In the second half of our conversation with Joan Nathan, we asked her for a suggestion for a Chanukah dessert and the author of Quiches, Kugels, and Cous Cous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France instantly offered up gâteau de Hannouka, an apple cake made with oil instead of butter. Turn the page for the recipe.
Gâteau de Hannouka
From: Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels, and Cous Cous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France
Makes: 8-10 servings
1 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing pan
5 apples (3 Fuji and 2 Granny Smith, or any combination of sweet and tart apples), peeled, cored, and cut into ½- inch pieces (about 6 cups)
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
¹⁄3 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¹⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
¼ teaspoon almond extract
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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a Bundt pan or a 9- by-13- inch baking pan. Toss the apples in a large bowl with the zest and juice of the lemon, the walnuts, and the cinnamon.
2. Pulse together the flour, baking powder, salt, almonds, and 1¼ cups of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. With the food processor running, add the eggs, oil, and almond extract, processing until just mixed.
3. Spoon 1/3 of the batter over the bottom of the pan. Scatter the apples on top, and cover the apples with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (you'll need less if using a Bundt pan).
4. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. The cake will take a shorter time to bake in the shallow rectangular pan than in the Bundt pan.