Thursday, September 30, 2010

Learning to Invert: Apple Sponge Pudding

I guess you could call it a trifecta. Three great apple recipes in succession to celebrate our wonderful friend, the apple. I love apple season and the vast array of apple varieties and products that we can choose from this time of year. I like trios too and there are three reasons why I chose to make this dish. One, it completes the apple series. Two, the Mennonite Community Cookbook says it is "very old" and the older I get, the more respect I have for the aged treasures among us. Three, the last step in the recipe is to invert the baked product. Inversion is a lovely idea and one I have been attempting to practice.

This dish was fun. I'm warning you though, it's a heavyweight in the sugar department. But it was awesome to make. My favorite part was the final step. After baking this creation, I slipped a knife around the edges, procured the largest platter in the house, and inverted. It was spectacular underneath. The apples neatly laid in a row, surrounded by soft crust with a brown sugar syrup oozing around it. "Come look" I yelled, "it's beautiful!" And delicious, delectable, and different, since we are honoring all things trinitarian.

But back to inverting. When I am in a conflict, my husband advises me to try this. "Invert" he says, "always invert." This is engineer speak for trying to see things from another point of view. Sage advice. Before I criticize or grumble about someone I try to think how the situation might look from his/her perspective. What we find, when we invert, helps us grow and can give us pause, lest we judge. It is an intentional action, to turn our own thoughts upside-down. So, like my apple sponge dish, I can look at the part not readily seen and appreciate the view from another vantage point. We don't have to agree but we can try to understand. We might catch a glimpse of someone else's reality.

Here is the very old recipe from the Mennonite Community Cookbook:

6 medium apples, sliced
2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 T butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Make batter by stirring together beaten egg yolks and sugar.
Mix dry ingredients together and add to the batter alternately with water and vanilla.
Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Melt butter and brown sugar in the bottom of a glass 13x 9 pan.
Add sliced apples.
Pout batter over top of apples.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Run knife around outside edges and INVERT!
Serve with cream or ice cream.

This recipe was adapted from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).

Wishing you some upside-down goodness,


  1. Thank you for the recipe and your take on it as a way to deal with conflict. Great tool to enhance relationships.

  2. I just tried this recipe yesterday. I noticed it in my 1974 printing of the the Mennonite Community Cookbook and thought is looked similar to German Apple Pancakes. I have a recipe for that similar to what is made at the Original Pancake House. I agree with your edit on lowering the sugar. My edition called for 2 cups of brown sugar and I just couldn't force myself to use that much. The brown sugar came out a little crunchy in my version so I decided to look around Google to see if anyone else had made it. Your blog was the first hit. Do you heat the brown sugar until it melts? I wonder if that is where I went wrong.
    A German Apple Pancake has the same layers, but doesn't use separated egg whites and there are more eggs, and milk instead of the water. Comes out more like a custard than this airy batter. Both are good - just different.