Crabapples or wild apples are one of Autumn's unsung treats. Tiny, tart, and mesmerizingly red, these little beauties are perfectly ripe for only a few weeks out of the year. Before ripeness sets in, they're incredibly tart and astringent, only suitable for jams or cooked applications. After ripeness, they turn into dried little rocks with very little flavor remaining. Luckily, I was able to capture this bunch just as they had started to dry - when their pulp was soft and sweet. In this rare state, the apples could be eaten raw.
The wild apples had a thick skin and a pulpy interior reminiscent of a mealy full grown apple. The seeds were large, in the way, and more than likely poisonous (don't worry, I spit them out). The flesh itself was slightly sweet, and very tangy - much like a dehydrated cranberry. The dried version wasn't all that bad either. When steeped in hot water it made a nice floral tea. I decided to stick with the fresh kind and see how they could best be utilized.
I knew I didn't want to cook them. That would be silly, given that you're rarely able to eat them raw. Instead, I split them in half, and carefully pushed the hard stone-like seeds out. This left most of the pulp and the more flavorful skin intact. They looked very much like Craisins.
The crabapples accompanied a very classic wintery dessert, that I usually find too heavy and filling, but hopefully this rendition was a little lighter.
Spent Grain Bread Pudding, Apple Butter Sorbet, Hay Cream, Crabapples, Sumac
I think the dish was a success. The malty action of the spent grain bread played well with the sweet molasses custard binding it together. Rich toasty hay cream grounded the dish, while the sour crabapples and sumac as well as the spicy sorbet lifted it all on the tongue. A fun one to eat I think...
*In other exciting news, I'll be traveling soon to Europe! Sunday to be precise. This will be my third time on the continent although my first time in any the countries we plan on visiting - Switzerland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. A food lovers dream come true. To say I'm incredibly excited about the dishes and drinks ahead would be an enormous understatement.
One part of the trip that I am particularly excited about came as a late surprise. I've been given the opportunity to work for a couple of days at a groundbreaking Parisian restaurant: Le Chateaubriand. The world has had it's eyes on this place for more than 5 years now, and it continues to garner well deserved attention including a spot as the 18th best restaurant in the world, and the 2nd best in France. The chef, Inaki Aizpitarte, has transformed casual bistro dining into a sudo-haute cuisine that contains enough familiarity to make it a comfortable experience while giving the diner an unforgettably creative meal. Can't wait to see what they've got cooking!
So, I've made a challenge to myself to post as often as possible while I'm out there. Hopefully daily at the minimum. Even if it's just a quick snapshot of a street cart snack. Meanwhile, you guys (yes, you) can help me by reading the posts, enjoying them, and commenting with your thoughts and musings - or just a quick hello! I'll take all the encouragement I can get. See you on the other side!