ffwd: spice-poached apple(sauce)
It’s hard to believe that it’s already Friday, again. This week’s recipe choice for French Fridays with Dorie is a batch of Spice-Poached Apples or Pears. We went apple picking last weekend, so it was apples for me.
After the peach melba from a couple weeks ago, I was extremely enthusiastic about poached fruit. The syrup on this one was quite different. Both sugar and honey provide the sweet, star anise, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean add the spice, and orange and lemon zest and juice add a little bit of extra je ne sais quoi.
We picked about 10 pounds of McIntosh and 10 pounds of Cortlands. I can never remember which apples are best for what, but I opted to use Cortlands because I thought I remembered that they were good for baking. I played my favorite apple game, seeing if could remove the apple peel in one piece, I got close, but didn’t get it this time. I used my favorite tool for coring, a melon baller.
Apple halves are poached in the syrup.that has already simmered for a while to meld the flavors. Dorie said to test the apples often, cooking them just until they could be pierced with a knife. Well, after 10 minutes, they were still firm in the middle, but extra soft on the edges. I let them go for a few more minutes, at which time, the centers were still firm, but the rest of the apple had disintegrated into the syrup. Oops.
Solution? Applesauce, I guess. I ran the mixture through the food mill with the largest blade. This removed the spices and the citrus peel. Some of the peel got chopped as it slipped through the food mill and I didn’t like the texture. I ran it through again, using the medium blade. The texture was perfect.
So, I ended up with a tasty applesauce, a little sweet for me, but well-flavored and delicious. I’ll remember this combination when deliberately making applesauce next time. And, once I can figure out the proper sort of apples to use, I’ll try the poaching again because I’m still very enthused about the whole concept of poached fruit.