Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis

March 8, 2014

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Have mercy! Is it the weekend yet? I’ve got just the perfect weekend lazing around and drinking early brunch dish for you. A Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis! Wowzers right?!! A clafoutis is a french dessert that consists of baked fruit (usually cherries) in a flan like batter. I found this wonderful whiskey splashed Irish twist on that classic French dish over at Edible Ireland  (love that site! – great recipes, beautiful photography – what more could you want)and just couldn’t wait to make it. (as if the weekend could mosey on up any slower…)

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Now I know of few of you folks out there are probably smirking and thinking “Yeah, so much for her lazy weekend if she was making some sort of French thing, which you just know has to be time-consuming, complicated and annoying!” Oh I am so happy to say that you would be wrong. This dish, impressive – yet rustic – as it looks was quite easy to make and delicious to boot!

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But if you’re still being a doubter, perhaps you would perk up a bit knowing that you can make the apple caramel mixture up the night before. That way when the weekend arrives, you won’t have to spend one more extra precious moment than necessary “slaving away” in the kitchen. You just heat the apples up, mix up the batter, add the apples in and pop it into the oven . Easy peasy. Then you can just sit around sipping your mimosa (or Buck’s Fizz). Before you know it that decadent brunch treat will be ready and your weekend will be off to a fantastic whiskey-caramel-apple-y start!

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Caramel Apple & Irish Whiskey Clafoutis

recipe from: Edible Ireland

Ingredients:

for the batter:

  • 80 g (2/3 cup) flour
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder (optional – but it will keep the clafoutis from sinking as quickly when removed from the oven)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100 g (6 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for the apples:

  • 30 g (2 tablespoons) butter
  • 4 crisp eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Butter a 25 cm (10 inch) pie plate or cast iron skillet or large individual ramekins.

To make the caramel apples, melt a knob of butter in a large pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s sizzling, reduce the heat to medium and tip in the apples, sugar and cinnamon, stirring to coat the apples in the butter and sugar. Cook the apples for about 5 minutes, until they have softened and the sugar has turned syrupy. Keep warm.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla. Pour half of the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until it looks like a paste, then add in the rest of the liquid, whisking until the batter is smooth and well blended. (Alternatively, you could just place all the batter ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.)

Place the pie plate or skillet on a baking sheet to catch any drips when the clafoutis is cooking in the oven. Pour in the batter, then using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the plate or skillet, leaving as much of the caramel sauce in the pan as you can and making sure the apples are evenly distributed. Bake the clafoutis in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is puffed up and golden brown and the centre is set.

About 5 minutes before the clafoutis is done, reheat the caramel in the pan to loosen it again, then stir in the whiskey and allow to cook for 1 or 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Serve the clafoutis warm with the caramel whiskey sauce drizzled over.

*If you’ve had a “whiskey incident” and know you couldn’t smell, much less taste whiskey first thing in the morning, switch it out for some brandy or calvados.

** This is also a great dessert recipe. Just imagine serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with that caramel whiskey sauce. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread

December 8, 2012

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I know, I know. We’re getting close to the Christmas season and this Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread does have more of a Fall vibe to it, what with the apples and all. At least that is what you might think until you taste it. Then you will come to the realization that I did. This bread is so addictively delicious that it is appropriate, no…perhaps even required, any season of the year! Pull just one of the gooey, cinnamony, caramely, appley slices off  while it’s still warm from the oven and take a bite. You’ll see. It’s like one of those decadent cinnamon rolls, ‘cept better! And believe me, you won’t be able to stop with just one of the slices. No sir-ee. Before you know it, you’ll look down and find the loaf half gone and notice your britches seem to have suddenly shrunk as the top button pops off and shoots across the room. (I hear that fabric does tend to shrink when it gets colder.)

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It looks as though this recipe might be hard to make, what with all the steps, but it really comes together very easily. You don’t even have to worry about how you throw the cut dough pieces into the pan either. The bread is supposed to have that jumbled, rustic appearance. Not to mention, the basic Pull-Apart Bread of this recipe can be customized as well. Theresa at Craving Chronicles made a Peach Cinnamon & Brown Butter version. While Tracey at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures baked up a Cinnamon Sugar loaf. Get creative and come up with your own version. But you’ve gotta make this bread. And soon! You won’t be sorry!

