Developed by University of Minnesota breeders in 1960 and introduced in 1991, the Honeycrisp apple is an extraordinarily crunchy cross between the Macoun and the Honeygold. Its crisp, juicy texture makes it a superb eating apple, but Craft chef Damon Wise also likes its sweet, slightly tart flavor, which he intensifies in a savory cake of herb-dappled slices slow-baked in duck fat.
Damon Wise’s Apple Confit Cake
5 medium Honeycrisp apples
1/4 pound duck fat (available at Dean & DeLuca) or butter
Salt and pepper
1/8 cup fresh thyme leaves
1/8 cup chopped chives
Preheat oven to 275. (1) Peel and (2) core apples. Melt duck fat or butter in small saucepan over low heat. Coat a six-inch straight-sided pie tin with duck fat or butter using a paper towel. Working quickly so that apples don’t oxidize, (3) slice them into thin rings using a Japanese mandolin. Make a layer of apple rings in the bottom of the pie tin, overlapping so that no holes are visible, then season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with herbs, and drizzle with one teaspoon of duck fat or butter. Continue to layer and season until you’ve used all the apple rings. Press top layer with hands so that the surface is even. Cover with parchment paper that has been cut to fit inside pie tin. Cut a penny-size hole in the center of the parchment to let steam escape. Bake for two and a half hours until soft. Remove from oven, and let stand for 30 minutes. Gently flip onto a plate, and serve sliced with roasted foie gras, as Wise does at Craft; sweetbreads; venison; or duck breast. (The cake may also be refrigerated and served cold.)