An apple a day: Simple fruit makes breakfast sweet
Want to add an elegant touch to your family’s breakfast? Try apples. Full-flavored and plentiful, they’re the perfect solution.
Dice them into oatmeal, pancakes and omelets for extra flavor. Saute apple rings in butter for a tasty garnish, or stuff cored apples with peanut butter and raisins for a great breakfast-to-go.
They’re easy and plain, but with a little primping, apples will knock your socks off.
Before you begin, let’s discuss ingredients. Supermarkets sell good organic applesauce, but it’s easy to make your own. Peel and core four large, crisp apples. Cut them into chunks and toss with two teaspoons of sugar and one-fourth teaspoon of salt. Add a tablespoon of butter, cut in slivers and, if you like, a little ground cinnamon.
Cover the pan tightly and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the apples are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the cover and raise the temperature to 500 degrees. Bake until the pan liquid cooks off, about 10 minutes. Stir the apples into a chunky mass.
Now your kitchen smells fantastic, and you have a delicious breakfast side dish or an ingredient for other creations. Spoon warm applesauce over hot waffles.
Or take these Apple Pastries to another by substituting pound cake for the bread in a slender tower.
And don’t forget apple butter. Its creamy texture is worth the hours of cooking, but we made a quick faux version by beating cloves, allspice and cinnamon into applesauce. It tastes wonderful on buttered toast points.
Note: If you prefer different spices, feel free to experiment.
1 loaf Italian or other dense white bread, unsliced, chilled
4 to 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/4 cups chunky applesauce, storebought or homemade
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Garnish: fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat insides of 4 ramekins (3 inches in diameter) with butter. Set aside.
Cut 16 slices of bread, each 1/8 inch thick. A serrated knife and chilled bread make slicing easier. Use a cookie cutter to make bread circles that fit the ramekins snugly.
Melt the remaining butter. Brush melted butter on one side of a bread circle. Place it, buttered side up, on the bottom of the first ramekin. Sprinkle on a little sugar, a little cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Spoon on some applesauce and spread it evenly. Start the next layer with buttered bread and continue until just below the ramekin’s rim. Finish with a buttered bread circle, sugar and spices.
Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm in the ramekins, or run a small knife around the inside of each one and invert onto each of four plates. Garnish with berries. Makes 4 servings.