Saturday, February 15, 2014

Baked Apples With Caramel Mousse

Well, this lovely dessert is being posted just in time for Valentine's Day to be over. Serve it for your Oscar party...if you have one of those, or President's Day. Serve it for President's Day. Regardless of when you serve it, I'm guessing people will like this twist on the caramel apple because it is awesome. I served it VD night (Valentine's Day, because the other interpretation of that would be DISASTROUS) and the girlpren finished hers before I could even register that she was eating it. That sounds somewhat unflattering unless I mention that she's a slow eater.

I tried various apples with this recipe, and found that Fuji work the best. The Granny Smith was good, but the flavor of the wine didn't come through. Yes, there is wine in this. You could skip the wine and use a brown sugar/honey mixture, but then you don't get to say, "Oh, I already opened a bottle of wine. I might as well drink the rest so it doesn't spoil." Honey never spoils. Besides, who drinks a bottle of honey? Weirdo.

This recipe is kind of a pain in the ass, as you have to cook things, then let them cool so you can assemble everything. If the apples are hot, then the mousse will melt. If the caramel sauce is hot then the whipped cream will melt and the mousse won't form. The best way to make this is apples, then sauce, then mousse, then assemble, then eat. Don't try the last one first.


4 Fuji Apples ($1.69 for 3 lbs.)
12 oz. sweet wine ($9.99 for the Auslese or Icewine)
1 cup brown sugar ($1.69 for 32 oz.)
1/2 stick plus 1 tbsp (5 tbsp.) unsalted butter ($1.69 for 16 oz)
1/2 cup half and half ($1.59 for 32 oz.)
1 cup chilled heavy cream ($1.99 for 1 pint)
pinch of confectioners sugar ($1.29 for 32 oz.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Core the apples by scooping the core out from the top of the apple. Do not cut all the way through the apple to remove the core. You will be creating a shot glass sized cavity in the apple. Then shave the skin off the top of the apple about 1 inch down the apple.

Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar into each of the apple cavities and add 1/2 a tbsp of the butter. Fill the cavities with the wine. Place the apples in a small shallow baking dish and pour the rest of the wine in the dish. You want the liquid to cover the bottom of the dish and come up on the apples a bit. If you don't have enough liquid you can mix some water in. The rest of that wine is for drinking.

Place the apples in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour basting the tops of the apples every 15 minutes. The apples will start to brown on the top when done.

While the apples are baking away, you can make the caramel sauce. The recipe I use isn't an actual caramel sauce, it's more of a brown sugar sauce, but it's easy to make, tastes like caramel, and I can't think of a third thing. First, make sure you have brown sugar. I didn't. If you don't have brown sugar it is easy to make. First take 1 cup of sugar, and pour it into a mixing bowl. Then add 1 1/2 tbsp of molasses. Work them together with a fork until no more molasses chunks remain and the sugar is an even brown color. Freshest brown sugar you will ever have. If you don't have any molasses, go to the store and pick some up. While you're there, get some brown sugar. Oh, and do this before you bake the apples or you run the risk of starting a citywide fire.

Combine the remaining brown sugar, butter, and half and half in a small sauce pan over medium heat. heat and whisk or stir constantly for 5-7 minutes and you are done. Let the sauce cool to room temperature.

When the apples are done, take them out of the oven, dump the liquid in the apples, and put them into the fridge. It'll take a while for them to cool. Say about 1 and 1/2 hours. I waited several hours, so I'm making that time up. If you are making theses in a hurry I would say, "Really?" And you could put them in the freezer I guess, but don't let them freeze.

Once the apples and caramel sauce are cool, whip the heavy cream on high after adding a pinch of confectioners sugar. When you get firm peaks pour in about 4 tbsp of the caramel sauce and fold it in to the whipped cream. You do not need a lot of caramel to flavor the mousse. if you want it sweeter, add more caramel, if not, add less. If you work the cream too much it will deflate. You can have streaks of caramel in the mousse, it's OK.

Now put the mousse in a piping bag, or, if you don't have a piping bag like the majority of us who aren't pastry chefs, a zip top bag. Cut the corner of the zip top bag off and you have yourself a disposable pastry bag. Take that mother earth! Pipe the mouse into the apples, then heat up the rest of the sauce and pour over the apples for presentation.

You will have leftover mousse and sauce, but this is not the kind of problem to complain about. People will be impressed that you made caramel mousse, and you can respond with things like, "Yes, you are right to be impressed." and "That's right, what have you ever done with your life?" It just drives the point home a little more. Now if you will excuse me, I have to buy copious amounts of discount Valentine's Day candy.

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