Pudín de Manzana
My grandmother used to say that there were always apples in Cuba. I’m not sure what she meant but it was an argument-ender. I thought of her when I came across an old Cuban recipe from the 1930s for apple pudding made with Bacardi rum. Though apples aren’t native to the island, rum most definitely is. I waited a few months to try it because, while we do always have apples in New York, I don’t always want them. Out of season, they’re mostly texture and water. Now that the markets are in full fall swing, I decided it was a good alternative to the pies and tarts I’ll be making once the holidays start. Somewhere between a fallen souffle and bread pudding, I served it with lightly whipped cream though next time I might drizzle it with a caramel or rum sauce (for a little more authenticity).
5 large apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (Golden Delcious or similar baking apple)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter plus more for greasing
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup dark Bacardi rum
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, finely ground
3 eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 6-8 cup ceramic mold with butter and sprinkle it with sugar. Make sure that the bottom and sides are completely covered and shake out the excess.
In a large saucepan, combine the apples, lemon juice, zest, sugar, butter, cinnamon, water and rum. Cook covered, over medium-low heat until the apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, stirring constantly. Stir in the bread crumbs to form a paste. Empty into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl or using a stand mixer, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add a pinch of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Gradually increase speed to form stiff peaks.
Stir 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the apple mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared mold and smooth the top. To prepare the baño de María, place the mold in a larger roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan so that it comes at least two-thirds up sides of the mold.
Place in the oven and immediately lower temperature of 375°F. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30-35 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Transfer the souffle baking dishes to a wire rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve, either spoon the pudding from the baking dishes or place a serving dish on top, then invert and gently shake to release. Serve immediately, with whipped cream, if desired.