poached apples

pple season is nigh!  Bring on the apple crisps, apple pies, apple cider, all the apple things.  This little dessert is kind of like a single serving apple pie, sans crust.  I like apple pie, but this is a bit more fancy looking, like apple pie's sophisticated little sister.  Before making this I don't think I'd ever poached anything and I certainly hadn't thought about poaching apples, just eggs.  The first time I did it I poached the apples too long and they turned into a disintegrating mess but the second time they were just right.  You can poach apples in just water, but I saw quite a few recipes that recommended doing it in apple cider, so I opted for that and I really liked the results.

I've also seen some really amazing looking poached pear recipes that I think I might try next.  This poaching thing is so new to me!  Have you poached anything before?  I still haven't poached eggs, so maybe I should try that, eh?  Eggs Benedict anyone?  

Poached Apples with Whipped Cream
(recipe via epicurious)

6 medium Gala apples (about 3 pounds), cored from bottom, leaving stems on
1/2 lemon
1/2 gallon apple cider
1 cup packed light brown sugar

1. Peel the top third of each apple and rub peeled part with lemon half. Put apples in a large 5-quart pot and add cider and brown sugar. 

2. Bring to a boil, covered, over medium heat (this will take 25 to 30 minutes). 

3. Remove from heat and cool apples in cider, covered, about 1 hour.  While apples are cooling, make the toppings.

Candied Pecans
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Pinch sal

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.

2. Stir together all ingredients with a pinch of salt, then spread out on a baking sheet.  Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Transfer to a rack and loosen nuts, then cool (nuts will crisp as they cool).

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp dark rum
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Beat cream with sugar, rum, and vanilla using an electric mixer until it just holds soft peaks.

2. Drain apples (you can save the poaching liquid for another use), and put an apple on each plate.  Sprinkle with candied pecans and some cinnamon sugar. Dollop cream next to each apple and for extra decadence, drizzle caramel sauce all over!