We are cooking "From the Orchard" at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week, selecting recipes featuring fall fruit from Tessa Kiros. I wanted something quick and easy to make before heading out of town to Portland for a visit, so I chose the simple Mele Cotte con Amaretti or Cooked Apples with Amaretti from Venezia: Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros.
Tessa says, "This is a very simple, homestyle desert. I like to make it with 2 green and 2 red apples—not because I can see any difference at the end, but it looks great before it goes into the oven! If you are serving more than 4 people, you can easily add a couple more apples and just increase the other ingredients accordingly. It’s best to use a baking dish that fits the apples fairly snugly."
Mele Cotte con Amaretti (Cooked Apples with Amaretti)
From Venezia by Tessa Kiros
4 lovely apples
10 small amaretti cookies
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp grappa or brandy (I used Calvados [Apple Brandy])
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups white wine
2 strips orange peel
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Core the apples, leaving the apples in one piece. Prick the peel a few times with the point of a sharp knife. Using a mortar and pestle (or rolling pin or heavy bottle), crush the amaretti with the raisins and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until roughly smashed. Add the grappa, mix well, and stuff into the center of each apple.
Put the apples in a baking dish and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the tops. Divide the butter into four and put a blob on top of each apple. Pour the wine around the apples, then add the final tablespoon of sugar and the orange peel to the wine. Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 20 minutes or until tender. Uncover and cook for another 20 minutes, basting the apples with the pan juices a couple of times, until they are well cooked but not split.
Remove the cooked apples from the dish, turn the oven temperature right up, and return the dish to the oven to reduce the sauce until golden (or do this on the stovetop). Serve the apples warm, or at room temperature, with the juice spooned up and around.
Notes/Results: Simple, homey and good--like an apple pie without the crust. These apples are an adult dessert--sweet but not too sweet and with a hit of flavor from the brandy (I used apple brandy) and white wine. The amaretti and golden raisins make a nicely textured filling. This is a dessert that says "orchard in the fall" and I would make it again.
You can see what orchard delights the other IHCC peeps made this week by going to the post (here) and following the links.
I will continue be a bit absent this week from the blogging world as I am spending my time hanging out in Portland with my family. Souper Sundays is still on and it's the 3rd Anniversary of this weekly event--so if you have a soup, salad or sandwich and want to join in the Anniversary Round Up on Sunday, I would love to have you.