It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving 2011 is just 10 days away. I live for this holiday all year. It's the only holiday that completely revolves around a meal. You can make your arguments for Halloween and the candy or Christmas and buche noel, but Thanksgiving is all about making a big meal and sharing it with friends and family.
This year I have been charged with bringing a pecan pie to Thanksgiving dinner and I will be sure to share every sweet and savory detail, but I was thinking recently that sometimes it's fun to take a classic, say apple pie, and give it a new twist for a holiday feast. Maybe it was this stroke of creativity or my beloved Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream cookbook, but I found myself peeling six Granny Smith apples a week ago preparing to make Baked Apple Sorbet.
To start, you peel, core, and quarter six apples. Add them to a glass baking dish and then pour in apple cider, sugar, and some cinnamon. Jeni recommends baking the apples with a vanilla bean, but vanilla beans have proved difficult to pin down, so I added a splash of vanilla extract to the mixture. Then the apples and cider mixture went into the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, the apples were still a bit stiff and hard to push a fork through. It was clearly going to take a little longer for my apples to soften so I could puree the whole mixture. (Just another episode of Andrew vs. the-oven-that-cooks-unevenly.) It took about a whole hour for my apples to soften (including the original 20 minutes). Some of the apples were softer, okay, mushier than others, but it was all going to get pureed eventually. As long as the apples weren't burnt, no harm done.
After a few minutes of cooling, I poured the apples and cider mixture into my stand mixer (you could use a food processor, but I'm asking St. Nick for that this year) and mixed the apples into submission - or at least until they were broken down into an apple-sauce consistency. Once I had incorporated all of the apples and cider, it was time to pour the mixture into a plastic, Ziploc bag and into an ice bath for 30 minutes - similar to my first adventure in ice cream-making - followed by a spin in the ice cream machine.
No self-respecting cook (professional or otherwise) makes a dish without tasting, so of course I gave this sorbet a taste before tucking it inside my freezer for a cold rest. No doubt about it, this sorbet tastes just like apple pie. When I decided to serve it to some friends later in the week, I took the apple pie reference a bit further. I had an extra pie crust in my refrigerator from an earlier pie adventure and I cut up a few pieces of crust to make a nice, warm garnish for the sorbet. I even went the extra mile and made a lattice crust.
So, if you're looking for a dessert with a twist, but tastes like tradition, this baked apple sorbet will hit the spot.
Any great Thanksgiving remix recipes up your sleeve? Or perhaps you've got a great pecan pie recipe? What's on your Thanksgiving menu? Share it with me!