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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #67: Apples

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I start with my basic pie crust recipe, (for the tarte tatin, I find that puff pastry isn't sturdy enough to support the apples and it turns soggy really quickly under the caramel)

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cake flour (the finely milled cake flour seems to give the pastry added flaky texture)

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup Crisco

1 stick chilled butter (I use salted butter for the flavor)

About 1/3 cup ice water

 

I go the old fashioned route and cut the butter and Crisco into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.  I don't use the typical wire type pastry cutters but one with really rigid blades.  I try to avoid the food processor because even with a few pulses, the blades spin so fast that it basically make sand out of the Crisco and butter in the flour.  Then I may use more or less of the ice water, depending how the dough comes together.  I want it supple enough to insure it will roll out properly later.  I cover with cling film and put it in the fridge to rest and chill about two hours.

 

I only use Golden Delicious apples.  I've tried it with Fuji, Granny Smith and a few other tart apples and they just don't work.  The Golden Delicious holds its shape, is sweet and soaks in the caramel sauce.  Maybe it's just an old baking tale but the Golden Delicious never fail.

 

I use a T-fal non-stick 10" frying pan.  I've used cast iron, but the caramel and apples burn. The recipe I use out of "Saveur Cooks French" calls for a tarte tatin pan, but I've never sought out buying one.  I like the non-stick because it helps release the tarte tatin when you invert it.

 

Peel, cut in half and core about 8 Golden Delicious apples

In the pan melt 2 1/2 stick butter with 1 1/2 cups sugar

At this point I add 1 tbsp. corn syrup as I find it thickens the caramel during baking and gives it more of a glaze when the tarte tatin is finished.

 

It's a bit tedious putting the apples in the pan.  You stand them up on their sides, and pack them in tight.  You'll be surprised to see the apples reaching upwards of over an inch above the rim of the pan.  Then pack two apple halves in the middle.  Don't worry, during cooking they will sink down into the pan.

 

Bake at 400 for 1 hour 45 minutes.  I know it sounds incredibly long but that's the key to getting the apples to cook down into the caramel.

 

Now another trick is to let it cool on the counter after you take it out of the oven, cover with cling film and put in the fridge overnight.  As Saveur notes, "to further let the apples confit." 

 

Next day I roll out the pastry, place it on top of the apples in the pan and trim the edges.  I fold over the edge into the center of the frying pan to give more structure to the edge.

 

Into a 350 oven for about 25 minutes to melt the caramel and bake the pastry to golden brown.  Here's another trick, let the tarte tatin sit on a rack for about 8 minutes after you pull it out of the oven.  Invert the tarte tatin too early and it may fall apart, wait too long and the caramel starts to cool and harden and you can't get the tarte out very easily.

 

My cousin thought it was odd I served it with ice cream and she always thought whipped cream was the best accompaniment, but I love cool vanilla ice cream with a slice of the warm apple tarte tatin.

 

 

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Pink Pearl. That's my newest crush. They are smallish to medium size, pearly and creamy on the outside, and the flesh is a mottled red/pink. They are crisp and juicy and tart, very tart. The apple was developed in CA in the forties, but they aren't widely sold as far as I can tell. They are grown in CA and Oregon and probably in WA state as well. For a person like me who grew up on the east coast and who will never forget what it's like to bite into the first early Vermont Mac of the season, the Pink Pearl is Paradise. Lucky for me my husband is not as enamored, so I get to eat them all. Maybe not quite right for a tarte tatin. David, your cousin is just wrong. Although in a pinch creme fraiche on warm caramel apples can be pretty yummy.

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Made some Apple Pie Ice Cream and some Apple Leather to take to friends for lunch today. 

The Apple Leather is 2 cups of apple sauce and 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts, spread onto 3 cookie sheets and left in the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit until they are satisfactorily dried.  The time depends upon the thickness of the spread.  They are delicious and make the best snack.

 

P1010002_77.JPG
 

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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Sorry for the addition on Apple Leather.  Forgot to add about leaving the oven door open during the drying process.  A doubled over oven mitt does the trick.

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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And the apple harvesting and processing goes on and on at the farm.  Nothing compared to last year (thank heavens) but still more than bountiful.  None to give away this year unless folks will accept falls.  We had the trees pruned in the spring and the pruners have to return to finish the job.  The trees had been uncared for for over twenty years...did I say I'm not a gardener?...and now we and the trees are paying a price.  Come back next year.

 

Making a new family favorite: "Mother's Applesauce Cake (Poor Man's Fruitcake) generously given to me by eG member, Arey.  (photo from 2015)

 

P1010003_01.JPG

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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And the apple harvesting and processing seems to go on forever.   Does anyone know when to harvest Northern Spies?  They are obviously later than the Macs.  But then it would matter at what climate zone one lived.

In the meantime, I took some Apple Butter made last year and never eaten...we are not toast eaters...added some chopped nuts and made as if to dehydrate it and make Apple Leather.  Well, many hours later I have some kind of chewy candy.  A bit sticky, but oh so delicious.P1010002_01.JPG

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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The "Rave" is one of our newer apple varities in Washington, It's also the first apple of our season, just now starting to show up in the local markets.  These apples come from Stemilt Farms in Wenatchee, the main apple growing region in Washington.  They were created by cross of the Honeycrisp and the MonArk from Arkansas.  They have a good texture and are what I'd describe as sweet yet pretty tart.  Not my type of eating apple but I think would go well in any baked apple dish.

IMG_0031.JPG

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I'll have to keep an eye out for Raves in our markets. To be honest, I think the Honeycrisps are overrated (says the Minnesota resident). My favorites these days are Fujis for eating and Granny Smiths or Pippins for baking, but it's fun to try other varieties.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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I'd also like to try Rave sometime.  I agree with @Smithy that Honeycrisp is overrated.  My favorite varieties are Pink Lady and Granny Smith.  And Macoun if I can get it off the tree.  Macoun is mealy and vile if it is a day too old.

