Fall is here! I love this season, the time when it starts to get cold, you crave warm comfort food, the boots and sweaters can come out from the back of the closet, and apples are everywhere. (Not to mention roasted chestnuts, pumpkins, butternut squash ... I love fall food!)
Germany and Austria, as you may know, are known for amazing apfelstrudel. Aaron and I were in Berlin in September for a four-day weekend. What an amazing city, filled with history and great food. We stopped at an outdoor
cafe one afternoon so I could enjoy an apfelstrudel (Aaron has never been a fan of apples, so he just had an espresso). When my dessert arrived, it consisted of a beautiful pale phyllo pastry, filled with apples, cinnamon, raisins, nuts and butter. The best part: a creme anglaise sauce to pour over the top of the strudel. And the cafe was not stingy with the sauce; there was more than enough for the strudel.
The only problem: it looked so good that Aaron needed to try it and suddenly discovered that apples are really good when cooked in pastry and covered with a rich, smooth vanilla sauce (but then, what isn't?). He was lovely enough to only take a few bites of mine, showing great self-restraint. But, he thought about it for the rest of the day, and the next day, when we were riding bikes all the way across town, he suddenly decided that he couldn't wait any longer. So we made a beeline for another apfelstrudel. And now, my husband is a convert to the delicious apple.
Now that the apples are filling the markets, I made my own apple dessert for friends last night. I based it on an apple crumble recipe I found, but changed it quite a bit. It was delicious, served with a dollop of creme fraiche on top. Simple to make, and a delicious end to a good meal. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I'll be making it again tomorrow (but with more of the crumble, as requested by Aaron.)
Pommes avec Deux Sucres
6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks (you can also use whole cored apples, with the filling stuffed into the center cavity)
I used gala apples, but any tart, firm apple will work
50 grams regular, white sugar
50 grams cane sugar (or sugar in the raw)
100 grams butter, melted
120 grams almond flour
Optional 30 grams crushed nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans are great) and/or raisins or dried cranberries
In a medium bowl, mix the two sugars into the melted butter. Add the almond flour, and mix well. The mixture will be crumbly and moist.
Spread the apple pieces in an oiled baking pan with 1-inch sides (to keep the butter in the pan). Pour the butter mixture over the apples and mix well, ensuring all apple pieces are coated with butter and some of the crumble.
Bake in the oven at 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit until soft and slightly gooey, approximately 35-40 minutes. Stir the apples and re-distribute the butter and crumble as needed every 10-15 minutes to ensure they don't burn or dry out.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream. (I'll work on a creme anglaise recipe for another day!)