Monday, October 19, 2009

First Flavor of Fall ~ APPLES!

Well, as inevitably happens every year, fall is once again upon us. I particularly love this time of year when the weather turns cooler, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the fall produce starts coming into season.

One of my favorite autumnal items is the apple. It can be incorporated into sweet dishes, savory dishes, side dishes and main courses. This fall fruit has no limits. In fact, there are over 7500 cultivars of apples, each unique in texture, flavor and practicality.

The apple is known for its role as the forbidden fruit, but in recipes there is nothing forbidden about it. I was recently challenged with finding several uses for the mountain of apples conglomerating on my dining table and I diligently set about this task. I started off with apple sauce which is an easy and delicious way to use up a bunch of apples, especially ones that are slightly bruised.

All I do for the sauce is dice up the apples, put them in a pot with a bit of water (about 2 cups) and let it simmer until soft (stirring often). After about 30-40 minutes the apples are falling apart, but if they need a little help, I break out the hand blender and whiz it to perfect consistency.

The best thing about apple sauce is that's it's great on its own, but it can also be used as a fat substitute in many baking recipes. But now that you've made a huge vat of apple sauce, how are you going to use it all before it goes bad?!?! By freezing it of course! You can freeze apple sauce in rigid plastic containers or ziploc baggies in 1 cup (or any amount you typically use) amounts and just thaw when you're ready to use. That way you have fresh, homemade apple sauce at your beck and call.

My most sinful apple concoction was what I call French Toast Tatin. It's a combination of French toast and the French tart Tatin, made with apples, butter and brown sugar. I layered freshly baked Challah bread (an eggy bread very similar to the French brioche) dipped in a light egg wash onto the plate and drizzled apples sauted in butter and
brown sugar on top. Then, I cooked down the remaning butter and brown sugar to form a syrup. The result was falltastic and I will definitely be repeating it for a future brunch party.
To make your own: See below for the Challah recipe, but you can buy it at a well as the rest of the french toast recipe.


3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 more egg separated
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup water

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if doing by hand) mix together the two eggs plus one egg yolk, water and melted butter.
Add in the flour mixture. Kneed 5 minutes (10 minutes if kneeding by hand).
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (until doubled in size).
Press down lightly on the dough to degas and let rise again for 45 minutes.
Divide the loaf into a large piece and a small piece (the small piece being about 1/2 the size of the larger piece) and divide each of these pieces into three.
Roll out the thirds of the larger piece into 16" strands and braid them together.
Do the same with the thirds of the smaller pieces. Place the smaller braid atop the larger braid.
Brush the loaf with the remaining egg white and let rise for 60 minutes (until increased in size by a third). In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the loaf in the bottom third of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Cool the loaf on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Pommes Tatin (or sauteed apples)

Three apples sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 stick (12 tbsp) butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter on medium high heat.
once the butter starts to brown, add the apples slices and coat in butter.
Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the apples and mix in.
Saute the apples until golden brown and tender to a fork.
Top your favorite french toast recipe (or pancakes) with this apple goodness and enjoy!


  1. Yeah, I'm definitely making that french toast.

  2. Yummmmmm. I've been on a brown sugar pecan french toast kick lately - but this apple concoction looks fantastic! Your house must smell delicious.