Having a Spanish chef can offer a leg-up when opening a Basque-inspired restaurant and cidery. So when restaurant vets Sam Fitz, Rachel Fitz and Cooper Sheehan opened ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar in Washington, DC, in 2016, the hiring of Catalan-born Alex Vallcorba made a lot of sense. The chef grew up in Barcelona but spent time in Spain’s Basque Country before solidifying himself as a respected master of cuisine in DC. To take it next level, the restaurant also produces its own ciders and Chef Vallcorba is known to add a few splashes to his culinary creations.
“It is amazing how many ways you can use cider in the kitchen,” he says. “We use it to braise meats, to tenderize octopus, reduce it for sauces and even make sorbet out of it. Using cider in our food also helps us limit our waste, which is something we try to be conscious of as a business.”
Though extra cider lying around doesn’t seem to be a bad problem to have, the chef got create with ANXO‘s rosé cider in this recipe for cider-poached apple terrine. The often loaf-shaped and layered dish — which is most often seen in European cuisine from French to Spanish — gets a fruitier definition in this rendition, focusing on apples over meat and, of course, cider.
“Our rosé cider has a beautiful acidity to it that balances the sweetness of the sugar and apple,” Vallcorba says. “It’s more complex than something like lemon juice, while still providing that much-needed break from the sweetness and richness of the rest of the dish.”
Made with both GoldRush and red-fleshed apples, the chef also says the fruit of the cider itself brings an extra layer of complexity to the caramelization of the apple.
And when pairing? A natural match-up. “This dessert is absolutely delicious with the rosé,” he adds, crediting the connection to the high-acid, fruity and refreshing qualities of the drink. “It’s important with dessert to have balance, and so while we still love our classic ice cider pairing with a number of desserts, it’s fun to have a less obvious pairing that helps elevate the flavors of both the dessert and the cider.”
Cider-Poached Apple Terrine
Makes 1 terrine
12 ounces ANXO Rosé cider
¼ cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, separated
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, separated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cane sugar
¼ cup cream
Fresh ground pink peppercorn, to taste
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
In a pot over medium heat, reduce the cider by half. In the meantime, peel one apple and remove the core. Slice horizontally into six round slices of even thickness. Poach the apple slices in the reduced cider with ¼ cup brown sugar and olive oil until caramelized. Layer the poached apple slices in a ring mold.
To make the brown butter crumble, mix together 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and flour in a bowl. Pour onto a sheet tray and bake in the oven at 350° F for 5 minutes, until golden-brown.
For the caramel sauce, add remaining butter and the cane sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the cream while whisking until it reaches a thick and smooth consistency.
To make the apple chip, slice the remaining apple horizontally very thin with a mandolin with the core included. Sprinkle with fresh ground pink peppercorn and place between two silpats and bake at 125° F until crispy.
To assemble, place the apple terrine on the plate and garnish with the apple chip. Create a nest of brown butter crumble and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.