some things that you do are inextricably linked to the season.
is it possible to pick apples without feeling like autumn? nursing a cup of hot apple cider, taking a hayride to the orchard, wandering the trees and finding the perfect apple – it just wouldn’t work in any other season. and if you ever go to russell orchards, you know that their absolutely perfect apple cider donuts usher in the fall like nothing else.
i love eating apples on their own, with a block of good cheese and a glass of wine. or with a glob of peanut butter. or bite by bite, wandering through an orchard. but apples are just so good with cinnamon and pastry that it’s hard to resist putting something together, especially when you’re heading to a friend’s house for drinks.
you may remember a few months ago, while i was in culinary classes, i made a layered crepe dessert with berries and lemon cream, based on an apple and almond crepe dessert that we made in baking class. it tasted great, though it didn’t look as beautiful as one would hope. but after coming home with fresh cider and a bag filled with empire and gingergold apples, i knew i wanted to make something beyond the traditional apple pie.
layers of thin, buttery crepes, topped with rich, boozy applesauce and crunchy almonds. top it with butter and sugar, bake the whole confection, and serve it with cider, coffee, rum, or whatever else strikes your fancy. the original recipe for this delightful dessert was created and provided by our baking instructor, janine sciarappa, but i did make a few small changes – namely, a bit more booze and some cinnamon, and i left out the heavy cream since i was out. this is a great recipe to play with, using your favorite apples and spices to create something wonderful.
i like to use julia child’s crepe recipe, and i recommend preparing the crepes while the apples are simmering.
gateau de crepes a la normande
2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and rough chopped (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp dark rum (i like appleton estates)
10-12 cooked crepes, all around 6 inches in diameter
1/2 cup powdered almonds
2 tbsp slivered or sliced almonds
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
in a large covered saute pan, cook the apples with 1 tablespoon of water on low heat for about 20 minutes, until apples are tender. uncover, add sugar and raise heat, stirring well, for about 5 minutes. your applesauce should be thick and stand on its own. feel free to add more sugar if you feel it’s not sweet enough. add cinnamon, almond extract and dark rum.
to prepare the dessert, center a crepe in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. with a teaspoon, spread a layer of applesauce over the crepe and sprinkle a bit of the powdered almonds on top. continue making layers of applesauce, crepes and almonds, ending with a crepe. sprinkle the slivered or sliced almonds over the last crepe, then pour on the butter and top with sugar.