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Caramel Apple Pull-Apart Bread

recipe from: Alaska from Scratch

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/4 cup or more, if needed)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the Apple Filling:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and diced

For the Caramel Glaze:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

To the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5-8 minutes until foamy.

In a microwave-safe dish, heat milk and butter together until butter is just melted. Add vanilla to the mixture and set aside.

Add flour, sugar and salt on top of the yeast mixture in mixing bowl. Turn mixer on low and add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Slowly stream the milk/butter/vanilla mixture into the bowl until a soft dough forms. Add extra flour by the tablespoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Turn mixer up to medium and knead the dough for 3 minutes. Remove dough from mixer bowl and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. Peel, core and dice the apple. Melt butter just before the dough has completed its rise. Grease a standard 9×5″ loaf pan.

Once risen, punch down dough, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll dough out into a large rectangle (roughly 12×24 inches). Dough will be fairly thin. Brush melted butter over top of dough. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 6 equal strips. Sprinkle about 1/6 of diced apples over one strip of dough, then stack another strip of dough on top. Repeat adding the apple mixture and stacking dough strips with remaining dough. Cut stacked strips into 6 equal stacks of squares. Stuff stacked squares vertically into prepared 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 30-45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat over to 350ºF. Bake about 35-45 minutes, or until no longer doughy in the center (bread should register 190ºF on an instant thermometer in the center when done). If bread starts to get too brown before it’s ready, cover loosely with foil and continue baking.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by adding the butter, brown sugar and milk to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

Turn loaf out onto a rack with parchment paper under it. Drizzle load with the warm caramel glaze.

Enjoy!


Chicken, Apples and Cream a la Normande with Lemon-Steamed Spinach

November 16, 2012

Good Grief! It has been over one month since I last posted!! I would love to say something like “Time flies when you’re having fun”. I would like to tell you that I won a squillion (squillion = much more than one million) dollars and I was busy trying to find ways to spend it. Or maybe that I was a spy for the CIA and that espionage took up a whole heck of a lot of time. Or that I was just out living it up and having boat loads of fun. But believe you me, I have decidedly NOT been having fun. When I last left you, I believe I was apologizing for not posting for a while (hmmm….this seems to be becoming a habit…) because I had been on holiday in Ireland and was a bit jet lagged. Well, I caught some sort of crud on that plane coming home. I remember sitting on that flying hospital ward and thinking to myself that it would be a miracle if I didn’t get sick, cause everyone around me was hacking and wheezing non-stop for the eight-hour flight. Don’t you know it, about 4-5 days after getting home, wham! I got smacked with some cold. And it wasn’t one of those little annoying things that you can go basically go about your normal business with, albeit with a box of tissues in tow. No it was a bear of a thing. Grizzly, not black bear. I used so many tissues I was sad I didn’t own stock in the Kleenex company! Just when I about had that one kicked, and was ready to dive into blogging again, we lost power for 3 days with Hurricane Sandy. And then, KAPOW! Another coldy/virusy thing descended upon me. I know I said the last one was a bear, well this one was essentially Godzilla! It totally body slammed me to the floor and proceeded to do some sort of celebratory dance all over my prone body. Seriously, it was bad news. And then, apparently I was in the sharing mood, cause I passed it on over to my poor unsuspecting husband, whose usual immune system of steel was unable to protect him from this nightmare. So, I’m sure you can see, there hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot of “fun” going on around here! The good news is, we both seem to be on the road to recovery. I’d appreciate it if everyone would cross their fingers (and perhaps toes) for us at this point!

So enough of our trials and tribulations for now. Please accept my apology for the disappearing act. I’ve finally re-emerged with a lovely Fall recipe, Chicken, Apples and Cream à la Normande, from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. This dish doesn’t have a whole ton of ingredients, mainly just chicken breasts, mushrooms apples, cream and Calvados (an apple brandy from Northern France), but it tastes wonderfully decadent! It also looks quite fancy, but it very easy to make. I served mine on a bed of Lemon-Steamed Spinach which paired perfectly with the apples and cream sauce.

