Tag Archives: apple

Apple Raisin Pecan Crisp

apple raisin crisp tastefood

Apple Raisin Pecan Crisp with Calvados Cream ~ 

It’s October, and in my book, that means it’s time for apple crisp. When it comes to a good recipe, I follow the popular adage: If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. A fruit crisp should contain seasonal fruit at it’s peak in flavor, enhanced with a dusting of sugar and spice. The topping should be crisp, crumbly and not cloyingly sweet, allowing the natural sugar of the fruit to shine through. As for the garnish, I prefer the lightness of whipped cream to rich ice cream. I barely sweeten it so it won’t compete with the crisp,  and I always fortify it with a nip of spirits dictated by the fruit of choice.

Apple Raisin Pecan Crisp with Calvados Cream

Serves 8

Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut in pieces
1/2 cup pecans (optional)

Filling:
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut in 3/4-inch chunks
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Calvados Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Calvados Brandy

For the topping: Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in bowl of a food processor. Briefly pulse once or twice to combine. Add the pecans and pulse a few times to break them up in large pieces. Add the butter and pulse until the topping resembles coarse meal. (Topping may be made up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use).

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Combine the apples and raisins in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Transfer fruit to a 9-by-13 inch gratin dish or 8 (3/4 cup) ramekins.  Cover evenly with the topping. Bake in the oven until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 50 minutes for 1 large dish or 40 minutes for ramekins. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with Calvados Cream.

For the Calvados Cream:
Beat cream in the bowl of electric mixer until whisk traces are visible in the cream. Add the sugar and Calvados. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.

Apple Cinnamon Cake with Raisins and Walnuts

apple cake tastefood

~ Apple Cinnamon Cake with Raisins and Walnuts ~

When things get busy and stressful, I head to the kitchen. Mind you, I’m normally in my kitchen anyway, developing and testing recipes, preparing meals for clients, and always making a dinner of some sort. But that’s not what I’m talking about. My to-do list is seemingly endless right now, and this weekend I needed a break. So I put aside my oil splotched recipe notes, shopping lists and white board (yes, I have a white board in my kitchen) and closed my laptop. I  asked my son what I should bake – something sweet, something frivolous, something unplanned. He instantly asked for an apple cinnamon cake I used to bake, and I knew exactly which one he meant. It’s a simple crusty-topped cake studded with fruit and nuts that my kids love and I used to make for afternoon coffee and tea – when I actually used to have afternoon coffee and tea in another life we lived in Europe.

The recipe I used back then was from an old Gourmet magazine and sadly long misplaced or packed. But I remembered seeing a recipe over at Food52 for a classic, popular cake they loved which closely resembled my memory of this cake. That I could find, and here it is:

Apple Cake with Raisins and Walnuts

adapted from Food52 and a distant family memory

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, such as grape seed
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tart apples, peeled, cored, cut in coarse chunks
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins

Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 by 12-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
Beat the oil and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to the batter and mix to combine. Stir in the apples, walnuts and raisins. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. (The flavors will develop once the cake has cooled).
Cut in pieces and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Autumn Apple Tarte Tatin

I can’t believe it’s nearly October, and I haven’t posted a tarte tatin recipe. If you follow this blog, you well know that I love tarte tatins, the upside down-versions of fruit tarts – oodles of caramel required. In the late summer I make tarte tatins with stone fruit, practicing, anticipating the impending fall season with apples and pears. Apple Tarte Tatin is the quintessential version of this inverted squidgy pastry, named, as legend has it, for the French Tatin sisters who forgot to begin with the pastry when assembling their tart. No worries: they slapped it on top and improvised, as all good home cooks do. The result was an upside-down tart with caramelized fruit, poached in a puddle of butter and sugar. Now do you see why I love it?

Apple Tarte Tatin

Serve this rustic dessert garnished with a spoonful of very lightly sweetened whipped cream spiked with a splash of Calvados or Pear Brandy. Serves 8 to 10.

For the Sour Cream Pastry:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream

Apple Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in 4 pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and halved
1 egg, beaten to blend, for glaze

Prepare Pastry:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse once or twice to blend. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add sour cream and pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Pastry may be made one day ahead; refrigerate until use. Pastry dough may also be frozen up to one month in freezer before rolling. Allow to defrost in refrigerator overnight.) Remove pastry from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling out.

Prepare Tart:
Arrange butter in the bottom of large oven-proof skillet with sloping sides (preferably cast iron). Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar evenly over butter and pan. Cook over medium heat until butter melts, the sugar is partially dissolved, and the mixture is bubbling, about 2 minutes.  Arrange apples closely together, core-side up, in a circular pattern in the skillet. If necessary, cut remaining apples in quarters to fill in the spaces. Sprinkle apples with 2 tablespoons sugar. Set skillet over medium-high heat. Boil until a thick amber coloured syrup forms, turning the skillet to ensure even cooking, about 25 to 30 minutes.
While the apples are cooking on the stove, heat oven to 425 F. Roll out pastry on parchment paper to a round shape to fit size of skillet. Return the dough and parchment to refrigerator until apples are caramelized. When ready, remove skillet from heat. Working quickly, lay pastry over apple mixture and peel away the parchment (the heat from the apples will begin to melt the pastry). Cut 3-4 slits in pastry. Brush pastry with some of the egg glaze.

