Dealing with all these apples

By Chef Polina, www.caliblini.com

My friends’ apple tree has gone crazy this year. It’s seriously over-producing. There are more apples then leaves, and the branches bend all the way to the ground and threaten to break. My friends use any excuse to get me over to their place to pick apples.

The apples are Rome Beauties, medium-size, firm, thick skinned, crunchy, tasty, and great for either eating or cooking. I’ve been cooking a lot with apples these days. I’ve done simple apple tartlets with store-bought puff pastry topped with apples stewed until soft with rum and a little sugar, the same stewed apples baked in a pie crust and glazed with whatever jam was on hand (this time it was leftover wild strawberry preserve; it’s fragrance blended with that of the apples beautifully), canned apple butter, and accompanied almost every family dinner with some form of cooked apples.

Here are a couple of simple ideas about what to do with all these apples.

Pork chops with apples and sage

Serves 6

2 Tbsp olive oil

6 boneless pork chops

salt, pepper

3 apples, quartered and cored

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

12 sage leaves, thinly sliced + more to garnish

½ cup apple sider

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate. Add apples and cook, turning, to caramelize on all sides. Remove to a plate. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add sliced sage leaves, cook 1 minute more. Add apple cider; scrape the sides of the pan to deglaze. Cook the sauce to reduce by one half. Add pork chops back to the pan; top with apples, cover, reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Serve with roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, garnished with sage leaves.

Clafoutis with apples and almond

I have developed this recipe on request from a nutritionist friend. She handed me a clafoutis recipe from her kids’ cookbook and asked whether it can be made into a low-gluten, low carb healthy version. I have replaced the flour with almond meal and sugar with honey. And I had all these apples to play with!

Note: Honey is more difficult then sugar to blend smoothly into the batter. Warming up the jar of honey in a pot of  hot water makes the honey more fluid, easier to pour and blend.

Serves 8

Butter for greasing the baking dish

3 medium apples, quartered and cored

3 Tbsp butter

3 large eggs

½ cup honey

½ cup light cream

1/3 cup almond meal

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a round baking dish with butter. Melt butter in a small pan. In a bowl, beat together melted butter, eggs, honey, cream, and almond meal.

Arrange quartered apples in an attractive pattern in the baking dish and pour batter over them.

Bake 40-45 minutes, until set in the center. Let cool and serve.

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