Great for a romantic dinner for two and impressive enough to serve at a larger dinner party. And it has apples in it, which are good for you. You know what they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”…too bad I didn’t think of that about a month ago!  :)

Chicken, Apples and Cream à la Normande

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour, for dredging
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves at room temperature
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, thinly sliced and slices cut crosswise in half
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Calvados, apple jack or brandy
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Put some flour on a plate and season it with salt and pepper. Pat the chicken pieces dry and run them through the flour, coating both sides lightly and tapping off the excess.

Put a large deep skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon each butter and oil. When the butter is melted, slip the chicken into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, to brown the undersides, then turn over and cook for 3 minutes more.

If you’re low on butter and oil, add a little more now, then toss in the apple, onion and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and turn the new additions around so that they’re well mixed and glossy with butter and oil. Cook for 1 minute, then pour in the broth. When the broth bubbles, reduce the heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Turn the heat up again, pour in the Calvados and boil until it’s almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the cream and keeping the heat on high, cook until the cream reduces by about one quarter, a matter of a few minutes. Taste the sauce for salt and pepper. arrange the chicken on a dish or on a bed of steamed spinach if you wish, pour sauce over it.

Lemon Steamed Spinach

ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 lbs. (two 10 oz. bags) baby spinach – cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Have your steamer set up and ready to go. Put the spinach in a bowl and toss it with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the zest and salt and pepper to taste. Taste for seasoning and if the spinach looks dry, add some or all of the remaining olive oil.

Turn the spinach into the pot, cover and steam for 3 minutes. Turn spinach and cook for another minute or two until it is tender. The spinach should be served as soon as it’s cooked.

Enjoy and stay healthy!


Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

October 16, 2012

So Hello again! I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted anything and you may have been wondering what ever had happened to me. At least I hope someone has noticed my absence and I haven’t just been yammering away into some sort of online oblivion. I’m actually just back from a truly fantastic holiday in Ireland.

I will definitely be telling ya’ll a bit more about that as soon as I can get myself back into some sort of routine. You know how it is post holiday…However, I wrote this blog on Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes right before I was ready to leave for my trip. You see, I told myself I would have all of these posts done before I left and then I would just post remotely. Welllll…..that didn’t work. Seems I was sort of busy with everything else before leaving and did not manage to have several blog posts ready to go. I did manage to get this one written and have shaken off enough of my jet lag to add in the appropriate pictures, along with this disclaimer. But I’m certain I will get it together soon and be back to my old blogging habits. Until then, please take a peek at these lovely Fall Cupcakes.

Happy, happy, happy!!! Fall has arrived! Of course, here in Virginia the weather can’t seem to let go of those Summer temps. We’ll have one nice crisp day followed by a sticky, humid mess of a day. But I know Summer is on its way out, so I’m in a good mood. And Apples are in season! Apples are my favourite fruit, so I’ve got some great apple dishes in store for ya’ll! I thought I’d start it all off with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

My husband just recently celebrated a birthday and he requested these cupcakes in lieu of a big birthday cake. He tends to prefer the fruit desserts over any sort of chocolate concoction, so these cinnamon cupcakes, stuffed with apple pie filling, topped with salted caramel swiss buttercream frosting and drizzled with salted caramel sauce, seemed just perfect. I was excited to make them as well, since I myself love apples and have an obsession with cupcakes. However, my glee soon came to a screeching halt. I thought making up a batch of cupcakes would be a cinch. But it turned out to be anything but. Things started to go bad with the making of the salted caramel. First attempt = failure. A big, burnt, lumpy, sticky, smoky failure. Hmmm…I hadn’t ever had trouble making caramel before. I decided to give it another go. And…another failure! What was going on? Are my stars misaligned today? Trying to stay calm, I chose a different caramel recipe and told myself “third times the charm”. Not in this house! Another mess!! But I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I kept at it! You know…to the bitter end. Well to cut this long pitiful story short, after eventually getting the caramel right only to suffer an icing melt down, I was finally able to produce these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

I finished them at 11:58 p.m., so technically it was still my husband’s birthday. I promptly woke him up to have a bite of these little devils so that he would actually be able to say honestly that he had cupcakes on his birthday. Phew! But don’t worry, the recipe I have listed below, though cobbled together from a couple of sources is fool-proof. (and genuinely tested by a fool so I can tell you true!) You won’t end up like me, I promise. And these cupcakes are truly delicious. Just the thing to get you in the Fall mood.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

recipe from: Craving Chronicles and Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Apple Pie Filling: (From Craving Chronicles)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1.5 pounds (approx.) Honey Crisp apples (about 4 medium), peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugars, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices – about 10 minutes. In a small bowl or glass, combine cornstarch and water. Add to apples and stir, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. (Cover and refrigerate overnight if making ahead.)

