Apple & Blackberry Custard Croissant Cake

Many years ago I somehow managed to win two mystery weekend flights for two in one week. Young and struggling at the time, my husband and I were so excited, and shared one of the double tickets with my sister and brother-in-law. The mystery location turned out to be Wellington, and the weekend was freezing cold and rainy, but we had a blast. Thirty years later I still remember coming in from the blustery cold, to a little cafe in the city and eating the most delicious apple croissant cake. This probably tastes nothing like the cake of my memory, but the combination of croissants, apples and blackberries cooked in a mellow custard is absolutely beautiful. This cake can be eaten warm with vanilla bean icecream or at room temperature with some whipped cream. Yum.

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3 apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 12 wedges
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp caster sugar

5 good quality croissants, halved
2 cups fresh blackberries or boysenberries
4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 tsp almond essence
1/3 cup flaked almonds
1 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat oven to 160˚C (325˚F) and line the base and sides of a 23cm spring form cake tin. Heat water and sugar in a large frypan over a medium heat and cook apple wedges until the water has absorbed and the apples are tender. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

In a big jug, beat eggs, yolks, sugar, milk and cream until pale. In a separate bowl mix ground almonds with cinnamon (or add almond essence to cream).
Layer a couple of croissants into the prepared tin, covering the base fully. Sprinkle over half the blackberries, apples and almond mix. Layer up with the remaining croissants, apples, blackberries and almonds - and now you can tear the croissants as you wish. Press down gently. Pour the cream, sugar and egg mixture over the croissants, coating everything fully. Leave to stand for an hour. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and sugar and bake for 45 minutes. The custard might puff up a little in the oven, then sink when you remove it - this is fine, it will set into a delicious creamy mix with the croissants. Leave to cool for at least half an hour before serving with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream. Serves 8 - 10.

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