America's apple harvest is in this year, and by most accounts, it's bounteous. To celebrate, GBH's resident chef, Emily Berman pulled together a super-easy recipe for making some spiced apple chips, paired with a new favorite beer, the Triomfbier Voorut, in honor of the annual Coast To Coast Toast celebration for the former Vanberg & DeWulf import portfolio. Yeah, that's a lot to celebrate. I'll break it down real quick.
Vanberg & DeWulf was originally founded by Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, two pioneers in their love of Belgian and French beers, who began importing brands like Saison DuPont, over thirty years ago. Since the duo retired, they entrusted their prized portfolio to Total Beverage Solution, an importer in South Carolina, who is now continuing the tradition of collaborating in the beer-making process itself, working with breweries to invent new profiles for the American market and bring old recipes back to life. Triomfbier Voorut is made in that vein — a Belgian amber with a little smokiness from the smoked crystal malts and a robust, rounded malt flavor, sweet orange peel, and a touch of grapefruit and hop bitterness. Brewed at Brasserie Dupont, the beer celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Vooruit art center in Ghent, and is being brought to the US for the first time.
To resonate with that smoky, citrusy profile, we gave this apple chip recipe a little cayenne kick. The bright, tannic apple flavor is a perfect contrast to the smoky, maltiness of Vooruit, and the herbaceousness resonates with the deeper complexity of the beer. And you barely have to do anything to make them! Raise a glass for the Coast to Coast Toast with us. Here's Emily's recipe:
Harvest Apple Chips
Yields 6-8 servings
1.5 cups water
1 cup sugar
A few sprigs fresh rosemary, thyme, and/or sage
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Make the simple syrup
Combine water, sugar, and herbs in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
2. Prepare the apples
Braeburn, Gala, Cortland, Fuji all work well, but best to avoid softer varieties such as red and golden delicious.
Fill a bowl with cold water and the lemon juice. This will help keep the apples from browning. Slice the apples into rings as thinly as possible, easiest on a mandolin slicer (careful!), to roughly 1/8 of an inch thick. Drain off the lemon water and then add the cooled simple syrup and cayenne pepper. Cover tightly with saran wrap and let sit for at least one hour, or up to 4 hours.
3. Bake the apples
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Drain the apple slices and blot with a paper towel. Arrange the slices on a silicone baking-mat-lined cookie sheet (you can just as easily use parchment paper), careful not to overlap. Arrange the herbs in between slices — as they dehydrate they will emit a lovely aroma, which, if nothing else will make the kitchen smell awesome. Bake for 1-3 hours, depending on the thickness of the apples, flipping the slices after about 45 minutes. Check for crisp, but not brown, edges. Let cool and store in an airtight container for up to a week.