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: (from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Add the sugar, corn syrup and water to a medium saucepan and stir gently to combine. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture registers 350 F on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer cook until the mixture is amber in color). Turn off the heat under the pan and slowly add the cream (the caramel will bubble up quite a bit so be mindful) then the fleur de sel. Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool before using – you could even refrigerate for a bit so it’s not quite as thin when you go to fill the cupcakes.

For the Cinnamon Cupcakes: (From Craving Chronicles who adapted it from Annie’s Eats)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add milk mixture and vanilla, and beat until blended.

Divide evenly among baking tins. Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream: (From Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-8 tablespoon salted caramel sauce

Directions:

Add the butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk to combine. Place the mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water, and, whisking constantly, heat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved. You can test by rubbing a bit between your fingers – it shouldn’t feel gritty at all.

Put the bowl on the mixer, and starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, beat the egg white mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form – this will take about 8-10 minutes, and the bowl should feel cool to the touch when you’ve finished. Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed, and gradually add the butter, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

With the mixer still on medium-low, gradually add 6 tablespoons of the salted caramel sauce, and continue beating until it is completely incorporated. Taste the frosting, and if you want a stronger caramel flavor, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce.

Cupcake Assembly Instructions:

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, hollow out a bit of the center of each cake. You can do this with a small paring knife, an apple corer or a special cupcake corer tool. Fill each hole with cooled Apple Pie Filling. Pipe Salted Caramel Buttercream onto each cupcake. Drizzle with cooled Salted Caramel Sauce.

Enjoy!


Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake

May 14, 2012

Here it is Monday and I must admit I’ve been back at Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table again. I just love that cookbook! It has yet to disappoint, so if you don’t own it already, you might want to look into it. This time I decided to try her recipe for Marie-Hèléne’s Apple Cake.

I love apples, my favourite fruit, so anything apple gets my attention. And well, I’ve already mentioned how my husband loves a good fruit dessert, so I got busy making this cake. I’m happy to report that this cake is very easy to prepare. Really there is no fuss. Just a no-nonsense simple apple cake. And I love that apples really steal the show here. I would say it is as close as you can get to a pie, but still be a cake. The chunks of apple are held together ever so slightly by a thin matrix of cake.

Oh, and it has rum in it. Always a plus! The cake was absolutely delicious and was gobbled down in its entirity by folks on the very night it was served. Not a left-over in sight!

I dusted the top of the cake with some powdered sugar and served it with freshly whipped cream to which I had added a bit of cinnamon. Cinnamon or vanilla ice cream would also be fantastic. Try this winner today!

Marie-Hélène’s Apple Cake

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter an 8″ springform pan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.

Peel the apples, cut them in half, and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1 – 2″ chunks.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have  smooth rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.

Serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream. I served this one with some cinnamon whipped cream.

*This cake is very moist. When you store it, do not cover it. Simply place a piece of plastic wrap against the cut surface. Will keep at room temperature for 2 days.

Enjoy!


Apple Blackberry Crumble

March 4, 2012

Here it is, Apple Blackberry Crumble for day 4 of my St. Patrick’s Day 2012 recipe offerings. (That means 13 more yummy St. Patrick’s Day recipes are on their way…stay tuned!) I know apples and blackberries aren’t in season during St. Patrick’s Day, however I’m sure most folks have access to some fresh apples and blackberries and if not, I suppose frozen would do in a pinch. Fruit crumbles are a very popular dessert in Ireland. Blackberries, which in the late summer,can often be found growing wild in Irish hedgerows, are a particular favourite of my husband, so I just couldn’t resist making this dish when I saw it posted on Edible Ireland (Fantastic blog by the way, you should definitely check it out!). You can bake this in one baking dish and serve it family style, but I made it in individual ramekins.

It comes together quite quickly and easily. A truly rustic, home-style dessert it becomes spectacular when served up with dollop of freshly whipped cream or scoop of ice cream.

