Sunday, October 21, 2012

October

The sun appears and then it plays hide-and-seek. Clouds form in the sky with shades of gray, blue and purple, disappearing in the blink of an eye, puffed away by the strong winds.






The pavements are wet, sometimes by the rain, sometimes by the humidity which makes the trees seem to float above the ground. The leaves cover every street corner, every entrance door and their slippery texture makes dogs glide through parks.






Rain hits the window of my bedroom making it difficult to fall asleep and then difficult to wake up. Cups of hot tea and warm cocoa fill my mornings and early evenings.






And then there's the apples and the pears. Their colors suit those of autumn days. The pale greens, the rusty goldens, the deep scarlets. Dimples and spots, stems and cores. It makes you wonder how it can be that nature has imagined such beautiful colors.






An empty pan that begs to be filled, a whiff of vanilla coming from a freshly split-open bean, seeds stuck on the wooden board and my fingertips. Maple syrup, bought on a whim from an open market, still sealed, is coming handy right about now. Flowing and sweet, in its small, barrel-shaped bottle.






Dutch butter, the best there is, cut into pieces, melting in the hot pan. Apples making friends with cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl, waiting to be glazed. Golden raisins, dried and sweet, soaking up the juices.






Glistening, speckled and dripping with maple syrup caramel, the apples are eaten. One pan, two forks, a dollop of rich yoghurt. A mid-afternoon scene in an apartment somewhere in The Hague.











Caramelized Apples with Golden Raisins, Maple Syrup and Greek Yoghurt
Adapted from Dutch Delicious

Maple syrup is an ingredient made in heaven, really, but in case you can't find it easily where you live, you can substitute with a good-quality runny honey.

The following day, we enjoyed the caramelized apples and their lovely juices on top of crunchy homemade waffles, for breakfast. If you're more inclined to have pancakes in the morning, add a spoonful of these apples on top. Instant magic.

Don't be tempted to skip the yoghurt. It's there to temper the sweetness of the syrup and apples.






Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
Juice of ½ large lemon, freshly squeezed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
4 large, sweet apples (I used fuji), about 650 g
45 g unsalted butter
2 tsp good quality olive oil
125 ml clear apple juice
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (both pod and seeds will be added to the dish)
70 ml pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp yellow raisins

for maple syrup yoghurt
300 ml Greek strained yoghurt, full-fat (I use Total)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1½ Tbsp pure maple syrup


Preparation
In a medium-sized bowl, add the lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Rinse the apples, peel them and cut each one into 8 wedges. Place wedges in the bowl as soon as you cut them. The lemon will prevent them from oxidizing and changing to an unappetizing color. Stir the apples around every time you add more wedges to the bowl, to make sure they are all coated with the lemon juice and spices.

In a large, high-sided, non-stick skillet or frying pan, add the butter and the olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the apples and stir around to coat them with the butter and oil, for a couple of minutes.


Add the apple juice and the split vanilla bean along with the seeds, stir well and cover the pan with the lid. If you don't have a lid for the pan, cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Turn heat down to medium-low and allow the apples to cook for about 15 minutes, until they are tender but not mushy or too soft, shaking the pan from time to time but being careful not to break up the apples.
When ready, remove the apple wedges carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl. Remove the vanilla bean as well.

Add the maple syrup and the raisins to the pan, turn heat up to medium-high and let the sauce boil for 4 minutes, until it is thick and syrupy. Don't allow the syrup to boil for too long though, you don't want your syrup to be too thick.
Remove the pan from the heat and return apples to the pan. Stir gently to coat and allow to slightly cool.

for maple syrup yoghurt
In the meantime, place the yoghurt in a bowl, stir in the vanilla extract and pour the maple syrup over the top.

Serve while the apples are still warm, adding a dollop of yoghurt over the apples for each serving.

They are best served the same day but you can reheat them and have them the next day as well. Keep them covered, at room temperature.






More apples:
Dutch Apple Pie
Endive Salad with Apples, Walnuts and Roquefort Cheese with Raspberry Vinaigrette


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15 comments:

  1. Lovely photos, I can almost taste them. :)

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  2. such lyrical writing in this post, Magda--a pleasure to read.
    Happily, good maple syrup is easy to find where I live, as are luscious apples and pears. I really enjoy the shifting colors of the season.

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  3. These apples look delicious! I can see them being the perfect topping for yogurt!

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  4. Mmmmh, a true Fall/Winter dish. I could almost smell it cooking while I was reading.

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  5. Love it all .... apples, raisins, cinnamon, maple syrup. what a wonderful combination and it looks divine!.

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  6. Beautiful and classic. There is something comforting about eating things like this - or sipping your cocoa - when the weather is dark and dreary...

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  7. Magda, your husband is so so lucky! Will make these soon as we are drowning under a glut of apples, and more apples!!! Cant always eat them fresh, this is such a fantastic option!

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  8. I have just relised that I was reading this entire post with my mouth agape! What beautifully, evocative writing. You make me yearn for Autumn again.

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  9. I made the apples yesterday, what a succes! We had them with home-made vanilla icecream and pancakes,...jummie!!!!!

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    1. That's wonderful to read! I'm so happy you enjoyed them!

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  10. THIS is a dish that I like! Must try it!

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  11. Magda, I love everything about this dish. I could dive into your photos today.
    xo
    E

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  12. Wow, I am in love with this and I haven't even tried it yet! I KNOW I love all these flavors together and the photos are stunning! :)

    Sues

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  13. Your recipe and photos captured October to perfection. I try to work Maple Syrup into any recipe I can. Lovely with fruit.

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