Amateur Holiday Cook-Off

See Also
More Holiday Recipes

  Warm Apple Sandwich With Vanilla-Bean Custard Sauce

The Chef
Nancy Verdolini

Serves 6

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted French-style butter, well-chilled
3 tablespoons Hawaiian crystallized sugar

Wild Mushroom Ragout

1/2 pound wild mushrooms, preferably chanterelles
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup homemade chicken stock
1 jalapeño pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
French sea salt and cracked Tellicherry pepper
Garnish: watercress leaves

Apple Filling
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Vanilla-Bean Custard Sauce
11/2 cups organic whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut butter into small pieces, add to the flour, and blend with your fingertips until only pea-size pieces remain. Add 2 tablespoons iced water, and combine quickly to form the dough into a ball. Cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Divide dough in half, and roll out each half until very thin—no more than 1/8-inch thick. Cut with a 3-inch-diameter ring mold, place pastry discs on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the top of each pastry disc liberally with Hawaiian sugar, and bake 8 to 10 minutes, until golden.

Apple Filling
Put apples in a 2-quart saucepan with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and 3 tablespoons water. Cover, and cook over low to medium heat until apples are tender. Add lemon juice, and remove vanilla bean.

Vanilla-Bean Custard Sauce

Bring milk, vanilla bean, and scraped seeds to a simmer in a saucepan. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light and lemon-colored. Slowly add hot milk to egg mixture, whisking continuously. Return to the saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats a spoon. Strain through a fine sieve. Add vanilla extract and chill.

Assembly: Place a ring mold in the centers of 6 plates. Place a pastry disc, sugar-side up, in the bottom of each mold, followed by 1 inch of the apple filling. Top with another disc, sugar-side up. Pour the vanilla bean custard sauce onto the plate around each ring, and gently slide off the rings.