Apple Cockaigne on Halloween


Did I scare you?

So, I really wanted to use Halloween as an occasion to make apple desserts .. I’m seeing an apple cake with open-faced layers of apple slices. And so I flipped through a bunch of recipes and thought I’d give apple cockaigne a try. Why is it called cockaigne? The only clue we’re given is that the word means an imaginary land of luxurious and idle living .. mmm, like an apple paradise. That’s somewhere I can sail away to, with or without the broomstick.

Oh yes, that’s my makeshift hat for my Willy Wonka costume. It didn’t really stay on my head very well, but I had fun making it. Thankfully a friend saved my costume by lending me her velvet top hat.

Apple Cockaigne Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking

The pastry resembles a pie, so you don’t have to work it too much. Also, using an 8″8 pan seemed just enough to make about 9 segments. I also reduced the amount of topping because there was a lot of brown sugar that just kind of sat on top of the apple slices. Afterall, it’s that gorgeous apple fan I’m going for. And to make it a little bit more interesting, I added some ginger to the topping.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbspn butter, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla
  • approx 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups sliced apples


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. To make the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the crumbled butter and work the dough like how you’d make pie pastry — according to Joy of Cooking, that means working the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter so that the flour resembles coarse cornmeal. I think the reason why pastry cutters are used for pie dough is to minimize the handling of the dough, which will result in a tender, flakier crust.
  3. In another bowl, beat together the egg, vanilla, and enough milk to make a 1/2 cup mixture, and gradually add to the flour to make a stiff dough. At this point, you should be able to form a ball of dough with your hands.
  4. Flatten the dough onto the greased pan with a spoon, pushing it out evenly toward the edges.
  5. Closely place the apple slices in overlapping rows on top.
  6. To prepare the topping, combine all its ingredients and mix well with a fork. Sprinkle it on top, but don’t bury the apple pie beneath — you should still be able to see the slices.
  7. Bake away for 25 minutes. The juice of the apple will bubble around the edges, and the cake is really good warmed. If it’s being served later on, the cake can always be re-heated in the oven with some foil over top for about 10 minutes on the lowest oven setting — I think that’s 180°F

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