Saturday, October 11, 2014

#WinePW...Fall Fruits and Wine Pairing

My friend, Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited me to another party!!  You might remember Camilla from our #10DayofTailgate event or from Cook the Books.  She is definitely the hostess with the mostest and I appreciate her including me in her parties, especially since I am usually a pain in her neck with question after question until posting day.

This is a very cool party because it not only includes food but wine as well.  The challenge to the participants is to make a recipe that goes along with the theme of the party, this month fall fruits and then find a wine that pairs nicely with the recipe.

I immediately knew that I wanted to use apples because the area in which I live is known for their apple crop.  My favorite apples from this area are Macintosh, Paula Reds and Honey Crisp, all of which I used in this recipe.  I was going to make a savory dish but I really wanted to stick with local products.  Northwest Michigan is a large winery area however I prefer red wines with savory dishes and unfortunately Michigan reds are not to my liking.  They are not hearty enough.  I prefer a California Cabernet.  I prefer a very dry wine and I haven't found any wine region anywhere in the world that makes red wines that I prefer over California reds.  I also prefer California wines when it comes to a Chardonnay but if you are looking for a fruity or sweet white wine....Michigan does a great job!!

There are several wineries that I go to whenever I get to northern Michigan.  I love Chateau Chantel and I have even "babysat" the winery/B&B a couple of times many years ago while the owners went on weekend visits to their daughter, Chantel, who was attending college in Chicago.  The winery is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Another popular winery is Chateau Grand Traverse, also on Old Mission Peninsula in northern Michigan.  It has a beautiful view and is another of our regular stops.  But the wine I chose to showcase in this pairing is a Late Harvest Riesling from Black Star Farms.  I love staying at the Inn at Black Star Farms.  The rooms are lovely and luxurious.  They have happy hour each evening where the guests are given wonderful appetizer to enjoy with the wines they are serving.  Their grounds are beautiful and offer snow shoeing and x-country skiing in the winter and hiking during the rest of the year.  They also have a wonderful tasting room that not only features their wines but has an artisanal cheese maker on site who makes delicious cheeses to have with your wine.  Black Star Farms has many wonderful dessert wines, including wines made from fruits other than grapes and excellent ice wines that are like liquid gold.  They also make fruit brandies that are presented with a whole fruit in the bottle.

I had in mind for this challenge to make an apple caramel tart but I changed my mind because I got hungry for an apple cake.  My mother used to make an apple cake for me each year for my birthday. It was basically just a yellow cake with apple slices baked inside and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top.  I am not a frosting fan so this cake was perfect for me.  So it was with this cake in mind that I created the cake I made to serve with this Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling.

I wanted my cake to be a little bit fancier than my past birthday cakes but I still didn't want frosting so I decided to make a carmelized topping and the easiest way I know of doing this is by making an upside down cake.

Melt the butter in the bottom of a cast iron skillet.
Add the almonds and allow them to cook a bit, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with brandy and then the brown sugar.
Arrange the apples on top in a pleasing pattern.

Spread the cake batter over the apples.
I decided to add diced apples to the batter to enhance the fruit flavor.

Bake at 375* for 40-50 minutes
Place a baking sheet under the pan while it bakes, some of the caramel oozed out and dripped.
Let cool for 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges and turn cake out onto a serving platter.

Caramelized Almond Apple Upside Down Cake

1/2 c. blanched, sliced almonds
5 apples of your choice (I used Paula Reds, Macintosh and Honey Crisp)
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. almond extract, divided
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, divided (1/4 c. softened)
2 t. brandy
1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. sour cream
2 c. unbleached, all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. ground nutmeg

Peel and Core 3 of the apples (I used 2 Paula Reds and 1 Macintosh) and cut into 8ths. Sprinkle with lemon juice, 1 t. of the almond extract and the cinnamon. Toss to coat apples evenly.

Melt 1/4 c of the butter in a cast iron skillet over med high heat.  Add sliced almonds and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds.  Remove pan from heat.  Sprinkle nuts and butter with brandy. Distribute brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apple slices attractively on the brown sugar.

Peel, core and chop the remaining 2 apples (I used Honey Crisp) and set aside. Place the softened 1/4 c. butter into the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat until blended.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each.  Add the flour, baking powder, milk, sour, cream and nutmeg.  Beat at low speed until moistened and then beat until well blended.  Fold in chopped apples.  Spread batter over the apples.  Bake in a preheated 375* oven for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges and turn onto a serving platter.  Print Recipe

The cake and wine paired perfectly.
The wine was crisp and fruity, slightly sweet but not overbearing.

A perfect Michigan Pairing.

Wine Pairing Weekend # 5 Bloggers: Be sure to check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the October Wine Pairing Weekend!

On the Menu...

Pumpkin Lasagna with Halter Ranch's Côtes de Paso by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Squash and Sausage Soup with Pumpkin Cornbread and McKinley Springs 2010 Bombing Range Red by Tasting Pour
Linguine with Roasted Carnival Squash and a Garnacha by Cooking Chat
Pinot Vs. Syrah - Pork Tenderloin with Fig & Apple Sauce by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Forgotten Fire Late Harvest Riesling and Warm Apple Crisp by Grape Experiences
Wines for a Sweet & Savory Fall Harvest Meal by foodwineclick


  1. That looks tasty! Always enjoy a good dessert pairing. Yum!

  2. Holy moly that looks delicious. And, no, you're not a pain in my neck! You are always welcome at my parties, Wendy. Thanks for cooking - and sipping - for #winePW.

  3. Way to keep it local! I loved the sounds of this dessert. Apples do remind me of fall desserts.

  4. Wow! That upside down cake looks amazing. I've only had pineapple upside down cake, but you've got me thinking apples now! And the late harvest Riesling is a great choice for pairing! Welcome to #winePW

    1. Thank you Martin, I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to next months pairing.

  5. Sounds like a delicious pairing. You've reminded me of a delicious apple cake recipe I have. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Oh my favorite thing about fall is the apples. I just ordered a bushel of fugi apples from North Carolina. This will be a first for fugis. I usually get Galas but the lady who gets them said the fugis were the best this year. And I love a great glass (or bottle) of wine. I like my sweet, but not too and I don't care if it is red or white. I just love wine!

    1. Me too Paula but I like a dry wine, so dry that your mouth feels chalky afterwards.


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