In the process of looking for something a little different for a Mabon dessert, I decided to do a little experimenting with all those crabapples I was using up last week. My intention was a more adult flavour and not something you could find on every store shelf. I wanted to plate a dessert that represented the themes of balance and harvest.
Apples, being such a sacred symbol, seemed like an ideal starting point. Ydun is the custodian of the apples the Norse Gods ate when they felt age approaching. This connection to themes of leaving youth, regaining it and death is reminiscent of Demeter & Persephone, another legend active at this time of the year. She is also connected to nuts, another Mabon symbol as Loki turned her into one to help her escape her kidnappers.
Crab apples contribute tannin so they can give you the same “bitter” experience on the palate that comes with a full bodied red wine.
I think I did it! This recipe doesn’t make a lot and you only need a couple of small spoonfuls over the ice cream. Actually it was a very, very good thing that I didn’t make more. It was difficult enough to ration myself with what was left over.
You will need:
1 cup fresh crab apple juice ( or purchased apple cider )
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. butter
pinch of cinnamon
10 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup (if you don’t have maple syrup handy, honey will work as a substitute)
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
Gather your fruits and collect your thoughts. Plan your time and find your pots. “In my kitchen, filled with care, I welcome, Fire, Earth, Water, Air. To my hearth I greet Ydun, for the love of apples and this work begun. I leave behind what does not serve and fill with Love what I preserve.”
Having sorted and washed the crab apples, I processed the fresh crab apples through a juicer and poured the liquid through cheesecloth into a measuring cup to get to 1 cup of juice. If you have been following the posts, you know these were very small crab apples and I needed to clean out the juicer of the seeds a couple of time to get the machine to keep working but it was all good in the end.
You can choose to use apples instead of crab apples or buy apple cider and not process your own fruit. Just know you will loose some of the earthy undertones in the finished sauce.
Place the apple juice in a small pan and allow it to simmer until the volume has been reduced to just under 1/4 cup. If you put it in a big pan and walk away there is a good chance you will burn it as the water evaporates, so keep an eye on it. Once reduced take the pot off the burner.
In another small pot measure and mix the sugar, maple syrup, water, salt and apple cider vinegar and place over medium heat. The pot will need to be big enough to handle all the additional ingredients, be able to boil without boiling over but still not be too wide or the sauce can burn, this is not making more than 1 cup finished product. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then let the mixture continue to bubble with a candy thermometer on the side.
Add the butter to the warmed reduced apple cider and stir until melted, add the cream and cinnamon. ( That is the mixture in the measuring cup on the right hand side above ). Boil until the sugar/maple syrup mixture has reached 310 degrees. Now because we are not making caramels, they don’t need to reach specific temperatures in order to be firm when cool, you can play with this a bit if you don’t have a candy thermometer and boil for 2 – 4 minutes.
Stir in the cream/apple cider mixture slowly being careful to avoid any splattering on uncovered skin as it will burn. As you add the cream, the mixture will bubble as there is a significant temperature difference.
Return to the heat and allow to boil for another minute. This is the part where you need room for the sauce to expand but not boil over. Cool a half teaspoonful in cold water to make sure it thickens enough for your liking and if you find it too runny then simply cook for a few more minutes and try another sample.
Remove from heat, pour into a heat resistant jar and cool. Your sauce will store well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
I paired the sauce with French Vanilla ice cream but Greek Yoghurt or cheesecake would work as well and balanced it with the Triple Spiral Dark Chocolate Cookies I posted a couple of days ago. A balance of light and dark, sweet and salty, sour and bitter.
Serve with a question about what might need balancing in each persons life and as a group support the harvesting of each integrated step forward while darkness approaches.
Salted Crabapple Maple Syrup Caramel Sauce from My Kitchen Wand