This would make an elegant dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, either on its own or to accompany your pumpkin pie. The tart cranberries help cut the sweetness of the caramelized apple.
EXPERIENCE LEVEL: YIELD: 6 SERVINGS
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 spicy-sweet, crisp Macintosh apples, peeled and cored and cut into 1⁄2 -inch cubes
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon lemon zest
1⁄3 cup apple cider
1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch, as needed
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples to the pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Sauté the apples, stirring frequently, for 6–8 minutes, just until they start to soften. Sprinkle the apples with the remaining sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Toss the mixture gently and cook over medium heat for an additional 2 minutes, until the sugar begins to caramelize and the apples are crisp-tender. Transfer the apples from the skillet to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon.
Turn the heat to high and add the apple cider to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer the cider and pan juices 1–3 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. If you desire a thicker sauce, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 teaspoon water, stir it into the sauce, and allow it to thicken for a moment.
You can mix the apples with cranberries to create a more intense cranberry flavor. Take it a step further and use dried cranberries as opposed to fresh.
1 1⁄4 cups sugar, divided
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs 2 tablespoons brandy 1
⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice Dash of salt
2 cups lukewarm milk
Heat 3⁄4 cup sugar in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and golden brown. Gradually stir in the water. Divide syrup evenly among six 6-ounce custard cups. Let stand until hard, about 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Thoroughly mix in remaining ingredients except milk, then gradually stir in milk and mix well. Pour the mixture over the syrup in each custard cup. Place cups in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan on the middle oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan, around the custard cups, to within 1⁄2 inch of cup tops. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove cups from water. Refrigerate until chilled.
CRANBERRY–WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1 1⁄2 cups fresh cranberries 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup water Zest of 1 medium orange
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or triple sec
1⁄2 cup finely chopped white chocolate 1 cup heavy whipping cream
In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and becomes jamlike, about 8–10 minutes total. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a medium bowl, pressing hard on the solids. Add the orange zest and liqueur, and stir. Cool to room temperature.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped white chocolate by heating it in 30-second intervals in the microwave. Stir well with a fork between each interval and cook only until the chocolate is smooth when stirred.
Whip the cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold about a third of the whipped cream into the cranberry mixture, then fold in the melted chocolate. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Spoon or pipe into six serving glasses or bowls. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. If you need to refrigerate longer than 2 hours, cover with plastic wrap without touching the surface.