Apple Blackberry Crumble

recipe from: Edible Ireland

Ingredients:

for the crumble topping:
1 3/4 Cup (200 g)  flour
1/4 Cup (50 g) caster sugar (fine sugar)
1/4 Cup (50 g) light brown sugar
1/4 Cup (25 g) oatmeal (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 Cup (100 g) butter, melted

for the filling:
6 to 8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 600 g/1 1/4 lb when prepped)
1/2 Cup (100 g) sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Cup (250 g) blackberries (frozen are fine)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

To make the topping, combine the flour, caster sugar and brown sugar, oats and salt in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then squeeze the topping with your hands to make small clumps. Put the topping in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Place the chopped apples, sugar, corn flour and lemon zest in a large bowl and stir together well. Add in the blackberries and stir gently.

Place the filling in a large ovenproof dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling up. Allow to cool for 15 or 20 minutes before serving with cream or ice cream. A crumble is best eaten straightaway, but any leftovers make an excellent breakfast the next day.

Enjoy!


Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

February 25, 2012

I told you all about Pop-pop Roy in my Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings post not too long ago. Mom-mom Mary was his wife and a fantastic, much loved Grandma.

Mom-mom Mary & Pop-pop Roy (on left) shortly after they were first married

She wasn’t one of those old fashioned Nannas that would just sit in a chair knitting. She was really funny, loved to laugh and actually liked to play with us when we were kids. I mean really play, like running around outside, swinging on swings, digging in the dirt and building forts.

Me (at 9 months) & Mom-mom Mary

Mom-mom Mary & her pup Wrecker

One of my earliest memories of her is hanging out in the kitchen watching her make this Jewish Apple Cake, which she did quite often. There always seemed to be one available for snacking on in her kitchen. I was super impressed that she could peel an apple and manage to have one long continuous apple peel. I never peel an apple to this day that I don’t think of her and try to keep that peel in one piece. Before she passed away, she was kind enough to give me a enameled butterfly pin that her brother had given her years before. I carried this butterfly with me pinned to my bridal bouquet on my wedding day and thought it should make an appearance in the pictures of her Jewish Apple Cake.

Grandma's Butterfly on my Wedding Bouquet

I must admit, I’ve often wondered why it was a “Jewish” Apple Cake. My family is not Jewish, so I kind of always wondered where she got the recipe and why it was “Jewish”. I did a bit of poking around online recently and discovered that Jewish Apple Cakes are a regional favourite found in bakeries from Philadelphia, PA down to Baltimore, Md. My family is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so that did make sense. No one seems to know if the cake actually has any Jewish connections. The cake does not contain any dairy, using oil and orange juice instead. So it could be eaten with meals that include meat in accordance with Jewish dietary rules. However, I also read that it may have no Jewish connection at all and actually be a Pennsylvania Dutch cake that has been mistakenly named as Jewish because it seemed to have and “old-world” character about it.

One thing you won’t be mistaken over is how delicious this cake is. As I mentioned previously, Pop-pop Roy didn’t eat many sweets, but he would always have a bite or two of her Jewish Apple Cake. It’s no wonder, because this cake is irresistable. Dense, very moist, not too sweet and chock full of sugar cinnamon coated apples. A real winner for breakfast, dessert or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea. The cake is very easy to make and will not disappoint. Make sure you peel your apples so that you are left with one long continuous peel for each apple. I think they might actually taste better if you do. :)

Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

recipe from: My Grandma

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 – 5 Apples, sliced (I used MacIntosh)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a tube cake or Angel cake pan.

Mix sugar and oil in the bowl of stand mixer. Add Eggs, salt, 1 1/2 Cups of flour, orange juice, baking powder and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 Cup flour.

Peel and core apples. Slice them into 1″ cubes. In a medium sized bowl, toss sliced apples with the cinnamon and sugar.

In greased tube pan, alternate layers of the apple/cinnamon, sugar mixture and batter, starting with the batter.

Bake for 1 1/4 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Place on rack to cool. You can remove sides of pan after about 15- 20 minutes.

Enjoy!


Pop-pop Roy’s Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

November 22, 2011

My Granddad, “Pop-pop Roy”, as I called him when I was younger, loved these Apple Dumplings. Grandda wasn’t a big sweets eater. Other than those Apple Dumplings, my only memory of him indulging in any sugary treat was Ginger Snaps. He did love his Ginger Snaps. I have fond memories of sitting on his lap when I was about 4 or 5, watching “Hogan’s Heros” and sharing those cookies. He would put each cookie on his knee, put his thumb right in the center and press down. The cookie would neatly break into 4 equal pieces and he’d give two to me and take two for his own.

