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Monday, January 31, 2011

Tarte Tatin and Fried Apples



A few months ago, I came across a reference to "tarteTatin," in a New York Times article, found at:

http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/the-wonders-of-tarte-tatin/?pagemode=print


As I read about this tart with apples caramelized before baking, I realized how much the preparation of the fruit reminded me of the way my mother made "fried apples." Served with bread and butter and glasses of milk, her simple dish became a meal my Dad would often ask for on cold winter nights after all of us had grown and left the home.

Between those memories and the method described in the article, I decided to try an adaptation of the apple crisp that I often fall back on for a quick dessert. Crisps are nice because they provide a fruity filling without the extra work--and usually higher fat content--of a pastry crust. The results of my experimentation have been wonderful. Try one for yourself today; warm apple pie smells in a wintry kitchen will be welcoming for whoever enters your home--and the taste is even better!

"Fried Apple Crisp"

5 cups apples, cored and thinly sliced but not peeled
1/2 to 2/3 cups sugar--the amount used will depend on the tartness of the apple variety; I used Honey Gold and Harrelson, but Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or other firm late season apples would also be good
1 t cinnamon
2 T butter

Topping
2 T butter
1/3 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t nutmeg
1 c oatmeal
1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Spread the apples in a large non-stick skillet and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and allow to cook slowly, stirring occasionally. When the apples start to release their juices, remove the cover, add the butter and stir gently. Continue cooking until the apples are barely tender.

Meanwhile, combine the topping ingredients until crumbly and well mixed.

Pour the apples and all the juices into a deep 9 inch pie pan. Spread the topping evenly, covering all the apples completely. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve warm or cold.


In case you'd like to try the old-fashioned "fried apple" recipe, here is the way my Mom wrote it down for me, many years ago.


Fried Apples

5 or 6 large apples
2/3 c sugar
cinnamon
salt, pepper
1/3 stick margarine

I put margarine in skillet, add everything else, cover and cook slowly until apples are just tender. Uncover, and let juices cook down a little. Serve hot.

(Mom was cooking back when margarine was the "healthy"fat--as well as being more within her budget than butter. If you try this, don't omit a sprinkle of good black pepper; it's amazing how much it adds to the dish.)





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