Bake tart until pastry is deep golden brown and firm when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and cool on rack one minute. Gently loosen the edge of the pastry around the skillet with a thin spatula. Place a serving platter over the skillet. Quickly invert the tart onto the platter, using oven mitts. If any of the apples or caramel remain in the pan, scrape it out and arrange over the tart. Cool tart slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

If you like this, you might enjoy these recipes:
Apple Cranberry Crisp from TasteFood
Apple Honey Challah from Smitten Kitchen
Pear Clafoutis from TasteFood
Spiced Pear Muffins from the Kitchn

Apple Bran Muffins

I rarely bake muffins, but when I do, I try to make them healthy. Muffins are often mini-cakes, packed with sugar and fat, which to some extent can’t be avoided if you wish to eat a muffin that doesn’t resemble a hockey puck or bird food. To compensate, I try to reduce the sugar and fat and add healthy grains, cereal, fruit and nuts. Today I had a request for homemade muffins from my son who is home sick from school. Since he hasn’t had much of an appetite, I couldn’t resist trying to whip up a batch of Apple Bran Muffins. They are reasonably healthy for a muffin, while sufficiently naughty to indulge a craving for something moist and sweet.

This is a recipe that is inspired by one I have used from Ina Garten in the past. While she incorporates bananas into her muffins, I have substituted grated apple for sweetness and moistness. I like to make mini-muffins, which are better sized for snacking.

Apple Bran Muffins
Makes approximately 20 mini-muffins

1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup grated apple, packed
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place paper liners into a mini-muffin tin. Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. With the mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add the molasses and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix to combine.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix. Fold in the raisins, apple and walnuts, if using. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them. Bake in the oven until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. (If using a large muffin tin, baking time will be longer, about 30 minutes.)

Pork Rillettes with Calvados and a recipe for Apple Prune Chutney

 Charcutepalooza Challenge #10: Stretching
Pork Rillettes with Calvados 

These little pots of meaty goodness promise to make right in the world. Rillettes are potted jars and terrines of meat confit, slow cooked in fat, shredded and packed in more fat. Rustic, unctuous and oh-so-rich, a little dab goes a long way. Which is why the process of making rillettes is called “stretching,” which is this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge.

Stretching is an economical and sparing way of making meat last – using all of the last bits and preserving them for later use. It’s a method steeped in conservation and frugality, yet its results are rich and luxurious. It’s the paradox of French country cooking, and it’s why I love it.

Duck, goose and pork are traditional proteins for rillettes. I chose pork and adapted a recipe from WrightFood where the pork is spiced and marinated overnight in Calvados, then slowly cooked in duck fat. Need I say more?

~
I like to accompany rillettes with fruit chutney. The sweet piquancy of chutney adds a fresh balance to the rich meat. Chutneys are flexible and forgiving. Use a mix of fresh and dried fruit, combined with an acid, such as vinegar or citrus. Sweet and savory with a kick, chutneys are perfect accompaniments to meat and poultry.

Apple Prune Chutney
Makes about 2 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 large shallot, chopped, about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted prunes
1/3 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Armagnac
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon finely ground juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add apples and shallot. Sauté until beginning to soften without browning, 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until liquid has nearly evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until use. May be made up to 2 days in advance. (Flavors will develop with time.)

What is Charcutepalooza?
An inspirational idea hatched by Cathy Barrow and Kim Foster and partnering with Food52 and Punk Domestics. It celebrates a Year in Meat, where participating foodies and bloggers will cure, smoke and salt their way through Michael Ruhlman’s bestselling cookbook Charcuterie.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

~ Apple and Cranberry Crisp with Calvados Cream ~

If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it. Sage advice in life and the kitchen, and very relevant to this fruit crisp. A good fruit crisp (or crumble – I go both ways) should contain seasonal fruit at it’s peak in flavor, subtley enhanced with a dusting of sugar and spice. The topping should be crisp and crumbly (see why I go both ways?) without being cloyingly over-sweet, allowing the fruit to shine through. I like to serve crisps with whipped cream, ever so lightly sweetened and fortified with a nip of spirits dictated by the fruit of choice. Everything works together, and when you have a recipe that encourages this, don’t mess with it. I love this crisp, and I think you will too.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

I used walnuts for this crisp, but feel free to switch them for hazelnuts, almonds or pecans, depending on the fruit you use. For this crisp I used apples given to me from a friend’s tree – my guess is they are Honeycrisp – and Granny Smith which I like for baking. Serves 8.

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut in pieces
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

For the filling:
8 large baking apples, peeled, quartered, cut in 3/4 inch chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries or 1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in bowl of a food processor. Briefly pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until topping resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in walnuts. (Topping may be made up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until use).

Combine apples and cranberries in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; toss to combine. Transfer fruit to a 9-by-13 inch baking pan, gratin dish or individual ramekins.  Cover evenly with the topping. Bake in oven until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 50 minutes. (If using individual ramekins, the baking time will be shortened to about 40 minutes). Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with Calvados Cream.

Calvados Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Calvados Brandy

Beat cream in bowl of electric mixer until whisk traces are visible in the cream. Add sugar and Calvados. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.