Granddad at 2 1/2 years. He's the little one in the white hat.

Other than those cookies, desserts were scarce in his house. But he did have a weakness for Apple Dumplings. My Mom would always make up a batch of Apple Dumplings for him on Thanksgiving. In fact, he would always make sure to inquire a weeks or so ahead of time as to whether they were on the menu or not. (They always were :) )No matter what manner of other exotic and alluring desserts were up for grabs that day, he would always choose the Apple Dumpling. Mom would then package up several more for him to take home.

Couldn't resist another of these pics. Granddad is the one in the middle.

Granddad passed away at the age of 91 in 2008. We still make his Apple Dumplings on Thanksgiving.

Pop-pop Roy (1917-2008)

As it turns out, my husband also loves Apple Dumplings. When we were first dating, we went to my parents house for Thanksgiving Dinner. Like Grandda, Jay chose the Apple Dumpling, topped with a bit of vanilla ice cream (of course!) for his dessert. We had been doing the South Beach Diet pretty intensely in the months leading up to this and had decided to totally ignore it for the day and eat whatever we wanted. Well, the incredibly tasty and sweet Apple Dumpling was quite a shock to his previously sugar starved system and he went into a sort of sugar coma. Unfortunately it was while he was driving us home! You know how you sometimes say that a particular treat is “to die for”? Yeah, well we almost did! I guess it wasn’t really that bad. It just involved him attempting to continue straight on as the road turned. I can just see us trying to explain it to the law…”No really Officer, I haven’t been drinking. It was Pop-pop Roy’s Apple Dumpling!” It all ended just fine. No harm done. I was not in a sugar coma and after the swerving, believe me, I was wide awake. I switched places with him and drove us the rest of the way home, while he slept it off. The experience did not scare Jay away from Apple Dumplings at all, though he definitely respects their power now. And he made sure I learned that recipe from my Mom. Indeed I did and I just made up a batch.

Hot out of the oven!

They taste fantastic! I used my beloved HoneyCrisp apples for these, and yes, I use a whole apple rubbed in cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg for each dumpling. Then I top each sugar and spiced apple with a knob of butter and cover them with a short crust. Once they are completely enrobed in that buttery pastry, I drizzle a decadent gooey cinnamon syrup over them and pop them in the oven to bake. The house smells amazing!

The Apple Dumplings are delicious! And they remind me of my Granddad. Make some for your family this Fall;  they will absolutely swoon. Just make sure no one has to drive that evening!

Pop-pop Roy’s Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Recipe from: my Mum!

yield: 6 Apple Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for dusting apples
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus more for dusting apples
  • 1/4 cup butter plus more to dab onto each apple before covering with pastry
  • 6 small to medium apples

for the pastry:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Add sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg to saucepan. Cook on medium heat until sugar melts and mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until incorporated.

Pare and core apples. Set aside.

Place flour, salt and baking powder in food processor. Pulse just to combine. Cut chilled butter into 1″ cubes. Add to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once and pulse until dough forms.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Roll out 1/4 inch thick. Cut into six 5 inch squares.

Arrange an apple on each square. Sprinkle generously with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot with butter.

Fold pastry around apple until it is entirely covered. Place Dumplings 1 inch apart in greased  9×13″ baking pan. Pour the prepared syrup over the dumplings.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is browned and apple is softened. You can check the apple texture by poking it with a wooden skewer or knife. If pastry is getting to brown, but apples aren’t yet soft enough, cover with foil.

Enjoy! but remember – friends don’t let friends drive under the influence of these dumplings!


