Sunday, November 5, 2017

Apples Poached with Spices

Option #1: Serve Chilled with Mint Leaves

Recipe from Unidentified Clipping

Between Halloween candy overindulgence and Thanksgiving pie decadence is a peaceful season where simple autumn desserts give our bodies a break as well as a lift.  While raw persimmons, pears, and pomegranates conveniently fill the everyday dessert bill, baked or poached apples provide more elegant treats for special occasions. And with very little fuss—10 minutes of prep and less than an hour of cooking time. Plus, an aromatic apple and spice smell issues forth from the kitchen, imbuing the entire household with an iconic fragrance of autumn.

Option #2: Serve Hot without Mint
The original recipe calls for chilling the apples and syrup before serving. This works well as a dessert. However, as a late night snack, my husband and I preferred the leftover apples and syrup heated. To reheat, separate the syrup from the apples. Microwave the refrigerated apples for about 20 seconds (or to your liking) and the syrup for about 30 seconds. Then spoon the syrup over each apple in its individual dish.

It's that late autumn waning daylight time of year. Take the time to enjoy food with family and close friends during the last of these golden and russet days as the season rolls on towards winter.

Take Care that Heated Apple isn't too Hot!
Apples Poached with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Vanilla
serves 4

½ vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 quart apple juice
4 firm apples
2 fresh mint sprigs

Split vanilla bean on 1 or 2 sides, but do not scape. Add vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg to 1½ - 2 quart pan that will fit apples in a single layer. (If pan is slightly too small, that’s okay, since apples will be peeled.)

Add apple juice to spices in saucepan.

Peel and core apples. Add to apple juice and spices. Liquid must cover the apples. Add more juice or water if needed.

Bring to simmer over medium heat, and simmer gently until apples are just soft, about 10 minutes. If apples float to top rather than staying immersed in the juice, weight them down with a small lid or a vegetable steamer (sounds weird but it works), or flip the apples over every few minutes.

Remove apples from liquid and place them in a large bowl.  Set aside to cool.

Remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean. Reduce poaching liquid to a light syrup by simmering uncovered over medium high heat for 30 – 40 minutes. Don’t overcook to a heavy syrup, as it won’t flow over the apples easily.

Drain apples. Pour hot poaching liquid over them. Cool to room temperature. Chill before serving (or not! These can also be served at room temperature, or cooled just enough to be comfortably eaten.)

To serve: Place an apple in each dessert bowl. Spoon syrup over apples. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

To serve apples reheated: Separate the syrup from the refrigerated apples. Microwave the apples for about 20 seconds. Microwave syrup for about 30 seconds. Then spoon the syrup over each apple in its individual dish. You may want to skip the mint garnish, as the hot fruit may absorb too much minty flavor.

Four Apples in Pot with Juice and Spices
Before Poaching
Four Apples Simmering in Spiced Juice
During Poaching
Apple in one serving dish, Syrup in another
After Poaching

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