognitive dissonance over the cake’s lack of cinnamon by just, well, adding it into the recipe anyway! Some of them even added a dash cinnamon’s fall cousin, nutmeg and a crumble! I personally thought these well meaning Doristas were missing the whole point of this dessert’s simple appeal. Then I read of one Dorista’s more elegant solution: serve it with a scoop of David Lebovitz’ cinnamon ice cream! I knew immediately that I had to make not only a batch of this but also another one of Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cakes to accompany it. Everyone could have what they wanted once again! And I did witness my mother-in-law pushing the scoop off her plate to a willing receiver seeking seconds! Family harmony once again!
Cinnamon Ice Cream