Harvest Apple Bread Pudding with a Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce

November 5, 2011

Now that Halloween is over and I’ve got all those spooky treats out of my system, I can get back to my Fall  fresh apple obsession. This recipe is part two of my covert mission to hide some morsels of the Harvest Apple Challah bread that I made a short time ago, for the purpose of making other tasty treats with it. First I managed to make some lovely Harvest Apple French Toast with a bit from my hidden stash. Then I made these two charming little ramekins of Harvest Apple Bread Pudding. And I couldn’t just stop there… Oh No! I went ahead a whipped up some mouth-watering Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce to drizzle over the top. The recipe below actually makes about 1 cup of the stunning salty-sweet concoction, which is quite a bit more than you’ll need here, but you’ll be very happy to have it around. This sauce is really quite good and goes well over ice cream, baked apples, pancakes, you name it. It’s even good squirted right out of the bottle ( not that I would be doing that… in public anyway :) ). I did drizzle some right over the tops of my Harvest Apple Bread Pudding though. The result was absolutely scrumptious.

This recipe, like my previous Harvest Apple French Toast, calls for “Maple Sugar”. Maple Sugar is made from the sap of the sugar maple tree and is significantly sweeter than granulated sugar. It can be found in the sugar section of most large grocery stores, or if not in your town, it can be order online. (I’ve seen it on Amazon.) I mentioned that you could swap it out for granulated sugar if you wanted, but you might want to increase the sugar amount a bit and probably won’t get as mapley a taste. However, the sauce does call for imitation maple extract, so that might just be enough for you.

Once my husband got his hands on this dessert, all secrecy and hoarding behaviour on my part was forgiven. (He actually didn’t even suspect a thing…I’m that good!) We devoured these puddings in no time flat! So if you haven’t made the Harvest Apple Challah yet, get baking! You don’t miss out on this delicious Harvest Apple Bread Pudding!

Harvest Apple Bread Pudding with a Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce

yields: Two 8 oz. Ramekins

Ingredients:

For Bread Puddings:

  • 2 cups 1/2-inch cubed Harvest Apple Challah bread
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk or heavy cream if you’re feeling particularly decadent
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Maple sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce:

Yields: 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 5-6 drops of imitation maple extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, or until toasted.

Combine milk, maple sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add toasted bread cubes and toss until coated. Gently push bread down into liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter the inside of two 7-8 oz. ramekins. Divide the chilled bread/egg mixture evenly between the two ramekins.

Place ramekins in an 8-inch pan and add about an inch of hot water. Bake, uncovered, for about 35 minutes or until set.

While the puddings are baking, prepare the Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar. Whisk until sugar melts and mixture is thick and boiling. Slowly whisk in cream. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking often, though not constantly. Boil until sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in coarse salt and maple extract.

Just prior to serving, drizzle each pudding with the salted maple-caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

Salted Maple-Caramel Sauce Recipe from Bon Appetit as seen on Epicurious

Harvest Apple Bread Pudding Recipe adapted from Chocolate Bread Pudding for Two on Craving Chronicles


Witches’ Froth

October 28, 2011

Oooooooo! Spooky, Spooky! That’s right, this is the dessert that is a favourite among all witches’ covens. Witches’ Froth is a baked apple mousse. Very light, apple-y and refreshing, especially so after we’ve been chowing down on all of those heavy Halloween chocolate goodies. I first came across this recipe all the way back in May on the blog, Girl Cooks World: Gluten Free Recipes from Around the Globe. Apparently this is a Hungarian dessert (Boszorkanyhab in that language…I think I’ll just stick with calling it “Witches’ Froth)

It has a bunch of stuff I love like apples and vanilla and booze (not Jack Daniels this time but Rum). I knew this would be a perfect and unique adult treat for Halloween and have been planning on whipping it up ever since. I was not disappointed. Very yummy and once the apples are done baking, it comes together in a snap. I served this treat a couple of different ways, in spooky fall tree glasses and as a cute mini dessert/taster  in little dark Belgian chocolate cordial & toasting cups topped with candy corn.

Witches’ Froth

Recipe from: Girl Cooks World

Yields: 4 servings in glasses and many little dessert cups

Ingredients:

  •  4 baking apples
  •  1 cup vanilla sugar
  •  2 egg whites
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  •  2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  •  whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and bake the apples for 50-60 minutes, until softened.  Let them cool, peel and core them, and puree the pulp in a blender or food processor.

Stir in the egg whites and sugar and beat 10 minutes with an electric mixer, until fluffy and thick.  Add the rum and lemon juice and continue beating for another 5 minutes.

Spoon into individual serving glasses or bowls and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: This dessert uses raw egg whites, so please be aware that there is a small risk of salmonella contamination.


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