We had our first light dusting of frost yesterday here at the Tea Garden, and to celebrate the frost, and Matariki ( a few days back – on the 16th this year), I remembered apple snow. I’d never made it before, but I can remember the delights of it from when I was a kid – I think (I bet) it was one of my Dad’s favorites. A quick phone call to Mum and yes, I’d pretty much guessed right – and here is an ancient family recipe for perhaps the easiest dessert.
Peel some apples. I’d allow about two apples per person. It’d be great to have superb cooking apples, I used some slightly scanky green delicious (apparently organic) that were on their way to having seen better days. They were flavorsome nevertheless. Chop the apples into chunks just to help speed the cooking process. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, slightly less of nutmeg, and a teaspoon of vanilla sugar. You could add some powdered cloves, or whole cloves (remove once the apple is cooked), and/or a vanilla bean. Whatever you like. I added the sugar really for the the vanilla, my plan was to taste the apple once cooked to decide how much sugar was needed. None, as it turned out.
Add a little water to the pot, and simmer the apples until soft enough to mash – about 20 minutes. I added too much water, I’d misjudged how much apple juice would come out during cooking. Once the apple was cooked I drained off most of the liquid. Hm-mmm – hot spicy apple juice. I poured the apple pulp back into the pot, and did the initial mash with a potato masher. You could probably do the whole deal by mashing and sieving the apple, but I didn’t want to spend the time – I used a wand blender and whipped the pulp into a fine puree. The pulp was a golden colour, once I started to whip air into it, it became paler.
I folded a scoop (maybe two) of vanilla ice cream through the puree. I then took the white of an egg and beat it until it was very stiff – peaks formed on top, and folded that through. The trick is to lift the air through the puree, and capture it with the smooth creamy texture. The warmth of the apple expands the air trapped in the egg white, and you end up with a soft, smooth textured, delicious dessert. You can serve the dessert hot, warm, or chill it – personally, I like it hot to warm. Simple, elegant, nutritious – what more could you want from a dessert? Give it a try.