Rustic braised apple quarters with raisins & toasted almonds
This dessert is simple to make, but pay attention, because the type of apple used will determine cooking time. 'Cortland' apples tend to fall apart in this dish, but 'Empire', 'Macoun', 'Jonathan', and 'Gala' will hold their shape. For a really rustic look, leave the skins on, especially of red apples--the color will tint the flesh. Serve with creamy yogurt or a slice of local Cheddar.
1. Juice one apple; set juice aside. Peel (or not) and core remaining apples. Over medium heat, melt butter in a 10-inch pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add apples and raisins and sprinkle with sugar, using an extra 1/2 tablespoon for tart varieties. Raise heat and slide apples back and forth in melted butter and sugar. After about 4 minutes, add apple juice or water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Pierce with a knife point to check if apples are tender. If tender, remove lid and reduce until syrupy and apples begin to color.
2. Add sherry, swirl apples in pan, and let it reduce, leaving just a little sauce. Turn apples and raisins out onto a serving dish. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve, warm, with yogurt, ice cream, or cheese.