apple cider Archives | Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

One..NO TWO – Macarons, December cookie baking, and my fear of THE TRIPOD

December 23, 2009 at 3:56 am | Posted in Bars/Brownies, Candy, Cookies, Dessert | 53 Comments
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To start off, this was supposed to be my entry for Jamie (of Life’s a Feast) and Deeba’s (of Passionate About Baking) MacTweets MacAttack last week.  Now that it’s 10 days late, and pretty much null and void,I suppose I’ll just have to call this your every day, non challenge post, which as you can see, I have very few of, especially since joining the Daring Cooks in conjunction with the Daring Bakers.  Since I’m not married and not a mommy, I don’t cook/bake every day, and when I do, it’s usually for a challenge I leave to the last minute.

I LOVE cooking and baking..it’s a passion that oozes from my pores, but hey, eventually you realize you can’t give enough away, and end up throwing a lot of stuff out.  I’m actually looking forward to the day I have a hungry brood to feed (I can almost hear the grunts and sighs of those who do).

Salted, Spiced Caramel Macarons

Fleur de Sel Cinnamon Caramel Apple MacaronsNotice the oozing caramel in some of them?  The caramel for those was cooked to about 230-235F.  I cooked it up to 240ish for the next batch of filling – no more oozing, although I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing!

OK, one more thing/diatribe before I get to the macarons.  I must admit something to you all, and it’s weird, really weird.  I’m afraid of my tripod.  For those who don’t know me or haven’t followed this blog, you’re probably thinking “This girl is afraid of a piece of equipment that holds a camera steady?  What a freak!”.  For those who do know me and/or my blog, you know I annihilated my knee trying to save my camera when I knocked against THE TRIPOD atop a staircase as I was setting up for photos for the Daring Bakers Lavash challenge.

Because of this little phobia, my photos suffer.  It’s bad enough I have no natural light, which is all the more reason I MUST use a tripod, but I look at the damn thing and I shudder….memories of my leg flopping all over the place as I tried to crawl to the phone, and the year I’ve spent rehabilitating the mess of a leg.  Maybe I need a much sturdier tripod, since mine possesses legs that even a modeling agency would call too skinny, and what look to be balls instead of feet (My father gave it to me.  He found it at an estate, along with other antique camera equipment, eons before I was born).

As I look below at the blurry spinach and peppers in my Beef Wellingtons, and know this freaky phobia is partial cause..I have to laugh..really.  If I don’t..I just might scream!!

Fleur de Sel Spiced Caramel Apple Macarons

Now that I’ve vented, on to the macarons.  I made two kinds, since I couldn’t decide on one –  fleur de sel-cinnamon macaron shells filled with spiced apple cider caramel, and a pure, fresh roasted maple pumpkin filling between two pumpkin pie spiced macaron shells, topped with spicy toasted Jack Be Little pumpkin seeds (You know, the baby pumpkins you can hold in your hand.  The seeds are light and tiny, perfect to top a macaron shell without any craters forming).

Salted Apple Cider CaramelsSalted Apple Cider Caramels - UPDATE: 2/13 – I made these with fresh, juiced peaches instead of apple cider, last summer.  Simply AMAZING!

The best part of this macaron endeavor was the spiced apple cider caramel filling.  This is because once I cooked it to spreadable ‘filling’ temperature, about 235 - 40 degrees on a candy thermometer, I took out what I needed to fill the macarons, and cooked the rest to the ‘soft -medium’ ball stage..about 250-60, to make buttery soft salted caramel candies.  You can’t beat one recipe that results in cookies AND candy.  I found the recipe for the apple cider caramels HERE, but after the first batch, to test, (some of which I sent to the winner of the Fahrenehit 350 Blogiversary Giveaway, which I will get to later), I realized they were way too buttery, which is usually a good thing, but when it borders on greasy, it is NOT.

I cut down the butter on batch number two to 6 tablespoons rather than 8 (cutting down butter is almost sacrilige to me), added ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of cardamom, and finally achieved what I felt was ‘just right’.  I only wish I didn’t send batch number one out to the winner, but at the time, I thought they were good – BEFORE  I noticed the butter stains all over the napkins I used to wipe my fingers after eating a few.  UGH.’

