Hot buttered rum has been used as a cure-all in the U.S. since Colonial times. Although it’s more often thought of as an elixir to ward off the chill of winter, I think it’s a great way to flavor one of my favorite fall treats: poached apples. Firm and not overripe apples are best to use for poaching; I like Fuji, Honeycrisp or Jonagold. Red and Golden Delicious should be avoided due to their tendency to get mushy when cooked.
Poaching liquid can be prepared in advance and, even better, holds for up to a month in the refrigerator. I suggest using whole baking spices such as cardamom, star anise, allspice or cloves. Use remaining liquid to poach and store more apples, or heat it to sip by a bonfire. I’ve incorporated my favorite streusel recipe into this dish, too; bake it all and eat any leftovers as a snack, or keep the raw crumbles in the freezer to sprinkle on top of muffins, pies or cobblers. Chilled poached apples can also be baked into crumb cakes, tarts or your favorite tea cake – my recipe for an almond frangipane is an excellent tea cake batter for folding poached apples into.
Christy Augustin has had a lifelong love affair with all things sweet. After working as a pastry chef in New Orleans and St. Louis, she opened Pint Size Bakery & Coffee in St. Louis’ Lindenwood Park in 2012. She calls herself the baker of all things good and evil. Learn more at pintsizebakery.com.
Poached Apples & More
Serves | 6 |
- juice of 1 lemon, divided
- 6 apples, peeled and cut in half
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 3 qts apple cider or water
- 1½ cups dark rum
- 1 Tbsp whole baking spices (see above)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- pinch ground cardamom
- ½ cup chilled cubed butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
| Preparation – Poached Apples | In a large bowl, combine juice of half a lemon and fill ¾ with water. Core apples from bottom, leave stems with apple halves. Reserve cores and peels. Place apples in lemon water. Set aside.
In a 5-quart saucepot, combine next 8 ingredients with cores and peels. Squeeze in remaining lemon juice and add lemon wedges. Bring mixture to a boil, stir and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to steep for 1 hour at room temperature. Strain and discard solids. Set 2 cups liquid aside for rum sauce.
Add remaining strained liquid and apples into large pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook 20 to 30 minutes. Apples are finished when a paring knife slips easily into flesh.
| Preparation – Baked Streusel | Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine first 7 ingredients. Add cold butter and mix by hand, smashing cubes into mixture until combined and crumbly. Spread mixture onto prepared tray and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
| Preparation – Rum Sauce | In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, reduce reserved 2 cups poaching liquid with brown sugar until 1⁄3 cup remains. Remove from heat, add butter, stir to combine and allow to cool.
| To Serve | Divide apples into 6 bowls. Top with streusel and sauce. Serve with your favorite ice cream.