This simple, orchard-fresh dessert captures the flavor of vanilla ice cream melting into the warm apples in a pie -- but more quickly, and with way less fat and sugar.
- 5 Gala apples (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
- Peel and core the apples. Cut each into 12 wedges. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a 12-inch broiler-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Using the tip of a knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the skillet. Toss the bean in, too. (If using vanilla paste or extract, add at this time.) Add apples; sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until apples are deeply golden and tender. Remove vanilla bean.
- Meanwhile, preheat broiler. In a medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Keep chilled.
- Heat 1 inch of water in bottom of a double boiler; bring just to a simmer. In top of double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt; add wine and whisk continuously until mixture is thickened and has doubled in volume (do not boil), 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk 1 minute to set and cool. Fold in whipped cream until just combined. (The cream may deflate a bit.)
- Spoon cream mixture over apples in the skillet (or arrange apples in 6 individual broiler-safe gratin dishes). Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until topping begins to turn golden (watch carefully!). Serve immediately.