PARTNER POST: Discover new ways to incorporate seasonal teas into your holiday cooking and desserts with Celestial Seasonings.
For an elegant winter or holiday dessert, these Calvados Mascarpone Topped Tea Poached Apples are a divine.
Poached fruit is a healthier dessert for this holiday season when decadence is the norm. Having a flavorful poaching liquid is key and this one is magnificent. With honey for sweetness, white wine for a key depth of flavor, a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean and one surprise ingredient make it a winner. I had one of Celestial Seasonings‘ Holiday Teas in my pantry. Their Nutcracker Sweet is a hand crafted black tea with “creamy, nutty vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon,” capturing the magic of the classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker Suite! It adds a certain je ne sais quoi, a mysterious, delicious undertone to this lovely dessert.
As I developed this recipe, I explored which apple varieties would work best. Golden Delicious were just too soft after poaching. Tasty, but impossible to slice nicely. Besides being flavorful, Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples kept their shape making them ideal for fanning. You’ll want to start cutting just below the stem end and make four almost parallel slices. It’s imperative not to slice all the way through so you can spread out the segments for an attractive presentation. Then you can garnish to make it fancy-dancy, with a dollop of spiked (or not) mascarpone cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Want to try another fun recipe for the season? Check out this Candy Cane Tea Chocolate Bark! Recipe here.
- 2 apples, peeled, halved and cored (Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet Black Tea bag
- ½ cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
- 6 tablespoons honey
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese Coupons
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1-2 teaspoons Calvados, apple brandy, optional
- Ground cinnamon, to garnish, optional
- Gently toss apples with lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside to prepare the poaching liquid.
- Combine boiling water and tea bag and steep for a minute or so. Add tea, wine and honey to a medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from inside of vanilla bean and add beans and seeds along with the cinnamon to the pan. Heat over medium until honey dissolves. Carefully add apples and cover with a round of parchment paper. Reduce heat to bring liquid to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, gently turning apples once in the middle of the cooking time.
- Remove apples to a large bowl. Reduce poaching liquid to about ¾ cup by cooking for a few more minutes. Cool this syrup, then pour over apples. Cover apples and refrigerate till cold, at least 8 hours.
- Before serving, whip mascarpone cheese with sugar, vanilla bean paste, and Calvados. Add ¼ cup poaching liquid and whip till soft peaks from.
- To serve, thinly slice apples lengthwise from a spot just below the stem, leaving the apple attached at stem end. Fan apples over individual serving plates and serve with a dollop of mascarpone cream, a drizzle of syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.