Apple Confit

I’m the kind of person who never read recipes first. I’ll be flicking through a cook book, see a picture of something that looks good, quickly browse the ingredients and if I have most of them get started straight away. If it’s a standard thing I’ll have trouble even following the recipe, I’ll just use the quantities and the general order of ingredients as a guide.

About three years ago I saw this recipe for apple confit and needed to make it. After dinner was done and people were washing up I started on this recipe. It obviously wasn’t a standard thing so I followed the recipe as I went along. I put the confit in the oven and referred to the next step to see what I had to do once it was out of the oven. Then I saw it: “Refrigerate overnight until firm”.

Oops.

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I announced we were eating it warm, unfinished and accompanied and resolved to return to it properly prepared one day. One day took quite a while to come around again. But when it did, I was prepared this time.

This recipe is based off of Andrew McConnell’s recipe. Making the confit is definitely time consuming, but most of it is inactive time so it’s fairly simple.

You begin by making a really simple caramel and poring it into your mould.

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Then it’s as simple as slicing the apples, dipping them into a syrup and layering them on top of each other. The syrup calls for brandy, but I didn’t have any so I subbed in some fruit juice.

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Once you have a massive pile of apples, you wrap it all up and bake for a couple of hours. When it’s done you let it cool overnight, with a few cans stacked on top. The weight as it cools helps to compress the layers.

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While it was baking, I got started on the burnt butter ice cream. When Cameron asked me what I was making and I told him the name of the ice cream, he asked if I was just calling it burnt butter because I’d messed up. Burnt butter is actually a thing. A delicious thing.

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Burnt butter, often called beurre noisette, is used in a whole heap of pastries and sauces, sweet and savoury alike. You simply cook the butter until it turns brown. It gives off a really strong nutty aroma when it’s done.

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Once your butter is nice and burned, you add in the milk. You’ll notice the mixture acts like water and oil, refusing to mix in and sitting in separate layers. This is exactly what we want to happen. As it cools all the butter solids will set, which we will later discard.

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We can then set about making the custard. You’ll whisk some egg yolks and sugar together, then slowly whisk in the warmed milk to temper the eggs.

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Here is really awesome if you have an ice cream maker. I don’t. As much as I want one, I’m not keen on spending money on one-trick-pony type kitchen appliances. If you also don’t. you can churn it yourself. First, sit the custard in a bowl of ice water to cool it down. Then you can pop it in the freezer and whisk it at half hour intervals.

Once it’s really thickened up, you can transfer it to the container you want to store it in and let it freeze completely. This ice cream is absolutely delicious. Cameron said it tasted like pancakes, probably owing to the maple syrup in the ice cream as well. I made up a batch of pancakes to have with the ice cream for a lunch time treat over the weekend. Totally delish.

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The next two components can be made as far in advance as you like.

I started on the ANZAC crisp first. ANZAC biscuits are a popular biscuit here in Australia, and I presume equally so in New Zealand. Named after our army corps, the biscuits are so called because they originated in World War I. They were made for troops by their wives during the war as they don’t easily spoil and can be easily shipped. The crisp that accompanies the confit is a more refined version of the biscuit. Like its name sake it’s a sweet, oatey crisp. But rather than including coconut it’s flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg. The house smelled amazing while this was baking.

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You begin by blitzing half the oats with the other dry ingredients in a food processor. Here I deviated from the recipe a bit as I hate using the rubbing method. Everything gets stuck under my nails and it’s no fun. So I threw the spices, butter and egg white into the food processor and pulsed until it had just come together.

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Then I folded in the remaining oats and rolled it out.

You don’t have to be too pretty about rolling this out. Later you’re going to break it up into shards so it doesn’t matter about being straight.

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Last of all comes the salted caramel sauce. Salted caramel is one of my favourite things to make. It’s amazing.

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You begin by making a typical caramel syrup, then add in some heated cream. The misture will steam and bubble like crazy, so be careful during this step. It’s very easy to scold yourself.

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Some salted caramels stop there, others add in some butter. This one called for salted butter, but I never use salted butter in baking so I didn’t have any on hand. I prefer being able to control the amount of salt, but either way is completely fine. Just add enough salt to give you the balance you like.

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Then comes the fun part, plating up!

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You can arrange it however you like it best. I went for a swipe of caramel under the crisp. You can drizzle it over if you prefer, pipe pictures with it, dollop some on the side. Be pretty, be gluttonous, whatever suits your mood.

