Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple pie in the sky goes awry

As you know, most of my posts and videos are spontaneous, but none is more obvious than today's (note the melted n'ice cream to the right).

It all started when I met Caitlin (who blogs for OpenSky; I'll explain more in a minute) on Twitter. She kindly complimented Hayden and I on the fresh concord grape jelly we used in Hayden's NB&J salad recipe, and even suggested we use apples in the future (concord grapes aren't always in season, so sometimes you have to mix it up a bit).

I had already been thinking about using figs, but since we were out of fresh ones (also a fruit that can be hard to come by, as it's not available year-round), I decided to combine Caitlin's suggestion (apples) with my craving (figs; at least I had some dry ones on hand).

Never one to turn down a good NB&J Salad, Hayden was well ready to have the new apple/fig version for lunch. But, since the jelly/jam/apple-fig butter (whichever one you want to call it) turned out so delicious, we also decided to make a yummy treat with it, too, in honor of Ms. Caitlin.

In our house, raw cupcakes are always the first thing to come to mind, especially since raw jams and jellies work so nicely as fillings and toppings. To change things up a bit, keeping it fresh and simple, we ended up turning another apple into a cup (sans the cake). We filled it with the apple-fig concoction and iced it with some piped spiced banana n'ice cream (there's your a la mode, meaning "in the fashion," much like the deals on OpenSky).

In the process of filming this yummy treat, my camera got tired of my "cashew cheesiness" (seriously; I said "cashew cheesy" right before it cut off) and abruptly stopped recording only a minute and a half into the video. Hayden and I kept on going to the end, making the cutest little Apple Cup sans Cake a la Mode ... and a very big mess.

When I went to upload the video (after I took some pics of the final product, thank goodness; you'll see what I mean soon), I realized what had happened and that we were missing most of our footage. Not knowing why this occurred, I quickly cleaned up some of our spills, cleared off the topping from the finished apple treat, etc., turned on the camera and did my best to summarize the process ... very quickly in case it happened again.

Unfortunately, this means you missed my tutorial on how to get your apple to perfectly fit in a reusable silicone liner to resemble a cute little cupcake, along with the hallowing it out process, filling it with Hayden's help and a much prettier n'ice cream swirl demonstration. Oh well, you can just imagine as you read the instructions below:

Apple Cup sans
the Cake a la Mode

  • Apples for each cupcake liner
  • Fresh Apple-Fig Butter (see below)
  • Spiced Banana N'ice Cream (also see below)
Fit the apples to their reusable silicone cupcake liners by first slicing a small section off the bottom to provide a stable base. Then, mark the size of the bottom of the liner on the now flat base of the apple (I use a round cookie/biscuit cutter, in the appropriate size, to gently mark the base of the apple).

Next, set the apple beside the liner. With a knife, lightly cut a subtle guideline around the apple, where it will peak out over the top. Then, cut around the apple in an angle, matching up the circle on the base with the guideline around the top. Now, it should fit perfectly in the liner (sorry that you missed my first attempt at taping this demo. I'll try again in the future. Until then, you can always just leave the outside of the apple as is).

Hallow out the middle of the apple with a melon baller, making room for the filling. Make sure to remove the part with the seeds, but be careful not to puncture all the way through the apple.

Fill the apple with the Fresh Apple-Fig Butter or chopped apple/figs mixed with the butter (still talking about the apple-fig filling, as there is no dairy on this site), similar to pie filling.

Top the whole thing off with a swirl of Spiced Banana N'ice Cream. Using a piping tool, like you would for icing, you can replicate that pretty soft serve look. Then, garnish with an apple slice or apple flower (something else I demonstrated on the original video attempt).

Fresh Apple-Fig Butter
In a high-speed blender, puree an average-size chopped gala apple (is about 1 generous cup when chopped; I leave the skins on for added nutrition and pretty red specks on color), along with some briefly soaked organic dried Turkish figs (about 1/3 cup when chopped), a squeeze of fresh lemon, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom to taste. Feel free to add a little of the fig soaking water to help blend the mixture to your desired consistency.

Spiced Banana N'ice Cream
In a mini food processor, process two frozen chopped bananas and the same spices as in the Fresh Apple-fig Butter to reach a soft serve ice cream consistency. To really jazz up this frozen treat, add a swirl of Fresh Apple-Fig Butter.


Hope you were able to follow all the directions and were at least entertained by the videos. Today was just one of those days. In the end, I probably should of just gone online shopping on OpenSky :-)

Oh, and what is OpenSky?

For those of you not already following some of the site's influential curators, like Alicia Silverstone, Brendan Brazier (this pic was snagged from Caitlin's blog; let me know if you want me to remove it), Kathy Freston, Alissa Cohen, Carol Alt and more, I'll fill you in; OpenSky is a shopping site/community where you can sign up to get access to great deals on products recommended by celebrities, experts, pros and fellow bloggers (it's a really elite group of bloggers that I, for one, would love to be a part of; I already know what types of products I'd love to feature on my page. Did somebody say cupcakes ... or at least products related to the tiny treat?). It's like they've handpicked them just for their followers; you've got to sign up to get in on the deals.

Some of the items are a bit extravagant and make you feel like a celebrity yourself (or for someone special, as the holidays are coming up), while others are just good prices on the products you buy anyway (for example, I got an excellent deal one time on some protein powder; I purchased the standard size and received a smaller one along with it for free). I've even seen Lori and Michelle of Pure2Raw have their products featured on the site in exclusive bundles (this pic is also from the OpenSky site on Gina a.k.a. the Fitnessista's page; again, Caitlin, let me know if I should remove it).

So, have you checked out OpenSky yet? What are your thoughts?


On another note, I'm excited to say that Whitney a.k.a. Eco Vegan Gal just gave me a shout out in her video yesterday. Thanks and right back at you girl. I really recommend checking her out :-)