Apple Upside-Down Cornmeal Cakes
You may want to double this recipe—the apple-walnut topping and whipped cream make these cakes disappear fast.
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces, plus additional for greasing
3 Gala apples
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (1 3/4 oz)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup whole milk
Special equipment: a muffin pan with 6 (1-cup) muffin cups
Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425*F. Butter muffin cups. Peel and core apples, then cut into 1/3-inch dice. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook apples, brown sugar, and lemon juice, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a glaze and apples are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in walnuts and divide apple mixture among muffin cups.
Pulse together flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Whisk together egg and milk in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a cake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
Run a paring knife around edge of each cake to loosen. Invert rack over muffin cups, then invert cakes onto rack. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.
Photo: Romulo Yanes