Saturday, January 07, 2006

The art of recycling - apple crust and granite

I made these two dishes long ago and never took the time to write about them. I like to talk about my big successes as well as my catastrophic failures in the kitchen; I also like to share my thoughts on improving dishes that were good but not perfect. The problem here is that my dishes were good, although far from being faultless, but I still have no idea on how to make them better. This probably explains why it took me so long to write about them. I could forget about these dishes and move to more interesting topics but I also love discussing strategies to avoid waste and this is exactly what this post is about.

Months ago, when snow didn’t cover the ground and even before the leaves turned yellow and red, I bought stupid amounts of apples. I can’t help it; the local apples are so good when in seasons. The problem is that after a few days (not even a week) their taste change, they loose their delicious sourness and I stop eating them. When they are fresh, I could eat 10 of them or more in a day but when they are not there is not much left to do but to cook them. This is why I bake so many apple crisps during the fall season. To make this easy desert, you don’t really need a recipe and it is both fast and simple. The problem is that if, like me, you peel your apples before cooking them, you end up with big bowls of unnecessary waste.

Traditionally my answer to this was to make apple jelly; apple peels are full of flavour and pectin and make great jellies. However, I don’t like jellies and jams that much. I find them overly sweet for my palate in the morning; they are fine in deserts but I am not much of a baker. This year, I decided to make granite with them instead. I made a light syrup by cooking the apple peels in water and sugar and then strained it and froze it after incorporating a bit of calvados. The result, I must admit, was good but not good enough to be worth of mention in any cookbook, including the bad ones. Unsurprisingly, it tasted like cooked apples; a taste which I didn’t find too pleasant in a frozen desert.

I will probably stick with the jelly next year if I can’t find a better idea until then.

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