apple

Apple and Calvados Bavarian Cake

Calvados, or aged French apple brandy, is produced in Normandy, one of the world’s great centers of apple cultivation. Sweet, tart, and bitter apples are first pressed and fermented into hard (alcoholic) cider, then the cider is distilled into Calvados that’s aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two years, often much longer for premium brands. Two-year-old Calvados is fine for making desserts, as is American applejack, which is made in a similar manner. This cake is for a special fall or winter occasion; it’s not only delicious, but beautiful as well. Crowned with a ring of apple wedges poached in white wine and glazed with apricot jam, it’s so impressive that everyone will ask you for the recipe.

Apple Maple Tart Tatin

This tasty twist on the classic French recipe adds some maple syrup to the caramel mixture used to flavor the apples.  The recipe is from David Lebovitz’ new book, l’appart, about the ups and downs of buying and renovating his Paris apartment.  It’s a fun read and there are a dozen or so great new recipes.  This appears here with his permission.

Breton Apple Pie

A gateau Breton is a wonderful French cake, very much like a very dense pound cake, and is a specialty of Brittany. This non-traditional version of it adds a layer of a cooked apple filling between layers of the dough. The crust is easy to prepare—you just press it into the pan. For the top crust you’ll need a couple of cake cardboards or tart pan bottoms the same diameter as the pan. My dear friend Stephanie Weaver gave me this recipe close to 30 years ago and I have made it countless times, always to rave reviews. Because the baked dough has a cake-like rather than a crisp texture, it freezes beautifully—I keep a couple in the freezer around the holidays.

Tarte Tatin

I first encountered Tarte Tatin in early 1974, when I lived briefly with the Pinelli family at their small hotel in Monte Carlo. Raymonde Pinelli loved apples in all forms and had beautiful 19th-century earthenware Calvados jugs in the shape of apples, which I have to confess I coveted. Raymonde’s method of preparing Tarte Tatin involved repeatedly turning wedges of her favorite apples, les Golden, in a buttery caramel in a flimsy aluminum tart pan set atop a flame tamer on her big commercial range.

Blueberry and Apple Pie

Tart apples marry well with sweet, spicy blueberries, even though their seasons are fairly opposite. In early summer when blueberries come into season there are always imported apples available, and when apples come into season it’s okay to use frozen blueberries. I find that dicing the apples quite small makes them cook through easily, and their tartness gives a better boost to the blueberry flavor than adding lemon juice or zest.