I love the fall. The crisp, clear weather is refreshing (at least here in New England) and it's all about new beginnings. One of our favorite family traditions has been to go apple picking every year. We have great pictures of our two children as infants on our backs, as toddlers, as youngsters, eating fruit right off the trees.
Now that they're both teenagers, they prefer buying apples to picking them themselves (sigh). But I still love visiting the orchards. All of this leads to a surfeit of apples which we can't eat fast enough to avoid some spoilage.
I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food, for some help. She has lots of apple recipes and I decided to make shalet, or apple pudding. I added cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract to mine. This was easy, delicious and versatile (good hot or cold, though I prefer it warm with some vanilla ice cream on the side).
2 lbs tart apples
1/4 cup currants or raisins, black or golden (I've used cranberries and blackberries instead and they work very well too)
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated
cinnamon, vanilla, lemon, or other additions to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Peel and core the apples and cut them in half. Put them in a pan with a tight-fitting lid with the raisins (or berries) and the wine. Put the lid on and steam on very low heat (I needed to use medium or even medium high heat) for about 15 minutes, or until the apples fall apart. Mash them with a fork (I used a potato masher) and stir in the sugar. Cook, with the lid off, for 1 or 2 minutes.
2. Add the egg yolks when the apples have cooled a little (make sure they have cooled to avoid scrambled eggs in your apples! I hastened the cooling by putting the pot on top of an ice pack for a few minutes -- worked like a charm!) and stir well.
3. Beat the egg whites stiff (electric mixer) and fold them into the applesauce. Pour mixture into a well-oiled wide, flat baking dish and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for abou 50 minutes, until top is browned.