 

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My favorite eating apple is the Envy. Sometimes hard to find even here in Apple country and a little higher in price than say a red delicious. The golden delicious seems to be the best apple for my Tarte Tatin

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15 minutes ago, David Ross said:

My favorite eating apple is the Envy. Sometimes hard to find even here in Apple country and a little higher in price than say a red delicious. The golden delicious seems to be the best apple for my Tarte Tatin

 

Never heard of Envy.  I envy you.

 

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The Envy was brought over from New Zealand but we have only seen it in markets here for a few years.  It's takes years to cultivate a new or different variety from stock and then go through all the process, regulation and state laws to get a number as they say for the apple. It's medium size and a good texture, not mealy or mushy yet sweet.  I never ate many apples as an adult, but now, at age 60 and finding the Envy, I eat them regularly!

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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

The Envy was brought over from New Zealand but we have only seen it in markets here for a few years.  It's takes years to cultivate a new or different variety from stock and then go through all the process, regulation and state laws to get a number as they say for the apple. It's medium size and a good texture, not mealy or mushy yet sweet.  I never ate many apples as an adult, but now, at age 60 and finding the Envy, I eat them regularly!

@andiesenji also recommended the Envy in another eG discussion. I was able to find them in a local grocery store and was impressed with them. They are quite crisp and the flavor is wonderful.

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14 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I'd also like to try Rave sometime.  I agree with @Smithy that Honeycrisp is overrated.  My favorite varieties are Pink Lady and Granny Smith.  And Macoun if I can get it off the tree.  Macoun is mealy and vile if it is a day too old.

 

I like Macoun for making baked apples - just cut into chunky slices and into a pyrex with cinnamon and a tiny bit of honey, baked with foil on top until slightly tender. I like Fuji for eating apples.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Anyone a connoisseur of apple butter? I have what I believe to be one of the best apple butter recipes EVER. If anyone wants, I'll share it.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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12 hours ago, kayb said:

Anyone a connoisseur of apple butter? I have what I believe to be one of the best apple butter recipes EVER. If anyone wants, I'll share it.

 

Yes actually I'd love to have it.  I've never made apple butter and it will be something new to try this season.

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Yesterday at work in the library I came upon a book whose cover featured making apple butter.  Unfortunately my youth featured too much apple butter and so I did not note the details.  For the benefit of @Anna N apple butter is a traditional accompaniment of scrapple.

 

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

For the benefit of @Anna N apple butter is a traditional accompaniment of scrapple.

Thank you so much for the edification. I have had apple butter once and scrapple once.  I hope to never repeat either experience.xD

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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11 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Thank you so much for the edification. I have had apple butter once and scrapple once.  I hope to never repeat either experience.xD

Apple butter I like.  Scrapple is grey and square and I would rather go very hungry before I eat that stuff again.  

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

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8 hours ago, David Ross said:

Yes actually I'd love to have it.  I've never made apple butter and it will be something new to try this season.

 

Here you go:

 

  • 5 pounds tart apples of your choice (Gala, Fuji or Arkansas Black are good choices; Granny Smith would also work, though they’re more tart than the first three)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Cut the apples in quarters. Don’t peel or core them; a lot of natural pectin, the material that thickens jams and jellies, resides there, and you want it. We’ll deal with peels and seeds later. Pile them into the Instant Pot, or into a pressure cooker or a Dutch oven, and add two cups of sugar. If you’re using an IP or other pressure-cooker vessel, or even a slow-cooker, add the listed amount of vinegar and water; if a Dutch oven, go up to about 1/2 cup each.

In the IP, cook the apples on “steam” for 20 minutes, with a natural steam release.This will be enough to completely cook the apples to the point they’re soft, brown, and start to disintegrate. On the stovetop, bring to a boil over medium high heat, then quickly lower to medium low and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes to an hour, until apples reach the same stage.

Using a food mill with its medium plate, or a chinois, or in a pinch a colander, press the pulp into a Dutch oven. Add the remaining sugar and spices; simmer for an hour or so over very low heat, until the apple puree thickens and darkens more.

I’m not certain but what you could do this on the slow-cook function in the IP. I was otherwise using the IP, so I didn’t, plus I had significantly more puree than it would hold.

Process 15 minutes in a water-bath canner, or freeze in pint containers. Keeps 2-3 weeks, opened, in the fridge.

 

This is from the most popular post ever in my blog, with more than 5,000 views. I might note nothing else even comes close.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Last night I may have misspoken.  About the apple butter book that is.  Or I may really have seen an apple butter book.

 

But today I spied the newsletter of Rockingham (Washington's residence when he lived in Rocky Hill).  This fall there will be a demonstration of traditional apple butter making.  You know, caldron over an outdoor hearth and all of that.

 

Visitors are invited to help stir.

 

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I made a cider braised pork loin the other day using apple cider, apple cider vinegar, apples and included the following spices:  star anise, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and bay leaf.  It was good, but the next time I would make it with pork butt as I find loin can tend to be a bit dry.

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This year I'm doing my annual Apple Tarte Tatin.  In fact it's in the oven right now.  But I'm also bringing out two recipes I forgot about that I found in my archives today.  An easy Apple Strudel and an Apple Tart.  The base of the tart is a cheddar custard and I put ground toasted hazelnuts in the crust.

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I have an apple tree in the back yard that had a bountiful crop this year. Not sure the variety, but a tart green apple. I've cooked a lot of apple crisps and just plain old apples fried in butter and finished with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. Still a few out there I should bring in. And I gave apples to everyone I knew.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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