‘The Whole Pumpkin’ Macarons.  I gave them a spritz of orange spray food color for photos – so no, nothing ‘cool’ here.

Regarding the Giveaway, I was extremely flattered last month when Kitty of Fahrenheit 350° asked me to participate in her Blogiversary giveaway.  This meant baking something and sending it to the winner, along with a few other bloggers she’d chosen.   The winner, Heather of Utah (no last names here) made out like a bandit.  You should see the loot she hauled in.

You can see my spotlight HERE and the other bloggers too if you skim through the posts before and after mine.  Every day of the week, for one week, leading up to her Blogiversary, a new blogger (inlcuding lil ‘ole me) was in the spotlight along with the goodies to be sent to the winner.  Isn’t that a great idea?  Naturally, as I always do, I went overboard..wayy overboard, and started experimenting with recipes I’d never tried before.  I wanted to blow the winner away with goodies she wasn’t expecting along with the two cookies I offered up.

Well..sometimes too much of a good thing really is too much.  Always stick with the tried and true, and don’t overdo it. especially when sending your stuff to a total stranger.  Some of these new recipes didn’t turn out that great, but I didn’t realize how much so until the package was in the mail and we started to sample some.  You see..bake, cool and send IMMEDIATELY was the modus operandi, and the dough tasted great on all of them! LOL  A new lesson learned..I’m humbled.  I really hope she has a more forgiving palate than I do!

                       ‘Best Ever’ Brownies and Minty Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the cookies I baked was a Tiramisu cookie I got from the Domino’s Sugar site.  Domino’s Sugar sent me a $20.00 gift card for my holiday baking and wanted me to  bake something from their recipe page, or just use their sugar in my holiday baking in general.  Well, no need to ask, since I use Domino’s sugar in all of my baking, and have been doing so since I was in high school.  I’m never, ever without it..brown, dark brown, granulated, powdered etc..so, in retropsect, it was like them asking me to change my underwear each day.

Apparently this gift card was to help with ingredients for whatever cookie(s), cakes, pies etc.. I was going to bake, but the thing is..I’m NEVER without every baking essential possible.  I have everything, at all times, always on hand (until I run out, in which it’s immediately replaced), unless it’s a rare ingredient that one particular recipe calls for.  When I received this gift card, there was nothing I needed, so I bought lobsters.  Thank you for my awesome lobster dinner, Domino’s Sugar and Hilary from Domino’s Sugar!

                                           The aforementioned Tiramisu cookies

In any event, I didn’t particularly like the cookie part of this Tiramisu cookie recipe, so I used THIS COOKIEminus the chocolate chips and nuts,BUT, used the fillings from the Domino’s sugar recipe.  Fudgy, creamy, drippy, gooey.  Enough said.

                 Mandel Kakor - I call them Swedish Biscotti, and Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Well, I think I covered every corner as far as my cookie baking went.  Please be sure to stop back Devemeber 27th to see my Daring Bakers Gingerbread House (HINT: it won’t be a house).  I have never, ever built one before, so you just might get some laughs.  I have less than 5 days to knock this one out and I haven’t even made the gingerbread yet.  Wish me luck, because I’ll need it!

                                         Brown Butter-Milk Chocolate Chunk Thins

Salted Apple Cider Caramels

Mandel Kakor Cookies

Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Minty Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons peppermint or spearmint extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2b teaspoon baking soda
2 cups dark chocolate chips (milk or white chocolate is nice too, or a combo of two or all three)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugars. Add eggs, peppermint extract and vanilla extract.

3. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda and then add to the egg mix and beat until just combined.

4.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

5. Form the dough into 2-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, about 9 minutes for chewy and 12 for crunchy. Repeat with second baking sheet. Cool on rack. Store in an airtight container.

Macarons
Recipe from Helen of Tartelette
I added a teaspoon cinnamon to the shells and topped them with fleur de sel.

90 grams of egg white (about 3 – but do weigh them!)
30 grams of plain white granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
200 grams of icing or powdered sugar (1 1/2 cups)
110 grams of finely ground blanched almonds (1 cup + 4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a food processor, run the nuts and powdered sugar until the nuts are finely ground. Run through a sieve if needed.

