Red wine reduction is a simple yet sultry addition to the caramel that enrobes these apples. Its rounded, fruity acidity balances the sweetness, making a fall favorite feel particularly special.
MAKES 8 APPLES
ACTIVE TIME: 30 MIN START TO FINISH: 1 HR
- 8 small McIntosh apples, stemmed, washed well, and dried
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
EQUIPMENT: 8 wooden ice-pop sticks; a candy thermometer
- Insert a wooden stick halfway into each apple at stem end. Line a tray with wax paper and lightly grease paper.
- Boil wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 21/2- to 3-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Add reduced wine (mixture will bubble up and steam) and swirl pan. Add cream and simmer, stirring, until incorporated, then continue to simmer until thermometer registers 238°F. Remove from heat and cool to 200°F.
- Holding apples by the sticks, dip them in caramel and swirl to coat, letting excess drip off, then hold apples up (stick end down) for about 15 seconds to allow more caramel to set on apples. Put caramel apples, stick side up, on greased wax paper and let stand until caramel firms up, about 30 minutes.