[Roasted Apple with Dried Fruits, Calisson Ice Cream]
My mother and I wanted to end our Christmas eve dinner with a dessert simple to prepare yet festive, and satisfying yet light - more or less. This is what we came up with!
The store Picard Surgelés sells excellent ice-cream created by François Théron. They come in a variety of flavors, all of which quite unusual and incredibly tempting, like marron glacé (chestnut ice-cream with candied chestnut pieces), mendiant (vanilla ice-cream with dried fruits and nuts), or calisson (almond ice-cream with bits of calisson).
A calisson is an almond shaped specialty from Aix-en-Provence (South of France), made with pâte d'amande (almond paste) and crystallized melons, with a layer of "feuille d'hostie" (the thin wafer the catholic host is made of) underneath, and a crispy sugar coating on top. In my family, we are all big fans of pâte d'amande in general, calissons in particular, and my parents happened to have a box of fresh calissons they had recently received as a gift.
Pomme Rôtie aux Fruits Secs, Quenelle de Glace au Calisson
- 6 small sweet apples, of a variety that will hold their shape when baked
- 6 small spoonfuls of cassonade (brown sugar)
- 6 slivers of butter
- a handful of raisins
- a handful of almonds, chopped
- a small container of calisson ice-cream
- 6 calissons
Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F).
Wash and dry the apples. Core them, and place them in a gratin dish with a few tablespoons of water. Cut neat little hats off their tops, put a sliver of butter underneath each hat, sprinkle on a little cassonade, chopped almonds and raisins, and put the hat back into place.
Put the apples in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes, until softened and caramelized. Turn off the oven and leave them in for about 20 minutes to rest and cool down a little. Keep warm or reheat in the oven before serving.
Form oval ice-cream scoops (quenelles) with two large spoons, and place them on each plate, alongside a warm apple, balancing a calisson on the ice-cream. Drizzle some of the apples' caramel on and around the apples. Reserve the two remaining apples in the oven to whip out for a bonus service.
A delicious combination of warm apple, sweet caramel and fresh ice-cream. I am more and more into serving desserts with a little handheld accessory to nibble on, and here the scrumptious little calisson was a real treat. We all went for seconds, to stock up on energy before we tackled the gift giving session!
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