2. Whip the egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar, until they are glossy and stiff.

3. Slowly sift in and fold the nut/sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula, in several increments. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily (like lava/magma).

4. Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds (about 1 to 1.5 inches – an Ateco #807 tip works well for this) onto parchment lined baking sheets.

5. Let the macarons dry for anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 300F.

6. When they are dry (touch one lightly, a dry shell will have formed – but do NOT push in), bake them for 12-15 minutes.

7. Let cool, remove from the paper and fill 2 shells with filling of your choice.

* If making the Salted, Spiced Caramel Apple Macarons, add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to the above recipe, then spirnkle piped mounds with coarse sea salt (preferably fleur de sel) and a little extra cinnamon prior to drying and baking.  If making ‘The Whole Pumpkin’ macarons, add 1 tablepsoon of pumpkin pie spice, and top with spicy, toasted baby pumpkin seeds (from a Jack Be Little Pumpkin) prior to drying and baking.

** The caramel apple filling is linked in the above entry.  Just add about 1 teaspoon cinnmaon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon of cloves to the hot caramel prior to setting.  For filling consistency, only cook the caramel to about 240 on a candy thermometer.  For the candies, follow the directions linked in the entry.

Fresh Pumpkin Filling (I kind of winged this and went by taste..so the below is just an estimation)
1 cup fresh roasted pumpkin puree.  If using canned, let drain in a colander overnight prior to making filling.
1 tabelspoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:
1. Beat all of the above together until smooth.  In a saucepan, cook down the mixture until dark and thickened. Let cool.  Spoon into pastry bag and pipe onto macarons shells, then sandwich gently.

Spicy, Toasted Baby Pumpkin Seeds
The seeds from one Jack Be Little pumpkin
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut the pumpkin open and remove the seeds.  Rinse to remove all the pulp then let air dry.  Preheat oven to 250F.

2. Combine the seeds with oil and the next 6 ingredients. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

3. Spread the seeds on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1hour. Let cool.

MACARON TIPS:
1. Age the egg whites in a covered container at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours.  I sometimes age them longer..uncovering the container for the last few hours.

2.  I like to dry my tant pour tant (the almond meal-confectioner’s sugar amalgamation) prior to making macarons.  I let it sit out uncovered at room temperature the night before making them.  I get super smooth shells that way for some reason.

3.  Double baking sheets for better ‘feet’.

Best Ever Brownies
Adapted from Baking with Julia

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour — measure after sifting
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups  sugar (divided use)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

1.  Line a 9-inch square pan with foil or parchment paper  Bottom and up the sides, making sure you have some overlapping over the sides of the pan to use as handles to lift the whole square of brownies out once baked. .  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Stir the sifted flour and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. When melted, reduce heat to low and add chopped chocolate, stirring often until completely melted. Add 1 cup of the sugar to the butter-chocolate mixture and stir for about a minute. Remove pan from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the vanilla.

4. Whisk the remaining 1 cup sugar and the 4 eggs in a second bowl – only until combined – do NOT over-whisk. Gradually pour half of the sugar-egg mixture into the bowl with the chocolate mixture, stirring quickly  so that eggs don’t cook/scramble from the heat of the chocolate mixture.

5. Using a hand-held or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining sugar-egg mixture on high speed until it turns light in color, thick and doubles in volume – about 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Carefully fold the beaten egg-sugar mixture into the chocolate, sugar, egg mixture. When everything is almost completely incorporated, gently fold in the dry ingredients.  I like to sift the dry ingredients over the mixture, then fold.

7. Scrape the batter into the lined 9-inch square pan and bake on the middle rack for 25 to 28 minutes.  They will rise nd the top will turn shiny.

8. Cut into the center of the brownies after 22-23 minutes to see how they are baking. They should be barely set and gooey, which means you’re on the right track.  In fact – you can take them out now, since they will set up more while cooling, OR continue to bake another 2 to 5 minutes until a little more set.  A matter of preference.

9. Let the brownies cool for 10 minutes..then lift them out of the pan using the edges of  the foil or parchment paper,  Cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Brown Butter Melty Middle Milk Chocolate Chunk Thins
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes about 20-22 cookies
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chunks

DIRECTIONS:
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (12 x 17-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in milk chocolate chunks.

