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  Snow Food: Peasant Girls in the Mist 13 Feb 2006  
Apple desert

In the United Kingdom we eat more apples than any other fruit. And they're very popular with some of our European neighbours as well. So perhaps it's not surprising that, when it comes to traditional desserts, here and in northern Europe, the apple figures so much as an ingredient.

In the next of our series on Snow Foods, Anna McNamee joins the cookery writer Diana Henry in her kitchen where Diana is using apples to prepare an old-fashioned desert with a fairy tale name that is popular in both Norway and Denmark.

PEASANT GIRLS IN A MIST

serves 4
The name of this old-fashioned dessert, which both Norway and Denmark lay claim to, always makes me think of Scandinavian children out gathering apples in their aprons. It’s also known as Veiled Farm Girls, and Peasant Girls in a Veil; I suppose the veil or mist refers to the blanket of cream. You can use white or brown breadcrumbs, even brioche crumbs if you want something sweeter, but I like a mixture of rye and white breadcrumbs best of all. I also prefer the apple sauce to be quite chunky but Scandinavians generally purée it to a smoothness.

Ingredients
2 large cooking apples
3 tbs caster sugar
100g brown and rye breadcrumbs
25g unsalted butter
50g soft light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
300ml whipping cream
4 tbs icing sugar
a really good squeeze lemon
1 1/2 tbs toasted hazelnuts, very roughly chopped

Method
1. Peel and core the apples and cut them into chunks. Put them in a saucepan with the caster sugar and 2 tbs water and cook over a gentle heat until the apples are completely tender. Stir every so often and mash the fruit down roughly with the back of a wooden spoon. Check for sweetness - I prefer it not too sweet as it is being mixed with sweet cream and breadcrumbs - and put it into a bowl to cool.

2. Melt the butter in frying pan and add the breadcrumbs and the brown sugar. Sauté, stirring constantly, over a medium heat until the breadcrumbs are golden. Add the cinnamon and continue to cook for about a minute. Leave to cool.

3. Whip the cream adding the icing sugar and the lemon (add the lemon before the cream is too thick as the acid in the lemon has a thickening effect), then layer the stewed apples, breadcrumbs and whipped cream in a glass bowl - it’s nice to see the layers - ending with a layer of cream. Scatter with the chopped hazelnuts.



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