Pommes Gratinees

A lovely dessert, Pommes Gratinees (pohm gra-tee-nay) is apple puree topped with light meringue mixture. It is best served cold, with vanilla ice-cream.

4-6 SERVINGS

1 oz. plus

1 teaspoon butter

3 lb. cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced finely grated rind of

1 lemon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoons apricot jam

TOPPING

2 oz. butter

2 oz. sugar

2 eggs, separated juice and finely grated rind of

1 small lemon

1 tablespoon flour

1 oz. fresh breadcrumbs

2 oz. plus

1 teaspoon castor sugar

In a large saucepan, melt the 1 ounce of butter over low heat. When the foam subsides, add the apples, .lemon rind and allspice. Cover the pan and cook the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes or until the apples are very soft.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the jam with a wooden spoon, beating until the mixture becomes pulpy. Return the pan to the heat and cook, uncovered, for a further 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

Remove the pan from the heat. Preheat the oven to warm 325°F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).

Using the remaining teaspoon of butter, lightly grease a 2J-pint baking dish.

Spoon the apple mixture into the baking dish and set aside.

To make the topping, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice and rind, flour and breadcrumbs and mix well.

In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they form soft peaks.

Gradually beat in the 2 ounces of castor sugar and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

With a metal spoon, fold the egg white mixture into the breadcrumb mixture, then spoon it over the apples in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining castor sugar and place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Remove the dish from the oven and set aside at room temperature to cool. Place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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