1 bottle Michigan Ice Wine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise (whole)
2 whole clove
5 allspice berries
½ cup Michigan lavender honey
2 Michigan Apples (Fuji, Gala or Pink Lady work well)
1- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
¼ c. + 1T powdered sugar
¼ t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
¼ c. sliced almond, toasted
mint sprig to garnish
2 pieces of puff pastry (use pre cut frozen squares available at most grocery stores)
2 T butter
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. sugar
1. In a 2 qt sauce pot combine ice wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, star anise, clove and all spice. Bring this to just below a simmer over a medium low flame (160-180°). The wine should be able to cover your apples entirely so depending on size you may have to use more wine or get a smaller pot. Allow this mixture to steep for 10-15 minutes.
2. Peel the apples and use a punch style core remover that will remove the core but leave the apple intact. Place your apples into the poaching mixture. Allow them to cook gently just until fork tender (apple should not be too mushy).
3. Remove the apples from the mixture and chill them in the refrigerator. Turn the flame to medium and begin to reduce the poaching liquid. Reduce the liquid by 50-60% until is achieves a syrupy consistency. Strain, reserve and keep at room temperature.
4. In a small mixing bowl gently whip mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with a whisk just enough to lighten the mixture. Reserve the 1 T of powdered sugar to garnish your plate.
5. Gently fill apples with the mascarpone mixture and allow both to cool.
6. When ready to plate, place the apple slightly off center in a small plate or bowl. Gently mound sliced almond on top and add mint sprig for color. Place cinnamon palmiers in a semi circle around the apple and drizzle everything with your sweetened ice wine reduction. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
To make the palmiers:
1. Preheat an oven to 450°.
2. Lay the puff pastry squares out on the counter and lightly brush them with melted butter. Sprinkle them liberally with sugar and cinnamon. Tightly roll them into a tube shape and chill 10 minutes.
3. Cut the pastry tubes into 3/8" circular cookies. They should look like small cinnamon pinwheels. Place them onto a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1" apart.
4. Bake until crispy and golden 8-10 minutes depending on your oven.
From the recipe file of Chef Steve Simpson