Sunday, April 11, 2010
Caramelized Apples & Cheddar
One of my simplest desserts, but it's coming from a variety of influences and angles. Allow me to share?
You'd think that growing up with a diabetic mother would have led to a lot of good dietary habits, but no. For the most part, the general prescription for diabetics was to eat very little "sugar" but tons of carbs, timed perfectly with your insulin shots. I don't want to get too far off track, since I could go on and on about better ways for diabetics to eat. But now's not the time.
One thing that I did learn was to he happy with things less sweet that you might expect. A no-sugar-added apple pie, for instance. Apples are pretty sweet on their own, so I always loved them. Sweet and tart, and since the crust was always a little salty, it had it all. Not that it was all that much better for my mom, since the salt came from a double crust with the number one ingredient being carbohydrate.
French Provencal Cooking
I think that's where the tarte tatin comes from, right? It's an upside down apple tart, where the apples are caramelized in butter and sugar, then topped with a crust, baked, then flipped. Only the "OMG" of internet and txt msg vernacular can properly get across how good these things are. Sweet, salty, buttery, terribly delicious. Enough said.
A regular ol' chain restaurant with great chili and cornbread, plus tons of pies, pies, pies! They had a rhyme on their napkins that said "Apple pie without some cheese, is like a kiss withought a squeeze." After many years of thinking that sounded revolting, I finally tried it. OMG again. Hot apple pie, with a big melted slice of cheddar cheese is simply amazing.
With a goal of making things simple but delicious, I distilled this dessert down to the basics. Tart green Granny Smith apple provides the sweetness and crunch, and the tangy sharp cheddar and browned butter give it the saltiness that rounds it out.
Caramelized Apples & Cheddar
1 medium Granny Smith apple
1 tsp butter
1 oz cheddar cheese (the sharper the better for me)
Cut the apple into wedges and remove the core. Slice the cheese into thin slices.
Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add the apples to the pan and allow them to start browning, turning periodically to even them out. With just one apple, it's pretty easy to turn the wedges, but if you're cooking for 2-4 people, you'll just have to lightly flip and shake the pan to cook them evenly. When the apples are almost done, stir in the butter and shake and swirl the pan to evenly coat the apples. Let the butter brown, if you like, but be careful not to burn it.
Place the hot apples in serving dishes, and lay the slices of cheese over the apples. If the bowls are deeper (or cups), you can do it in layers. If the apples have cooled too much to melt the cheese, you can put them under the broiler for a minute. I've heard of people using the microwave, but that's probably just a vicious rumor!
Nutrition: Calories - 206, Fat - 12g, Carb - 21g, Fiber - 3g, Protein - 6g