10.30.09 Fall Means Apples
Baked Apples & Walnut Brittle
- — 6 apples (Gala, Winesap or Pink Lady work nicely)
- — 2 tablespoons salted butter
- — 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- — 3/4 cup sugar
- — 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- — 1 whole nutmeg
- — 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- — 1 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Halve apples lengthwise and remove core. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over moderate heat and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon. Arrange apple halves cut side down on sugar and cook until sugar begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Don't stir. Transfer skillet to oven and bake apples until tender, about 15 minutes.
While apples are baking, cook remaining 3/4 cup sugar with salt in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, until sugar begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted to a deep golden caramel, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add walnuts and about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, stirring to coat. Pour onto baking sheet. When cool, break brittle into smaller pieces.
Cardamom Ice Cream
- — 2 cups light cream or half & half
- — 1 vanilla bean, split
- — 8-10 green cardamom pods
- — 3/4 cup sugar
- — 4 egg yolks
- — 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (heavy cream)
- — 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine the light cream, vanilla bean and crushed cardamom pods in a heavy saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. Do not let boil over. Remove from heat, cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes (longer if you want a stronger flavor). Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the liquid. Take out the cardamom pods with a slotted spoon or Chinese spider.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale (using a manual whisk or immersion blender). Gently reheat the cream mixture and beat a little of it into the egg yolks. Then pour the egg mixture into the cream and return the pan to a low heat. Stir for several minutes, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil! (This leads to scrambled eggs.)
Remove the pan from the heat, continuing to stir until cooled. Lightly whip the heavy cream and fold it into the custard. Stir in the ground cardamom. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.
To serve, place a warm or room temperature apple half in each of 6 bowls, top with a generous scoop of ice cream and sprinkle walnuts on top. Go to heaven... (Leftover apples are great in the morning served cold or reheated and topped with a serving of yoghurt.)