I have always been a fan of truffled honey on a cheese plate. I think it’s the delicate play between savory and sweet that is so enjoyable. However, I had never quite experienced the pairing of truffles, honey and apples until the night of my dinner at Terraza del Casino in Madrid. The restaurant is famed for the gastronomic delights of Chef Paco Rancero, disciple of the acclaimed Ferrnan Adria. To experience a meal like this is decadent, much like being in a candy store; inspiring, indulgent and fun, but by no means a satisfying approach to everyday eating.
The restaurant, designed by Jaime Hayon is Alice in Wonderland brought to life. It evokes the feeling that just about anything is possible. Big black and white checkerboard floors, a whimsical decor with oversized chairs and framed images, vibrant color accents. This sets the stage that anything can happen. Risotto is not rice, but olive oil molecules reconfigured and solidified into little pellets that resemble risotto. Most things aren’t really what they seem.
After dessert of Apple Soup with Truffled Honey, I started to consider the possibilities of apples, honey and truffles and conjured up a new, more humble recipe with similar notes. The result is what you see here, delicious, yet simple and healthy enough for an everyday kind of meal.
It’s the end of winter and I am looking to reinvent the wheel, tired of the same produce available at the market. So by now I am ever so excited by this new way to enjoy apples. With Spring underway it won’t be long before there are new fruits and veggies at the market to play with in my cooking. In case you find yourself in Madrid, here is a list of other highlights I can recommend.
Mercado de San Miguel: A recently restored market where you can find delicious tapas,
wine and other edible delights.
Bar Tomate: Lovely atmosphere. Delicious thin crust pizza. Interesting salads.
Chocolateria San Gines: Churros and chocolate is the tradition after a late night in Madrid.
Circulo de Bellas Artes: There is a sprawling cafe perfect for a break after seeing some art in the gallery. I spent many hours here when I was studying in Madrid my year abroad in college.
Reina Sofia: Everyone should see Guernica at least once in their life, as well as other Spanish classics. The museum structure itself was originally built as a hospital.
El Rastro: A fun flea market where you can find antiques and odds and ends.
Correal de Moreria: This is a great flamenco venue. Even though it’s mostly tourists, the atmosphere is lovely, authentic and very low key.
Truffled Apples with Honey, Walnuts and Currants
4 Golden Delicious apples
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for the dish
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons truffle oil
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, rough chopped
2 pinches sea salt
Preheat the oven at 350.
1. Core the apples using a sharp knife, leaving the bottoms intact.
Score a line around the top third of the apple to prevent the apples from exploding.
Butter a shallow baking dish. (I like to use an oven proof dish I can also serve the apples in later).
2. Mix together the melted butter, honey, truffle oil, currants, 1 Tablespoon walnuts, sea salt. Fill the apples with the mixture, some will pile on top.
3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until the apples are cooked but not mushy. Spoon the syrup from the bottom of the pan over the apples, sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts and serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle more truffle oil on top if desired.