French Fridays with Dorie – Spice-Poached Apples (and rice pudding)

This recipe was very exciting to me. As I’ve mentioned before, summer is dead to me. I am officially over it. I am ALL about fall right now, so the idea of poaching apples with spices seemed very homey and comforting to me. As you can see from the picture, things did not really go as planned.

Let me set the scene: I get done with work at 6 and have to run to the store for a few things (including the apples for this recipe). So I get there and they have this beautiful fall display set up with bushels of apples and cornstalks and pumpkins and all that shit and I was drawn in like a moth to a flame. Seasonally appropriate and locally-grown McIntosh apples? As Stefon would say, “Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes!” So I buy a whole bag and come home ready to rock this! I’ve got every burner on my stove going because I’m also making dinner and the rice pudding to serve with this because I’ve never made rice pudding before and I was intrigued by it for some reason. So I make the syrup and get the apples ready. Aren’t they pretty?

Notice (as I did after taking this photo) that I forgot to peel the apples before cutting them in half. Since I find it really hard bordering on impossible to peel a cut apple I just decided to go with it and make the poached apples “rustic.” I got them cored, dropped them into the syrup and brought it to a boil, then covered it as Dorie instructs. She also says you should check the apples “early and often” so I thought I was being a really good girl by checking them after 4 minutes. What did I find? Freaking applesauce with apple skins floating on the top! Really watery applesauce to be honest. You’d think that as a kind of experienced baker I would have remembered that McIntosh apples tend to cook down and sort of melt but as I said – moth to a flame. They were so pretty and shiny! So I salvaged what I could of the remaining apple chunks and made the best of it. It tasted really very good and the rice pudding might be one of my new favorite things. If I ever have kids I am going to be the mom who makes rice pudding from scratch when her kids are sick. That’s how much I loved it. I cut up an unpoached/unapplesauced apple to give the idea of apples to the mush and sprinkled some almonds for crunch. It really was super yummy – just not all that pretty.

I’d like to try this again with pears and not fudge it up. And if you are wondering who Stefon is, watch this video and die laughing. You can thank me later.