4. Divide dough into about 20 balls, each about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 12 (for slightly underbaked like in photo) minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Macarons


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Apples and Cheese and Figs, Oh My! Plus, Green Apple Ice!

July 15, 2008 at 4:25 am | Posted in Dessert, Frozen, Fruit, Pastry, Pies/Tarts | 10 Comments
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I adore apples, especially when they’re baked into crumbles, crisps, buckles, cobblers, pies, etc. I recently had a craving for something baked with apples, but hey, it’s summer, I should be taking advantage of all the wonderful, plump berries that are now at their best and in abundance, right?  OK, I do take advantage of them, but why not pepper a little Fall flavor into my summer? There are no rules when it comes to baking, outside of the scientific aspect, that is. I mean, wearing white after Labor Day is no longer considered ‘taboo’, right?

That said, my father needs a little pick-me-up, so this apple dessert needs to do double duty. My father also happens to love apples (realistically, who doesn’t?), anything apple with cinnamon and sometimes raisins. In fact, I think that’s one of his favorite combinations in the world, and apple pie is hands down his favorite dessert. With this in mind, I set out to create a baked apple dessert with a summer twist to it. I decided on a tart of some sort, with a creamy or custard like filling beneath the apples.

Frangipane was my first thought, but then I thought ‘cool’ -temperature wise, and an apple cheesecake immediately came to mind. OK, scratch the tart…WAIT, NO, I want some warmth in this dessert, like an apple pie, but, once again, with ‘cool’ elements.  Yes, an apple pie a la mode covers all of the above, but I was feeling more adventurous.

After more thought, sifting through several recipes, and a little imagery, I decided to make a cheese filling using a mix of mascarpone and cream cheese, due to the incredibly creamy texture of the former, and the tanginess of the latter. The spicy warmth of cinnamon, along with some chopped, dried figs, instead of raisins, became the finishing touch for the filling. When it came to the crust, I was flummoxed.  I didn’t want your everyday, basic pie crust, I wanted something different, something more exciting.  Hmmm.

Then it came to me out of the clear blue..or gray in my case  (foggy brain).  He used to really love the Lorna Doone shortbread cookies. Ding! A shortbread crust would definitely be something he would love and definitely more exciting. This tart is like an apple-cheese-fig cookie, just bigger and a little more fancy schmancy. I made some amazing green apple ice to serve along with it, the cool and summery element I was looking for.

Having said all that, this blog entry is dedicated to you, Dad. I’ll bring the tart over later.


Figgy Apple-Mascarpone Tart, with Green Apple Ice and Cider Caramel

Shortbread Crust

Ingredients

  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar and blend to make a paste. Add the yolk and blend thoroughly. Add the flour and using your fingers, blend to make a crumbly dough, being careful not to overwork. Pour the crumbles into rectangle 13 x 4 or round 8 or 9-inch springform pan, then press gently on the bottom and up the sides, until it’s uniform, and fills every crevice of the tart pan (or slightly up the sides of a springform pan). You want to see little pieces of butter in the dough. Let it rest in the refrigerator, covered, at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork.

OK, you can do one of two things here…

1. Place a sheet of parchment or foil in the tart pan (I used a 13 x 4 rectangular tart pan, but a round 8 or 9-inch tart or springform pan will work just as well) and fill with pie weights or dried beans or rice, and blind bake the crust in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until somewhat firm and very lightly golden brown. This is the method I used for the apple tart you see. I find the crust gets too dark in certain areas upon baking again, so next time I’m going to use the number 2 method below..

2. Do NOT prick the crust prior to letting it rest in the fridge. When ready to bake, brush the chilled shortbread crust with some beaten egg white and let dry for a few minutes. NOW prick the bottom and sides of the crust. Fill with the mascarpone-fig mixture, smoothing it out so it’s even. Cover and chill for about 1-2 hours until it firms up (this makes it easier to keep the apple slices from slightly sinking when you pile them on top, although, if aesthetics isn’t a big deal to you, skip the refrigeration/firming of the cheese mixture.).

