I really love rye flour. If rye flour were an actor it would be Jimmy Stewart. If it were a garment of clothing it would be a well-worn cashmere sweater. If rye flour were a sitcom it would be Father Ted. And as much as I'm slightly alarmed that I'm sitting here, quite seriously dreaming up these analogies, I really do feel that its praise is overdue.
Two of my all-time favourite recipes use rye flour - the brownies previously mentioned, and an apple cake that first appeared (once again) in Dan Lepard's column in The Guardian. On Monday, for no good reason, I decided to bake them both - a rye-fest. One of my principal reasons for loving this flour is that you don't need to sift it. And the cake is prepared almost entirely in the saucepan - you melt the butter, sugar and some golden syrup over a low heat, then bung everything else in for a quick stir before putting it in a loaf tin, sprinkling some flaked almonds and demerrara sugar on top, and it's good to go.
This baby has never let me down - and I'm not the only person who basks in its reflected glory. If you go onto Dan's website, there are pages and pages of eulogies to the Rye Apple Cake, plus endless photo's of its golden loveliness. So here it is - not the most luscious photo, as most of it was eaten before I got around to snapping it. But you'll get the gist, I'm sure.