Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mele con vino, cannella e noci

I've been wanting to participate to Sunita's event 'Think Spice' in a while. I love spices, but I'm not used to cooking with them. Spices are not part of Italian cuisine much. We simply use olive oil, garlic, basil, parsley and oregano in most of our dishes.. I really want to learn how to cook Indian food, and how to master the use of more spices. So I love reading Sunita's rich roundups and thinking about making some of that gorgeous food.
But - there are actually very few extra spices that show up in some Italian recipes here and there, and cinnamon is one of them! So this time I can confidently present a truly Italian recipe (well, with my twists, of course), to Sunita's 'Think Spice' event centered on cinnamon this month.
The traditional name for this recipe would be 'Mele cotte', or cooked apples. It can actually be made with either apples or pears, provided they are firm, and if possible, small. They are cooked in wine, and cinnamon is added to it. My twists consist in using honey instead of sugar to make the syrup, and adding honey roasted walnuts.

Mele al vino e cannella con noci al miele / Apples with wine and cinnamon and honey roasted walnuts
Sorry if my doses are very lousy. I did this mostly by eye. In any case, take ~10 small apples, wash them, don't bother peeling them or coring them. Place them in a pot and add ~1.5 /2 cups wine. You can choose whatever you want. Red wine is recommended, as it gives the syrup a nice color, but in this case I used a mixture of white and red. In my opinion you don't need to use really super good wine. I had a few bottles open, leftover from parties, and so I mixed them up to cook this. Add ~2 tbsp honey (more or less, depending on how sweet you like your desserts). Add 2 cinnamon sticks. Cook, cover, until the apples are soft and the wine sauce is reduced to a syrup. If the apples are already done and the sauce is not dense enough yet, cook on high heat uncovered for a few minutes. If vice versa the wine is getting low and the apples are not done yet, add more wine. It took about 1h to cook my apples.
In the meanwhile, add ~1 tbsp butter in another pot, and 1 tbsp honey. Add ~15 walnuts broken into pieces. Cook for ~5-10 minutes, until the walnuts are deliciously covered by the butter/honey mixture.
Serve the apples warm or cold, covered by syrup, and sprinkled with the walnuts. They are a delicious and light dessert.
This recipe will also be one of my entries for my own event, the Fresh Produce of the Month, centered on Apples. If you haven't sent me your entry yet, please do so! It'll be a fun roundup. :)


Simona Carini said...

I have the same feeling regarding spices. As a reaction to the spice-less food of my youth, I am attracted to spices. I love mele cotte and cinnamon. The walnuts are really a nice touch.

chemcookit said...

Thanks :) - I'm glad you liked the walnut idea!

sunita said...

I am a fan of Italian food ...see, the grass is always greener on the other side of the lawn :-D...thanks for that lovely dessert recipe.