Sure the name doesn't sound quite as nice as "Twenty-hour apples" from Pierre Herme, but I couldn't quite spare twenty hours when I started these. The sliced apples went in the oven the night before, for their marathon 10 hour bake, but had to come out before I went to work the next morning, which meant a total bake time of 9 1/4 hours. I did however, manage to give them their full 10 hour chill, before using them in Pierre Herme's Melody Cake.
Considering that the apples were a little shy on the bake time, I'd say they turned out really well. Of course, never having had actual "Twenty-hour apples", it's hard to compare. Once baked and chilled the apples are tender and yet still surprisingly strong. They should still be handled with care but can be removed from the baking dish fairly easily with an offset spatula.
I was expecting the resulting apples to be a lot more caramelized than they turned out, but the flavor was still great. The orange peel leaves a distinct citrus note, but the apple still comes through in the end, and the addition of sugar and butter nicely balances the taste.
If I was going to make them again though I'd consider giving them more wow. I think adding cinnamon and a touch of apple wine to the baking process would make these apples perfect for using in a tart or served simply over custard. The recipe makes a lot of apples so I'll have lots of opportunity to experiment.
Twenty Hour Apples
4 lbs sour apples like Granny Smith
sugar to taste - about 1/4 - 1/2 cup depending on the sweetness of the apples
about 1/4 cup melted butter
The original recipe calls for the rind of one orange, but I think I'll try cinnamon, or cardamon next time, but you could add anything you wanted to infuse the apples.
Heat the oven to 175 F.
Peel the apples, half them and then using a melon baller remove the seeds and then cut them crosswise into very thin slices keeping them together. Once sliced fan the apples out slightly using your hands and spread them somewhat evenly in a baking dish, but don't worry about them being perfect, pile them up. You'll end up with a few layers. I used an 8x11 glass pan. Create the first layer and then brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar and then spices.
Once all the apples are layered in the baking dish wrap the whole thing well with plastic wrap to create a tight seal. Poke a few holes in the top and place two oven proof dishes on top of the apples, without covering the holes, to add weight while baking. All the surface will not be covered and that's fine.
Bake the apples with weights for 10 hours. The oven is not hot enough to melt the plastic wrap, so don't worry about doing this.
Once baked remove the dish from the oven and refrigerate for another 10 hours. Once they are finished this process they can be used in whatever you like. On ice cream, in ice cream, in a pie...