November 11, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Apple Crisp with Sweet Ginger and Macadamia Nuts )

Yes, we're back for a second week of apple recipes.

Initially, I only meant to bring you five.  I made a list of all the apple recipes I've been hoarding, and tried them all so I could offer you the best of the best.

But something shocking happened.  They mostly sucked.  Really sucked.  It baffles me that so many test-kitchen-approved, professionally-edited recipes could be such abject failures.

 Sure, some disasters can be chalked up to user error.  A miscalibrated oven or overbeaten egg whites or a heavy hand while measuring the flour.  But these disasters edged into "worst cook in the world" territory, and the kitchen and I aren't exactly strangers.

And then there were the recipes that, while technically flawless, just didn't taste good.  

I'm looking at you, Apple-Caraway Soup and Leek-and-Apple-Topped Hot Dogs.  

I'd hoped that by being adventurous I'd be rewarded with a surprising new weeknight favorite.  Instead, I was rewarded with a late-night trip to the drive-through.  I have too little stomach space to waste it on food whose only value lies in its shock value.

But there were also recipes that just didn't seem interesting enough to share.  There are a thousand recipes for apple pie out there, and you have access to Google. Do you really need me to offer you a recipe that sounds just like all the rest? 

That's why I'm offering you this Crisp recipe today.  This clever fellow is one of a kind.  Instead of the holy apple seasoning trifecta of cinnamon, cinnamon and nutmeg [acceptable substitution: cinnamon ], this recipe pairs apples with two kinds of ginger, puckery lime, and a topping made with macadamia nuts.  It's a decidedly island-ey apple crisp, the kind of recipe that renews your faith in recipe developers and inspires you to try another 9 apple recipes before common sense steps in and tells you you've done enough.

Stay tuned for week two, folks.

Apple Crisp with Sweet Ginger and Macadamia Nuts
from Greg Patent
at Food & Wine

Flour  [ 1 1/4 cups ]
Dark Brown Sugar  [ packed, 1/2 cup ]
Ground Ginger  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Cinnamon  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Salt  [ 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 1/2 cup, cut into 8 pieces ]
Macadamia Nuts  [ 3/4 cup, finely chopped ]
Granny Smith Apples  [ 3 1/2 pounds, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced ]
Crystallized Ginger  [ finely chopped, 1/3 cup ]
Sugar   [ 1/2 cup ]
Lime Zest  [ from 1 lime ]
Lime Juice  [ from 1 lime ]

Vanilla Ice Cream  [ for serving ]

1.   Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2.   In a food processor, pulse Flour with Brown Sugar, Ground Ginger, Cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon
         of the Salt until mixed.
3.   Add Butter; pulse until Butter is the size of small peas.
4.   Add Macadamia Nuts and pulse just until mixed in.
5.   In a large bowl, mix Apples with Crystallized Ginger, Sugar, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, and 1 pinch
         of Salt.
6.   Spread Apple Mixture in bottom of 9x13" baking pan.
7.   Sprinkle Crumb Topping over Apples.
8.   Bake until Crisp is bubbling and golden [ about 50 minutes ]
9.   Allow to cool at least 30 minutes.
10.   Serve with Ice Cream.

Makes 1  9x13-inch pan [ or a whole bunch of smaller ramekins that you laid out in the counter and meticulously arranged until they looked like they added up to about 9x13.  Your call. ].

This Time Last Year on Being a Bear:
Fresh Mozzarella, Prosciutto, and Fig Jam Panini

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