Apple Sacks

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Wrapping a filling in dough or a thin pancake is a fairly common but nevertheless appealing presentation used for both savory dishes and sweets. When wrapped in the fashion described here, the assembled items are also known as pouches or purses. Perhaps the best known of the savory dishes utilizing this technique is the Beggar’s Purse. This is made by topping a thin crepe with the highest-quality caviar and a little crème fraîche, then gathering up the edges, pleating them into a purse shape, and securing the package by tying it tightly closed with a strip of blanched chive. In preparing the Apple Sacks, however, you want to make sure that the top of the sacks are not fastened because they should open up as they bake to reveal the filling inside. The surface of the filling also provides a flat space on which to place the ice cream and the decoration.

The semolina dough used here is a type of pie dough and, as such, it is of the utmost importance that you start with cold butter and that the butter remain cold and in small chunks as the dough is being mixed. If prepared improperly, the dough can become tough and hard and no matter how decorative the preparation, the finished product will be unappealing. While the Cookie Tumbleweeds definitely dress up what is really a fairly simple dessert, they can easily be eliminated without compromising the great flavor combination of apples, dates, pecans, maple syrup, buttery crust, and ice cream. The crust itself should provide plenty of crunchy contrast.

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Ingredients

Method

  1. Roll out the semolina dough to ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick and cut out rounds, 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Place the rounds on sheet pans lined with baking paper. If necessary, layer the pieces of scrap dough on top of each other and let rest before rerolling; continue until you have cut 16 rounds.
  2. Brush egg wash over the rounds. Divide the apple filling evenly among them, using approximately cup (80 ml) for each and mounding it high in the center. Fold in the edges, making an overlapping pattern all the way around each circle and leaving the filling exposed in the center (Figure 13-8). Pinch lightly to secure, but do not press too hard; you want the sacks to open up as they bake. Brush egg wash over the outside of the packages.

  3. Bake at 375°F (190°C) until golden brown and baked through, approximately 40 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. While the Apple Sacks are baking, measure 2 cups (480 ml) reserved poaching syrup into a saucepan; save the remainder for another use. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds, adding them to the measured syrup. Discard the outside of the bean or save for another use. Boil the syrup until it is reduced by two-thirds to about cup (160 ml); let cool to room temperature. The syrup should have a consistency similar to maple syrup once it has cooled. If necessary, thin it by adding some of the remaining poaching liquid. Place the vanilla-flavored syrup in a piping bottle.
  5. Presentation: Place a warm Apple Sack in the center of a dessert plate. Pipe syrup in a thin layer on the plate around the dessert. Place a scoop of lemon verbena ice cream on the sack and top with a Cookie Tumbleweed. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds or chopped pistachios around the dessert, if desired. Sift powdered sugar lightly over the top of the dessert and the plate and serve immediately.

Figure 13-8 Pleating the dough around the filling to make Apple Sacks; pinching the sides while leaving the filling exposed on the top; an Apple Sack after baking