Apples. Such a basic common fruit, yet amazingly popular. To me, apples are almost like bread, or water. Something that every household has. A key ingredient to many classics: apple crumble, apple pie, apple cake, apple juice, candied apples, apple compote, vinegar, Calvados...just some examples on the top of my head. Apples come in different colours and slightly different shapes, with an array of smells and tastes. And it's only 50kcal the apple (and plenty of health benefits)- which is great for our waistlines. I don't think I realized the glory of apples until I started writing about it...as I am now.
One of the things I enjoy doing is taking classics and adding a crazy touch to it...like a crazy classic. A recent classic I worked on was apple pie. I had different thoughts running through my mind, but I couldn't settle down on one... All these ingredients-ideas were travelling through my brain without a destination to reach... it was just one big mess in my head. Until it finally came. I knew what I was going to do- and the best part was that I already had all the ingredients!
My base ingredients were apples (duh!), shortcut pastry, and nougat. The pastry went in the moulds, the apples were sliced, the nougat was melted.
Once pastry and apples were in the moulds, I gently poured over a thick layer of the melted nougat. I covered the moulds with some aluminium and then placed them in the oven for a few minutes, so that the apple part would bake. During the second half of the baking time, I removed the aluminium, and in those minutes, something fabulous happens to the nougat. It blends with the apple juices and makes it's way inside the shortcut pastry. The result is a wonderful unexplicable texture and smell to what is no longer a conservative apple pie.
When the pies were ready, I realized something was still missing. Maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Ya, but that was also very classic. But what if it was accompanied with some caramel sauce? Hmm... deja-vu. But what if I added a mix of spices into the caramel sauce? Yes! No we're talking. What was I going to add though? I went through the spices-shelf, with my fingers rapidly keeping those with potential and those without. Very spontaneously, I decided to incorporate a mixture of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger into my caramel sauce.
When I took out the apple pies to my appointed tasters (a special circle of family & friends who hold the responsability of testing and commenting on my food) I presented to them dishes of what they thought was a classic, until I started to explain: apple & nougat pie, vanilla ice cream and caramel & 4 spices (with the spices sprinkled on the plates as well). I wished them bon appetit and anxiously waited for their remarks and observed the expressions on their face. Without wanting to sound full of myself, I have to admit that these apple pies were a success! Something I will make again without hesitation.