I recently read an article in The New York Times about how much juicier fresh-picked apples are than their store-bought counterparts
and it got me to thinking about this month’s menu. There’s something completely nostalgic about taking the children to an orchard in autumn
when trees are literally billowing over, ripe for the picking. In fact, the difference in flavor is something that pastry chef Jenny McCoy swears
by and I love her take on candy apples as a classic Halloween treat. Here’s the flavor-bursting recipe
from her timely new tome, Desserts for Every Season:
Pierce the tops of 20 miniature Lady apples (or 12 medium crisp apples) with a wooden ice-pop stick or candy dowel.
Place 3 cups (about 12 ounces) of finely chopped roasted peanuts in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp fine sea salt, and 2 Tbsps light corn syrup to a boil.
Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 370°F on an instant-read candy thermometer.
Immediately remove from the heat and quickly stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream, being mindful of steam.
Let stand until the caramel thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Dip each apple into the caramel, taking care to cover the entire surface.
Gently remove the excess caramel dripping from each apple by scraping the base of the apple on the edge of the pot.
Place the dipped apple in the bowl of peanuts and roll to coat, using your hands to press the peanuts into the caramel if necessary.
Let the caramel set before serving, about 20 minutes. Caramel Lady Apples are best if eaten the same day.
Note: Be sure to cook the sugar solution for the caramel to 370°F. At that temperature, the mixture will be dark and may begin to smoke.
Not to worry: Once the cream is added, the cooking process will immediately slow down, and the caramel will have an extra-rich flavor.