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Cinnamon-Apple Stacks
Makes 8 servings
*4 hard-cooked egg yolks
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
*1 1/2 cups + 2 tbls. granulated sugar
*2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/8 tsp. salt
*8 large apples (locally grown), peeled, cored and cut into quarters
*1 cup hard apple cider or apple juice
*2 cups crème fraîche
*2 tbls. Confectioners sugar for dusting
1To make the cookie dough, combine eggs yolks, butter and ½ cup plus 2 tbls. granulated sugar in a food processor and process until well combined, about 10 seconds. Add the flour, cinnamon and salt and process until smooth. Remove the dough and divide into 2 equal portions. Shape the dough into 1-inch-thick disks and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or up to 5 days.
2Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If the dough has been refrigerated for more than 1 hour, let sit at room temperature until it is malleable enough to roll out, about 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cookie dough, flouring your rolling pin or the dough as necessary to prevent sticking, to an even ⅛-inch thickness.
3Using a lightly floured 3-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut into 12 rounds. Your may need to reroll the dough scraps. If at any point the dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate it in plastic again for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the rounds on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until the edges turn golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
4To make the apple filling, slice the apple quarters crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Put the apple slices in a large skillet with the remaining 1 cup sugar and apple cider. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they're soft but still hold their shape, about 10 minutes. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your skillet. The time it takes will depend on the kind of apple you're using; some varieties will cook more quickly than others. If the apples aren't very juicy, you may have to add more cider or even 1 or 2 tablespoons butter. Taste them, and if they're not sweet enough for you, add a little more sugar, stirring until it's dissolved. Set aside and reheat before serving.
5To serve, put 1 cinnamon cookie on each plate. Mound 2 tablespoons of warm apples in the center of each cookie and spoon on 1 tablespoon of the crème fraîche. Carefully place another cookie on top of each serving (watch out - the cookies are fragile), then more apples, another tablespoon of cr
Chef's Tips
  • If you love apples, as I do, and you've tried every variation of apple tart and pie you can think of, as I have, this dessert will give you new inspiration. It has all the same flavors and textures as a traditional apple tart, but with a twist. Instead of apples baked into a sugar crust, the apples are lightly saut
  • Choose a great apple variety that is grown in your region. Here on the West Coast I like Golden Delicious, Pink Pearls, Braeburns, Galas and Black Jonathans. By saut
  • The pastry dough I used here is a favorite of mine - it's incredibly easy to work (as long as you don't let it get too soft). You can flavor the dough with ground nuts or spices later. Anything you make with the dough can be rolled out and frozen, or baked and kept at room temperature in an airtight container. Because the yolks in the dough are cooked, you can also keep the unbaked dough in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to 5 days.
  • This is a perfect dessert for improvisation. Instead of apples, I've used saut
  • Everything here can be prepped ahead. The cookie dough can be made up to 5 days ahead, wrapped in plastic and kept in the refrigerator. The cookies can be rolled out and frozen for 1 week, or baked and stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for 4 to 5 days. The apples may be saut
  • There are a lot of wine options to try with apple stacks: White wines that are not oaky, like a late-harvest Viognier from the Cambria Winery in Santa Barbara, are good. So is a classic younger Sauternes (save the ultra-expensive bottle of D'Yquem!) Even a Tokaji Aszu or a tawny East India sherry, port or Madeira could be fun.

Mark Franz of Farallon Restaurant, San Francisco, CA.