Sweet and Savory Apple Recipes From Christine Wansleben of Mise En Place
Fall is more than just a time of cooling temperatures and colorful foliage. The harvest of the season, including the apples that grow so naturally well in Virginia, produces flavors that stimulate our senses of smell and taste.
Caramelized Onion and Apple Mini Tarts with Gruyère and Thyme
Makes 32 tarts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ pounds yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound tart apples, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 teaspoon sugar
1½ ounces aged Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
1 package (1 pound) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and the 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let the filling cool to room temperature.
Position 1 rack in the upper third and 1 rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the same pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and sugar and stir to coat the apples. Cook, stirring, until the apples are just starting to caramelize and have softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the onions and stir in the cheese, chives, thyme and the 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing the squares about 1 inch apart. Brush the pastry squares with the egg mixture and place a heaping 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each square. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the pastry is crisp underneath and golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the tarts cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature.
Glazed Apple Bourbon Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more to dust the pan
3 tablespoons plus ½ cup bourbon or rye whiskey
½ cup candied ginger, chopped
1¾ cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples, about a pound, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
1 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans
½ cup granulated sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13 baking dish or a Bundt pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and remaining butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) and whisk until smooth. Stir in zest.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry, about 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cakes; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.
While the cakes cools, combine the ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.
While the cakes cool, make slits on top of each with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. When the cake is fully cool, flip it and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side, then flip again to serve.