Maple-braised, Brûléed, or baked into a BUTTERY PUFF pastry, apples are the stars of winter’s most irresistible desserts
Yeasted Apple Cake Serves 12
6T unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled, plus more for handling dough
7g active dry yeast (about 21/4t)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2t finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup fresh orange juice 2t baking powder
1t kosher salt
Streusel and assembly 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup rolled oats 1/3 cup light brown sugar 2T granulated sugar
1t ground cinnamon kosher salt
6T unsalted butter, melted,
4 large firm baking apples,
halved, cored, thinly sliced
11/2 cups icing sugar
2T (or more) fresh orange juice
1. Butter a 33x23cm shallow baking dish. Mix yeast, 2T brown sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let sit until it foams, about 5 minutes. Whisk in egg and remaining brown sugar, then stir in 1 cup flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle remaining
2 cups flour over but do not mix in. Cover with clingfilm and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until mixture is puffed and flour has cracks in places, 60 to 90 minutes. 2. Add sour cream, orange zest and juice, baking powder and salt, and mix on medium speed with dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Add 6T butter in 2 batches, mixing well in between; beat until a soft, slightly glossy, sticky dough forms, about 4 minutes.
3. Using buttered fingers, pat dough into dish evenly. Cover and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until nearly doubled in size, 60 to 70 minutes.
Streusel and assembly 1.
Just before dough is finished rising, preheat oven to 180°C. Pulse flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a food processor a few times to combine. Add butter and process in long pulses until the consistency of that of moist crumbs. 2. Working with several slices at a time, fan out apples slightly and arrange over dough; sprinkle streusel over. Bake until apples are tender and a skewer comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 3. Whisk icing sugar, orange juice and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl, adding more orange juice by the teaspoonful as needed, until icing is thick and smooth and falls in a slowly dissolving ribbon. Drizzle over cake. Braised and Brûléed Apples with Ice Cream Serves 8
4 cups unfiltered apple cider
3/4 cup pure maple syrup 4T unsalted butter
2T apple cider vinegar pinch of kosher salt
4 large firm baking apples, halved, cored
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 litre vanilla ice cream candied or unsalted, roasted
nuts, to serve Special equipment: A blow torch (optional)
1. Bring apple cider, maple syrup, butter, vinegar and salt to a simmer in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring to melt butter. Add apples in a single layer (you might need to cook in batches) and return liquid to a gentle simmer. Cook, turning apples halfway through, until a skewer slides easily through flesh but apples stay intact, 20 to 25 minutes; set aside.
2. Remove apples from pot with a slotted spoon and place, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Bring liquid in pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until reduced to a thick caramel with bubbles that slowly expand and then pop, 15 to 20 minutes. Add cream and stir until sauce is smooth. Reduce heat to low and keep sauce warm while you brûlée the caramel apples.
3. Sprinkle cut sides of the apples with sugar and caramelise with blow torch (alternatively, place under a hot grill, about 3 minutes). 4. To serve, scoop ice cream into bowls; place an apple half, brûléed side up, in each. Drizzle with warm caramel
sauce and top with nuts. Do
ahead: Apples can be braised 1 day ahead. Let cool in liquid, then cover and chill. Reheat over low before continuing. Apple and Fig Custard Serves 8
4T unsalted butter, plus more
2T demerara sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2t finely grated lemon zest 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthwise 3 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
2T apple brandy or dark rum
3/4 cup crème fraîche, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1t kosher salt, plus more
4 large firm baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 11/2cm rings
170g fresh mission figs, halved lengthwise
Place rack in top third of oven; preheat to 230°C. Butter a shallow 2-litre baking dish and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Combine granulated sugar and zest in a medium bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla pod; save pod for another use. Massage zest and seeds into sugar until mixture is very fragrant. 2. Blend eggs in a blender until very frothy, about 1 minute. With motor running, gradually stream in milk, then brandy. Add sugar mixture, crème fraîche, flour and 1t salt and blend just until smooth. Let custard rest while you roast the apples. 3. Cook remaining 4T butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not let it burn), about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add apples, a pinch of salt and remaining 2T demerara sugar; toss to coat. 4. Arrange apples in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven, tossing halfway through, until caramelised and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Once apples are cool enough to handle but still warm, arrange in baking dish, reserving a few slices for topping. Add figs, reserving a few for topping. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and carefully pour custard over fruit. Arrange reserved fruit slices on top. Reduce oven temperature to 190°C and bake custard until golden and centre is firm, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Do ahead:
Custard can be blended 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and mix gently before pouring over fruit. Apple and Nut-butter Puff Pastry Tarts Serves 8
1 sheet frozen puff pasty, thawed all-purpose flour, for surface 4T peanut or other nut butter 4T apple sauce, reduced and caramelised
2 large firm baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 11/2cm wedges
1/4 cup chopped salted, roasted peanuts or other nuts 2T unsalted butter, cubed sugar, for sprinkling
1 large egg
1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle. Cut in half crosswise (halves should be almost square). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with baking paper; prick with a fork in several places. Using a small spatula, spread 2T peanut butter in the centre of each half to make a 12cm round, then spread 2T apple sauce over top of each nut-butter round. Pile up apples in the centre of each pastry and top with peanuts. Dot fruit with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
2. Beat egg and 1t water in a small bowl, then brush each pastry with egg wash and fold up edges around apples, leaving the centre open. Press along the folded edges to seal lightly. Brush outside of pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with more sugar. Let chill in freezer, 10 minutes. 3. Bake tarts until puff pastry is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and continue to bake until pastry is deep golden brown and apples are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Do ahead: Tarts can be baked 6 hours ahead.
Store uncovered at room temperature.
Apple and Fig Custard Apple and Nut-butter Puff Pastry Tarts