poached apple compote
- make the poaching liquid by combining the water, sugar, butter and vanilla pods in a large pot, bring to a boil then lower heat to medium
- peel and core the 2 apples for the compote, cut them in quarters and sprinkle with lemon juice (to avoid rapid browning) then add them to the poaching liquid
- increase heat to a boil, then reduce immediately to medium-low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until apple quarters are softer (but not falling apart)
- remove poached apple quarters and drain excess liquid, place inside a food-processor and mix until smooth
- measure out ½ cup of apple compote (keep the rest for the apple-walnut puff pastry twists), transfer to a small casserole, add 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sugar, bring to a boil and then simmer at medium-low heat for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken, while continuously stirring
- transfer to a container and after the compote has cooled, store in the refrigerator and then in the freezer for 1 hour before serving (it will be easier to serve firm spoonfuls that retain their shape when very cold)
whole poached apples
- add the thyme sprigs to the remaining poaching liquid and reheat until simmering
- peel the 4 apples (with stems still on) and core from the bottom only half-way through so you can still pick the apples up from the stems) and cut a thin slice off the bottom of each so that the apples sit flat
- immediately sprinkle with lemon juice then place all 4 apples inside the simmering liquid and let simmer for 10 minutes, moving them around gently so they cook evenly on all sides, then turn off heat and let rest for 5 minutes until slightly more translucent, yet still firm
- remove the apples from the simmering liquid, let excess liquid drain off and serve warm (or refrigerate and then warm up again for several minutes in the warmed poaching liquid, right before serving).
apple walnut puff pastry twists
- make your own puff pastry dough by following my recipe (divided by half) or use a store-bought version and form into a square, measuring 25 X 25 cm, about 3-4 mm thick, cover and refrigerate until ready to use
- grind walnuts into a powder in a food-processor and combine (in a mixing bowl) with ¼ cup apple compote, 2 tbsp sugar and ground spices, mix well and chill in the refrigerator
- cut dough in half (12,5 cm x 25cm), spread out a layer of apple-walnut filling onto one rectangle of puff pastry dough, leave the top and bottom longer edges/borders (of 1 cm) free of filling and brush those top and bottom longer edges/borders with egg wash, cover with second rectangle of puff pastry dough and press down to seal
- cut ten 2,5 cm wide x 12,5 cm long sections of dough with filling (you’ll only need 8 but make 2 extra, just in case), brush with egg wash, sprinkle with 2 tbsp more granulated sugar and either leave flat or twist and place on a baking paper covered baking sheet and chill (before baking)
- preheat oven to 210°C and bake puff pastry twists for 10-12 minutes
- remove from oven, let cool completely and sprinkle with icing sugar.
- shell and halve the walnuts, heat the sugar and butter in a small casserole, add walnuts and gently keep stirring until the caramel forms and starts darkening and coating the walnut halves
- remove caramelized walnut halves and place separately on a piece of waxed paper and reserve
lemony ricotta cream
- combine all ingredients and mix well with a whisk, then refrigerate for several hours and place in the freezer 1 hour, right before serving (it will be easier to serve firm spoonfuls that retain their shape when colder)
final assembly (per serving)
- 1 warmed poached apple
- 2 puff pastry twists
- 1 large heaping tablespoon of apple compote
- 1 large heaping tablespoon of tart ricotta cream
- 2-3 caramelized walnut halves
- 1 thyme sprig, dipped in the warmed poaching liquid, as garnish
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