Recently the boyfriend (Yes, I have one and the fuzzy feeling of using that title hasn’t worn off yet.) and I headed up to Indiana to do a day of fall activities. First on the agenda was apple picking at Garwood Orchard.
What’s been an annual tradition for me (albeit at different orchards having now lived in three states) was a first for him, so I had a blast sharing my love of apple picking, pumpkin patches, and changing leaves. As usual, I over picked, ending up with nearly a bushel of apples as well as some u-pick bell and banana peppers. I’ve never seen u-pick vegetables, so these were a fun first for me.
In a word, I was in heaven. If I could make fall last all year round I would. If someone knows of a place that is fall all year long perhaps a move is in order. As if the day wasn’t good enough, we concluded it with wine tasting at the nearby Anderson Winery & Vineyard where we tasted a plethora of wines, before deciding on a bottle of Seyval Blanc, made from grapes from their own vineyard.
Enjoyed at a picnic table on their grounds, it was cool and crisp, the perfect compliment to an unseasonably warm fall day. And once back in my own kitchen, I was inspired to create an apple-centric dish (expect a lot of these while I make my way through my bounty) which I brought to my cooking club potluck along with the Two-Bite Salmon en Croute with Figs and Caramelized Onions I previously blogged about. With this dish I went for a sweet take. I’ve always loved strawberry shortcake and thought it would be fun to do a version with apples instead.
With this version I pair sauteed apples with a vanilla bean scented caramel sauce for a dessert that is the perfect blend of sweet, decadent, crisp, and fresh. I’m already thinking it would be equally amazing with some fresh bananas in place of the apples. Perhaps that version will have to come when local, seasonal fruit is hard to come by.
Caramel sauce adapted from My Baking Addiction and shortcakes adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yields 10 servings
-1 and 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
-1/2 vanilla bean
-1 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
-1 tablespoon light corn syrup
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
-1 and 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, divided
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup cornstarch
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-Coarse sugar, if desired, for sprinkling on the shortcakes
-2 large cooking/baking apples (I used Fuji), peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-Whipped cream for serving, if desired
Warm the cream over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean and using your knife, scrape the seeds into the cream. Keep over low heat to allow the vanilla flavor to infuse while you make your caramel.
In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, light corn syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Place your candy thermometer into the pot making sure that it is immersed in your sugar mixture.
Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber (temperature will reach 380 degrees F). I like to keep a silicone pastry brush and a dish of water nearby to brush down the sides of the pan to keep any sugar that bubbles up onto the sides from burning. Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.
Use a heat-resistant rubber spatula to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the thicker part that settles on the bottom. Stir two tablespoons of the butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the rest of the shortcake components.
To make the shortcakes, stir together the flour, cornstarch, remaining salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in enough of the remaining heavy cream to moisten the dough thoroughly. (You’ll want to add it 1/4 cup at a time to ensure the right consistency.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and very gently pat it into an 8″ circle about 3/4″ thick. Use a sharp biscuit cutter to cut rounds or alternatively, use a cookie scoop for a more rustic look. Melt two tablespoons of the butter. Dip the rounds into melted butter, and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake the shortcakes in an oven preheated to 425 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes, till they’re golden brown.
While the shortcakes are baking, make the sauteed apples. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; sauté 6 minutes or until apples are just tender. Stir in the cinnamon and remove from the heat.
To assemble the shortcakes, slice each shortcake in half. Place the bottom half on a plate, top with sauteed apples followed by a generous drizzle of the caramel sauce. Dollop on whipped cream, if using, and top with the top half of the shortcake, cut side down.
I still have WAY too many apples on hand. What else should I make with my stash?