No Ordinary Apple
By Lori Grossman
Autumn is just about here, finally! I hope it's getting cooler where you are. In Texas, you would ordinarily call this time of year Indian summer, but I can't write what I've been calling it lately. Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting cool breezes from the north, leaves turning their spectrum of colors, and all that delicious autumn produce in the farmers markets and grocery stores.
When you think of apples, don't you think of biting into a crunchy, sweet, juicy piece of fruit, or as the main ingredient in some delicious dessert? Hey, apples can make a main dish even better. Here's a perfect example.
Apple, Bacon and Walnut Flautas"This is no ordinary apple. It's a magic wishing apple."
Heat 1 inch of oil in a skillet to 325°F, or until it's hot but not sizzling. Place one tortilla in the oil for 1 to 2 seconds, or until it's pliable. Using tongs, place the tortilla on a paper towel to drain. Repeat this step with remaining tortillas. Drain well, blotting the surfaces to remove excess oil. Spoon about 4 tablespoons filling in a line down the center of a tortilla and roll into a tight cylinder. Close the seam with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas. You can prepare the flautas to this point up to 24 hours in advance, but cover them airtight (use plastic wrap) to keep them from drying out. Refrigerate until you're ready to fry them.
To fry, heat 3 to 4 inches of oil in a large, heavy pot or deep-fryer to 375°F or until sizzling but not smoking. Using tongs, add 3 or 4 flautas and fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and cover with foil to keep warm. Fry remaining flautas. Remove toothpicks and serve at once. Makes 6 flautas.
Apple RecipesHere's a quick and easy-to-make dessert for adults only. You'll see why when you check out the list of ingredients. Or, if you know Spanish, you might get a hint from the dessert's name. Enjoy this after the kids are asleep.
Apples Borracho (Drunken Apples)
If you have a birthday or other special occasion coming up, skip store-bought and make this cake. It does take some time to prepare, but it's worth the effort. The combination of the rich caramel and tart apples may remind you of caramel apples. If you're pressed for time, you can make both the cake and caramel sauce in advance, then assemble and frost the cake just before you serve it.
Caramel Apple Cream CakeCake
While the sugar mixture is cooking, heat the cream in a small saucepan over low heat and keep warm. When the caramel reaches a golden brown, remove from the heat immediately so it won't darken and become bitter. With heavy-duty oven mitts on both hands, pour in the warm cream and whisk to blend. (The hot caramel may splatter a little as you do this). If the caramel seizes up in the cream, return the sauce to the heat and whisk until blended. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with waxed paper. Grease the paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Slowly beat in the oil, vanilla, and milk. Beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in half of the cooled caramel sauce (1 cup) and continue beating until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.
Bake the layers until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (55 to 60 minutes). They will be a rich brown color. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans, then invert onto wire racks and quickly turn upside down to cool completely. Discard waxed paper.
Caramel Cream Frosting
To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread 1 cup of the frosting over the top and spoon the chopped apples evenly over the frosting. Top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake, swirling the frosting on top. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Serve chilled. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
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