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I absolutely love the texture the apples give the confit. Much like wood grain or a fingerprint, they curve and swirl every which way. We were admittedly so intrigued by the patterns it took us a while to finally dig into it.

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I didn’t know what to expect from this dessert. It’s a chef-ey take on an apple pie, but apple pies are served warm. Serving this cold seemed weird. But the moment we began eating it, it all made sense. It’s absolutely delicious, and not at all weird cold. All the elements go perfectly together, but they’re also really nice separate as well. We kept going back for more Anzac crisp and have been finding every excuse to have more of the burnt butter ice cream.

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Apple Confit
Ingredients
Apple Confit

100g unsalted butter, melted

150g (1/2 cup) caster sugar

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)

80ml (1/3 cup) brandy

80ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice

zest of 1 large orange

10 small granny smith apples

Burnt Butter Ice Cream

300g unsalted butter, chopped

580ml (2 1/3 cups) milk

2 tbsp maple syrup

6 egg yolks

150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar

Anzac Crisp

45g (1/2 cup) rolled oats

110g (1/2 cup) brown sugar

35g (1/2 cup) breadcrumbs

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

60g unsalted butter, chopped

1 egg white

Salted Caramel

110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar

160ml (2/3 cup) pouring cream

30g butter, chopped

Method
Apple Confit

  1. Grease a 24 x 8.5cm terrine mould or loaf tin. Line the base with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced/355°F).
  2. Place 75g of the sugar in a small, heavy-bases saucepan. Cook, without stirring, over medium heat until sugar melts and turns a light caramel colour. Pour into the mould.
  3. Combine butter, vanilla, remaining sugar, brandy, lemon juice and orange zest in a bowl.
  4. Peel the apples one at a time, using a sharp knife or a mandolin to cut each apple into thin slices. Dip apple slices into the brandy mixture, then place overlapping into the mould.
  5. Repeat process until mould is filled with apples up to 2cm above the rim. Cover with baking paper, then wrap with foil.
  6. Bake the confit for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 150°C (130°C fan-forced/300°F) and bake for a further 30 minutes. Remove the foil and the baking paper, reduce oven temperature to 140°C (120°C fan-forced/285°F) and bake for another 1.5 hours. When done, you should be able to insert a knife into the apples with ease and all the excess cooking liquid should have evaporated. Cool to room temperature.
  7. Wrap a piece of cardboard in plastic wrap and lay it over the top of the confit. Weigh it down with around 1.2kg worth of food tins and cool in the fridge over night.

Burnt Butter Ice Cream

  1. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat; simmer for around 6 minutes or until butter is brown and gives off a nutty aroma.
  2. Gradually add 500ml of the milk in a thin, steady stream. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until butter solids solidify on the top.
  3. Remove and discard butter solids; strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a jug. If necessary, add enough of the remaining milk to bring the total volume up to 500ml.
  4. Place the milk mixture and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until thick and pale.
  6. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking continuously.
  7. Return mixture to saucepan; cook, stirring continuously, for about 8 minutes. Mixture will thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow to boil.
  8. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Whisk for 2 minutes to cool.
  9. Churn the mixture in and inc-cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. Alternatively, place in the freezer and churn with a whisk every half hour until thick and frozen. Allow to chill in the freezer for 3 hours to firm up completely.

Anzac Crisp

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced/355°F).
  2. Process half the oats together with the sugar and breadcrumbs. Add the butter, egg white, spices and baking powder; pulse until mixture just comes together. Fold in the remaining oats.
  3. Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick. Place on a baking tray, then remove the top piece of baking paper.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool completely, then break into shards.

Salted Caramel

  1. Place the sugar and 60ml (1/4 cup) water in a small, heavy based saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat to medium. Cook, without stirring, until mixture turns caramel in colour. Meanwhile, heat the cream (30-60 seconds in the microwave is enough).
  3. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in the cream, taking care as mixture will spit, bubble and steam profusely.
  4. Stir in the butter, 1 cube at a time, until all the butter is combined. Cool to room temperature. Mixture can be stored in the fridge and warmed to room temperature when ready to serve.
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7 thoughts on “Apple Confit

  1. A lovely dessert, and I loved the plating of it. Definitely agree on all the elements being yummy both by themselves, and all together.

  2. I feel like I’m missing something: I put the lemon and molten butter together, and it starts shifting and clumping when the butter cools down. Do I need to heat the mixture? Use filtered juice or lower fat butter?

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