Hi everyone! It’s Claire again from The Kitchy Kitchen. We don’t really have weather in Southern California, so the best way to know what season it is by looking at the produce. The juicy, saturated colors of summertime melons and stone fruit give way to the ruddy colors of fall. This means Asian pears, pears, and of course apples.
This is the first apple season that my son James sort of gets it. He’s 15 months old, walking semi-competently, and loves grabbing things. We drove up to Yucaipa, about two hours from Los Angeles, for an afternoon of apple picking. At least for ten minutes, James was accident-free before he tripped while carrying an apple in each of his meaty paws and broke his fall with his face. A cuddle and some dusting off set him right, but that ended our day of apple picking.
Luckily, we picked a ton of apples, so James got to enjoy his first tarte tatin to celebrate his hard work.
Tarte tatin is by far one of my favorite winter desserts. The story behind it is a delicious mistake, not unlike how chocolate chip cookies were created. Two sisters owned an inn, about 100 miles south of Paris, and one of them intended to make an apple pie. But she was distracted, and accidentally burnt the sugar and butter. She then did what any busy home cook would do—slap a pie crust on it and hope for the best. The burnt mistake became the trademark for the little inn, and the owner of Maxim’s, one of Paris’s chicest clubs, became obsessed with the delicious recipe. He put it on his own menu, naming it after the sisters at the inn: Tarte Tatin.
I also created some lovely rose-scented candied apples and a super easy fall punch using sparkling apple cider. The trio was made perfect sitting atop some of my favorite plates, baskets, ceramics, and textiles from The Little Market. Because any spread is instantly elevated when you have beautifully handmade goods that give back to the women that made them. Now let’s get to those recipes…
For the pie filling for one 10-inch skillet:
- 10-inch skillet
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds extracted
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butte
- 10-12 small pink lady apples (mine were about 2 inches diameter), any high acid firm apple with a hint of sweetness, peeled, cored, and halved, then halved again crosswise
- 1 recipe vanilla cake (see below)
For the vanilla cake:
- 6 tablespoons apple juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Stir together the sugar and vanilla seeds. Pat down the butter onto the pans and sprinkle the vanilla sugar on top.
3. Place the apple pieces vertically in the pan, snaking in a circle along the edge. Keep repeating until the whole pan is full.
4. Over a medium flame, place the pan for 20 to 30 minutes until the butter, sugar, and apples have created a golden-brown caramel. It’s ok if it’s a little patchy. Let it cool for a few minutes and prepare the vanilla cake.
5. For the batter, sift the dry ingredients and set aside.
6. Whip the eggs for one minute on high, until light and frothy. Add the sugar slowly, still beating on high until the eggs are very pale and light (4 more minutes). Add the vanilla and pear juice, beating slowly. Add the dry ingredients, also beating on low.
7. Pour the batter evenly over apples in the pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and pulling away from the edges.
8. Put in the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until the apples are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Bring to room temperature (if you can wait) and flip onto a serving dish. Serve with whipped cream.
Apple Tart Punch
- 8 ounces Irish whiskey
- 4 ounces applejack
- 2 ounces Benedictine
- 10 dashes angostura bitters
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon syrup (recipe below)
- 3 cups sparkling apple cider
- 1 horizontal apple slice, for garnish
For the cinnamon syrup:
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
1. To make cinnamon syrup, combine the sugar and water in a small pan over medium heat.
2. Add the cinnamon sticks and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
3. Turn off the heat and let the syrup steep for 30 minutes as it cools. Drain into a container, pop on a lid, and keep the syrup in the fridge for up to a month.
4. For the punch, combine all of the ingredients, except for the sparkling cider, in a large pitcher. Stir with ice. Add the sparkling cider and garnish with an apple slice.
Blush Candied Apples
- 6-8 medium apples (washed, dried, and stems removed)
- 3 cups of white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white gel food coloring
- 1/4 teaspoon pink gel food coloring
- candy apple sticks (or craft sticks or short dowels)
- edible dried rose petals for garnish
1. Insert wooden skewers into the center of each apple, where the stem used to be.
2. Add the food coloring, sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan, turning the heat on to medium-high. While the mixture heats up and begins boiling, continuously brush down the sides of pan with water using the basting brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Do not stir the syrup once it has started to boil.
3. When the syrup reaches a temperature of 290 degrees F (143 C.), remove from the heat.
4. Tilt the pan to pool the syrup and dip each apple into the mixture, turning to coat all sides.
5. Hold the apple above the pan and let the excess syrup drip off for a few seconds.
6. On a sheet of parchment paper, create a little mound of dried rose petals. Sit the apple into the mound, turning to coat the sides. Repeat for all of the apples.
7. Let the apples cool completely before enjoying.
And there you have it! These three recipes will bring you the best that fall has to offer, especially if you love apples as much as I do.
What is your favorite apple recipe?
Let me know in the comments!
The Kitchy Kitchen