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French Thanksgiving

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Gâteau aux Pommes  

Braised Swiss Chard
Fine sea salt
4 large bunches Swiss chard, leaves only
1/2 cup diced bacon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, add the chard, and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, half-fill a large bowl with ice water. Drain the greens, and transfer to the ice water. Drain again and squeeze out any excess liquid. Roughly chop the greens.

Sauté the bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute, then pour off the fat, add the chard, and stir to reheat. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly, keeping the chard warm, taking care to not let the butter separate. Serve immediately.


Gâteau Aux Pommes With Calvados-Caramel Sauce
APPLES
4 McIntosh apples
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

CAKE
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups shredded McIntosh apple
1/2 cup canned unsweetened crushed pineapple
1/4 cup Sugar in the Raw

CALVADOS-CARAMEL SAUCE
1 cups dark-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons Calvados

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Apples: Peel the apples, cut in half, and remove the cores. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan, add the sugar, cinnamon, and apple halves. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-high heat, turning the apples often until they are tender crisp. Remove from the pan, and set aside to cool. Slice the apples into 1/8-inch slices.

Cake: Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir in the shredded apples and drained pineapple until well blended.

Butter a 9-inch cake pan, and coat the bottom and sides of the pan with the Sugar in the Raw. Fan the sautéed apple slices over the bottom of the pan and pour the batter on top. Bake for about 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place the cake pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, and invert onto a serving plate.

Sauce: Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce is smooth. Pour over the warm cake and serve with crème fraîche.


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