Mascarpone-Fig filling

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of mascarpone cheese, at room temperature*
  • 4 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup white granulated or lightly packed light brown sugar or a mix of both, depending on your taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cinnamon – again, depending on your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped, dried figs – depending on how ‘figgy’ you’re feeling**

Directions

1. Combine the mascarpone, cream cheese and sugar and mix until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and cinnamon, and mix until uniform. I feel that hand mixing this is better, as you get a feel for the smooth, lump free consistency you’re seeking. However, using electric beaters or a stand mixer is perfectly fine, just don’t over-mix!  Mascarpone doesn’t react well to over-mixing.

2. Fold in the chopped, dried figs and pour into the partially baked and cooled crust, or egg white brushed raw crust. Let set in the fridge, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.

*All cream cheese or all mascarpone can be substituted for the combination of both.
** Dates would also be great in this, especially Medjools or Honeyballs (Bahri dates). In fact, that’s what I’ll be trying next time. Raisins can also be substituted, golden or dark.

Apple Topping

Ingredients

  • 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 small tart apples (Granny smith, Jonathan, Jonagold etc…OR, whatever looks and smells good at the market)
  • 2 Tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 of a lemon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

2. Peel and core the apples. Slice in half or into quarters, then slice each half or quarter into 1/4-inch thick slices. If you want the ‘fanned’ look..hold apple slices together on top of the filling, then fan out (spread, sliding in one direction). Continue until you’ve covered the top completely, filling in any gaps with leftover slices or pieces of slices. You can spread them over the top any way you like…from concentric circles if using a round tart pan, to fanned out rows..or just pile them on, whichever suits your fancy. Squeeze some lemon juice over the apples (making sure to keep the seeds from sneaking in), then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top.

3. Place on a baking sheet, to catch any drips, and bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400F, and bake for another 25 to 35 minutes, until the apples are soft and can be pierced easily with a knife. If the crust looks like it’s browning too fast, cover the exposed area as best you can, with some aluminum foil. Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack. If using the egg white-raw crust method, bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 400F, and bake for 30-40 minutes more, checking on it periodically.

Honey Apricot Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon apple liqueur. such as Calvados

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Let boil for about 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Brush glaze over the cooled apples.

Green Apple Ice

Green Apple Ice adapted from Traci Des Jardins

Ingredients

  • 6 Granny Smith apples (or other tart baking apples, or 2 cups apple juice* )
  • 1/2 cup Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled until somewhat thick and clear. In this case, you would combine 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan, boil until sugar has dissolved)*
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

1. Quarter apples and juice them through a fruit juicer with peels on (this helps keep the color of the ice a nice bright green).

2. Add simple syrup and lemon juice to taste. Pour into a shallow pan or a glass baking dish and place in the freezer. After 30-40 minutes, scrape the pan to break up the frozen bits and create slush. Do this again after another 30-40 minutes, then put the pan in the freezer until you’re ready to serve. (You can also do this in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s directions.)

Note: You may freeze the apple mixture overnight into a solid block, then scrape it as you would a granita, the next day.

* The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of simple syrup, but I felt that was a tad too sweet, and the ice didn’t need that much. If you prefer it sweeter, use 3/4 cup.  If using store-bought apple juice, reduce to 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup water for syrup.

UPDATE. 2014:  Lately I’ve been adding the coconut cream from a cold can of coconut milk, or just 1 cup coconut milk to the above mixture.  Do that if you want it creamier.

Fresh Green Apple Ice

Cider Caramel loosely adapted from The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil the mixture, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture turns a medium amber color.

2. Remove the from heat and carefully whisk in the apple cider or juice, and butter from a distance (as the caramel may splatter). Whisk the mixture over low heat until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve, and reserve until ready to use, or refrigerate for up to two days.

Apple Fig Mascarpone Tart with Honey Apricot Glaze

This tart, along with the apple ice, makes approximately 8-10 servings. I like to cut the rectangular tart into pie like wedges, but horizontal slices make a nice presentation too. However, if you use a round tart or springform pan, pie like wedges are the norm.

To plate, place a wedge or two (depending on how small or large you slice the tart, or if you’d like to make it a dessert for two), on the plate. Add a quenelle or scoop of the green apple ice next to the wedges, or as I did, in a small, clear or pretty bowl..since it melts pretty fast, especially if it’s a muggy day/night. Drizzle the cider caramel around the plate, and voila, it’s ready to serve and be devoured.

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