Dessert Five-Hour Apple Cake With Orange Zest

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    Dessert

    Five-hour Apple Cake with Orange Zest

    Serves 6 to 8

    Ingredients:

    1 cup/200 g plus 10 teaspoons/40 g granulated sugar

    cup/55 ml water

    10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced on a mandoline into 1/8-inch-/3-

    mm-thick slices2 oranges (both zest and segments)

    Whipped cream

    Method:

    To make the caramel sauce:

    Place a heavy based medium sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add 1 cup/200 g ofsugar and cup/55 ml of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a

    simmer, then wipe down the sides of the pan with a moistened pastry brush to remove

    any sugar that clings to the sides of the pan.

    Cook the sugar syrup without stirring for about 8 minutes or until it is light brown,

    occasionally swirling the pan to ensure the sugar syrup browns evenly and wiping downthe sides of the pan to remove any sugar crystals.

    Remove the pan from the heat and pour the caramel into a large ceramic ovenproof

    souffl-style dish with a 2-quart/2-liter capacity. Using pot holders, pick up the ceramic

    dish and swirl the caramel around the sides of the dish to coat.

    Set the dish aside for about 10 minutes or until the caramel is cool. Place the dish in the

    refrigerator for 10 minutes or until the caramel hardens.

    To assemble the apple cake:

    Preheat the oven to 250F/120C. Arrange a neat layer of apples over the caramel on the

    bottom of the dish, overlapping and forming concentric circles. Each layer will consist ofthe slices from 1 apple.

    Sprinkle the layer of apples with 1 teaspoon/4 g of sugar and grate a little orange zestover the apples. Repeat the layering process with the remaining apples, sugar and oranges

    until all the apples have been used, alternating the direction of the concentric circles to

    increase the stability of the cake. You should have about 10 layers of apples. The appleswill extend slightly above the rim of the dish but they will sink back down into the dish

    as the cake bakes and the apples soften.

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    Cover the apple cake with aluminum foil. Place the dish in a roasting pan. Add enough

    warm water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the dish.

    Bake the apple cake for about 5 hours or until a skewer can be inserted easily through the

    middle of the cake. Remove the apple cake from the oven and allow it to cool, then place

    it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until the cake is cold.

    To serve:

    Using a sharp knife, remove the white pith from the reserved oranges. Cut the oranges

    between the membranes to release the orange segments. Set the orange segments aside.

    Place the dish of apple cake in a bowl of very hot water for about 5 minutes to loosen the

    caramel from the bottom of the dish. Place a platter atop the apple cake in the dish.

    Holding the dish with one hand and the platter with the other hand, invert the apple cake

    onto the platter. Remove the dish. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with whippedcream and the reserved orange segments.

    Pot of Melted Chocolate

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

    For the pot of melted chocolate:

    2 cups/473 ml heavy whipping cream

    10 ounces/300 g good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

    Accompaniments:

    One 1-pound/454-g basket fresh strawberries with stems, halved lengthwiseOne 6-ounce/170-g basket fresh blackberries

    One 6-ounce/170-g basket fresh raspberries

    2 bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into thick rounds4 almond biscotti

    Method:

    Place the chocolate in a bowl and set the bowl of chocolate over a saucepan of barely

    simmering water and stir until the chocolate melts. Heat the cream in a small attractive

    sauce pan over a medium heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat.

    Add the melted chocolate to the cream and stir until the mixture is well blended and

    smooth. Arrange the fruit and biscotti on a platter and serve with the pot of chocolate,

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    allowing diners to skewer the fruit with a fork and dip the fruit and biscotti into the

    melted chocolate.

    Apple and Pear Upside-Down Caramel Tarts

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

    For the tarts:

    1 cup/200 g granulated sugar

    1/4 cup/60 ml water4 ounces/113 g unsalted butter, room temperature

    teaspoon/about 1 g ground cinnamon

    2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into -inch-/1-cm-thick wedges

    2 Comice or Anjou pears, peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into -inch-/1-cm-thick

    wedges1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of 17.3-ounce/490-g package), thawed

    For the caramel sauce:

    1/2 cup/100 g granulated sugar2 tablespoons/30 ml water

    1/2 cup/115 ml whipping cream

    Method:

    For the tarts:

    Stir the sugar and water in a heavy based medium sized saucepan over a medium heat

    until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer, occasionally brushing downthe sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the side.

    The sugar that clings to the side of the pan has a tendency to crystallize and ruin the silky

    consistency of the caramel, so wiping the sugar off the sides of the pan will help prevent

    this from happening.

    Allow the sugar syrup to boil without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and

    swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for about 8 minutes or until itbegins to turn golden brown. You will need to watch the syrup closely as it can burn

    quite easily.

    Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and the

    mixture forms a caramel sauce. Stir in the cinnamon. Pour the caramel sauce into four 4-

    inch-/10-cm-diameter cake pans with at least 1 3/4-inch-/4.5-cm-high sides, dividingequally. Allow the caramel to cool.

    Arrange a layer of the apples and pears decoratively over the caramel, then stack the

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    remaining apples and pears to fill the pans completely. Unfold the pastry on a work

    surface and press the seams together if necessary. Cut out four 4-inch/10-cm rounds.

    Place the pastry rounds over the apples and pears and tuck the pastry down between the

    sides of the pans. Prick the pastry 5 to 6 times with a fork or small sharp knife. Cover the

    tarts with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day to chill thepastry.

    Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Transfer the tarts to a baking sheet and bake for about30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through and the apples are

    very tender. Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and

    the juices to cool and thicken slightly.

    Meanwhile, to make the caramel sauce:

    Stir the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar

    dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer, occasionally brushing down the sides of thepan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the side.

    Allow the sugar syrup to boil without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and

    swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for 8 minutes or until it begins toturn golden brown. Add the cream and stir to blend. Remove the pan from the heat and

    cool slightly.

    To serve the upside-down tarts:

    Place a plate over each tart. In a swift movement, invert each tart onto each plate.

    Remove the pans. If the plate is a little messy, you may want to transfer the upside-downtarts to clean plates to serve. Drizzle some of the caramel sauce around the upside tartsand serve. Reserve any remaining caramel sauce in the refrigerator for another use.

    Strawberries Dipped In Chocolate

    Makes about 2 dozen

    Ingredients:

    1 pound/450 g fresh large strawberries with stems

    8 ounces/225 g high quality dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), chopped2 ounces/55 g high quality white chocolate, chopped

    Method:

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly rinse the strawberries with cold water

    and arrange them on paper towels. Pat each strawberry dry with dry paper towels to

    ensure no moisture remains on the strawberries. Be sure the strawberries are completely

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    dry before dipping them into the chocolate since any moisture on the strawberries will

    cause the chocolate to seize and become firm.

    Place the dark chocolate in a small bowl and set the bowl over a small saucepan of barely

    simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts. Remove the pan from the heat.

    Holding 1 strawberry by the green stem, dip the strawberry into the melted darkchocolate. Gently shake some of the excess chocolate back into the bowl.

    Place the strawberry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remainingstrawberries and dark chocolate. Allow the dark chocolate to set.

    Place the white chocolate in another small bowl and set the bowl over the saucepan of

    barely simmering water. Stir constantly until the white chocolate melts.

    Pour the melted white chocolate onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Gather the sides of the

    plastic wrap and hold the pouch of white chocolate firmly. Twist the pouch. Pierce the

    bottom of the pouch with a sharp cocktail stick or skewer and drizzle the white chocolate

    decoratively