Looking for something new, fun, easy and healthy to try this weekend? Pick up some of the new crop of apples at your local farmer’s market this weekend and give ‘Long and Slow Apples’ a chance! I have been eyeing this recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s ‘Around My French Table’ book for a while now. She got the recipe from the fabulous super pastry chef Pierre Herme, who is one of my culinary idols. (Check out www.pierreherme.com and click on the red, white and blue flag to translate the page into English.)
To make this recipe, you simply need to peel and core a couple of apples and cut them into thin slices, about 1/8 to 1/16th of an inch wide. I used a mandoline, but you could use this as an opportunity to practice your knife skills. Once your apples have been sliced, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and mix up some spiced sugar. (Keep the sugar and butter separate.) For the first foray into apples for the year I stick with the basics—yummy cinnamon sugar! Later in the year when I am tired of cinnamon I will experiment with spices like ginger, cardamom and coriander. You can make this recipe into single serving portions using 6oz ramekins or you can make one larger one using a cake pan. Plan on using one apple per person, unless they are super small. Place a single layer of the apple slices in the bottom of your ramekin. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with spiced sugar. Repeat until the ramekins are full and the apples have been used up. Cover the top of the apples with lightly greased tin foil. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and place a weight on top of the apples. Bake in a 300F oven for 2 hours. The apples will shrink down considerably and develop a rich and exquisite flavor. You can serve these warm or cold, with ice cream or lightly sweetened crème fraiche or if you are feeling virtuous Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
Long and Slow Apples
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s ‘Around My French Table’
Preheat the oven to 300F
Special equipment: 2 (6oz) ramekins
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8 to 1/16th inch thick
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Combine the cinnamon and the sugar and set aside. Place a single layer of the apples in the bottom of your ramekins. Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat until the apples are used up.
Wrap the ramekins in foil. Place the ramekins on a parchment lined baking sheet. (I highly recommend this—it makes clean up a breeze.) Place a weight on top of the apple filled ramekins. (A second ramekin filled with ceramic pie weights works great.) Put the ramekins in the 300F oven and bake for 2 hours.
You can serve these little beauties in or out of the ramekins. Enjoy!
Nothing says summer to me like fresh blueberry pie. Sure, pie is great year round and I definitely have a soft spot for apple pies and pumpkin—yeah, among others– but during the height of summer when berries and stone fruit are at their ripest my allegiance is with them. My favorite kind of blueberry pie is an open faced, single crust pie. The crust should be a crisp, flaky, buttery contrast to the blueberries. The crust should snap slightly when you bite into it—a surprise and textural contrast–then melt in your mouth. The filling is the most important part. This is not the time of year for a cooked filling or one made with frozen blueberries. For this particular pie, a small portion of the blueberries are set aside, cooked with a bit of water, sugar and cornstarch to make a sauce and then tossed with the remaining uncooked blueberries before being poured into the pre-baked pie shell. This is pure blueberry flavor. The uncooked blueberries are just barely held together by the fresh blueberry sauce and will pop in you mouth when you sink your teeth into them. I like to serve this with lightly sweetened whipped cream or a drizzle of crème fraiche. Of course, I wouldn’t turn down a scoop of vanilla ice cream either!
Open Faced Fresh Blueberry Pie
1 pre-baked 9” pie crust
*When I’m not up to making my own crust, I like to use the all butter ‘French Picnic’ brand located in the freezer section of many grocery stores.
From the Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (aka the Baking Goddess—she is amazing!)
4 cups of Blueberries, leaves, stems and green berries removed, then rinsed and dried.
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. of water
1 tsp. of lemon juice (optional)
A pinch of salt.
Let the pie set up for at least 2 hours before serving.
The blueberry filling is a great topping for Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream too!
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