Monday, November 22, 2010

Caramel-Draped Spiced Apples

I looooove caramel. Spoonfuls of caramel, all by themselves. I love it so much that caramel apples are usually a little disappointing - too much apple, too little caramel. And so darn hard to eat when you are eager to get that good stuff into your belly!

But I just discovered a way to provide more caramel with the apple, and make it easier to eat...and not unimportantly, to make this a dessert that you can plate for guests (at times that an apple on a stick is a little too informal).

Recent blog posts had me thinking about poaching fruit, since I had a great deal of mulled red wine sitting around, and the pears in this post looked especially appealing under their drapings of chocolate sauce. I also had some extra whipping cream in the fridge, but no chocolate in the kitchen, so when I stumbled upon this post for decadent-looking caramel-coated doughnuts, the caramel sauce recipe caught my eye right away. Apples in the fridge sealed the deal: I would poach the apples in the mulled wine, and coat them with thick caramel sauce.

I highly recommend mulling your own wine, since it is easy to just throw the ingredients into a pot and have the beverage on hand to enjoy - so full of comforting fall flavors! Once you've got a batch done, you can poach your fruit in it any time; if you don't have time to get some ready, follow the instructions on for poaching fruit in wine that you add sugar and spices to just prior to poaching. I promise to post an orange-scented mulled wine recipe as soon as I have some photos to include, but meanwhile, you can still poach some fruit with the linked instructions - or buy the mulling mix at Trader Joe's for a quick solution.

Poaching the fruit:
~ 1 bottle mulled wine (red or white; you can use as little as half a bottle of wine and add water to make the liquid cover the fruit)
4 peeled apples (I used organic Gala, but any except for very soft apples will do)

Bring the wine (or wine and water combination) to a boil in a saucepan. Add the peeled fruit to the pan so that the liquid covers the fruit (add water until it's covered, if necessary), then place a small lid or a piece of parchment paper on the surface of the liquid to keep the fruit submerged. Simmer gently until fruit is soft enough to be easily pierced by a paring knife, but not mushy yet. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Cut out the cores prior to serving if desired.

Salted caramel sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 stick (115gr) salted butter at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a heavy saucepan set over low heat, combine the sugar and water. Cook just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter. Let it come to a boil and cook until it reaches a golden caramel color. Remove from the heat and add the cream ( it will splatter and get crazy). Whisk to combine and put back on the stove. Let it come to a boil again over low heat and cook 15-25 minutes until you reach a creamy consistency.
Let cool. Spoon liberally over poached fruit when ready to serve

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