Pink Ladies and Other Candidates / by Anne

reclining pink ladies

I've been experimenting this week to maximize the deliciousness in a menu I'm cooking for somone's 40th birthday party on Friday.  I love this menu so much!  It's meant to be munchies, but for people who like interesting flavors.  Fun, fun, fun!

Apple slices with salted caramel dip will be one of the sweets.  I chose this item because I've been fixated on caramelizing sugar lately, ever since that flan.  More on flan some other time--that's a whole separate post.  Meanwhile, about these apples & caramel.

You might have heard that caramel pairs nicely with sour apples, to offset the sweetness of the caramel.  Well, does this really apply to salted caramel, the kind that is made from scratch with grey sea salt?  The kind that is full of depth, mystery, and even the remotest hint of bitterness?  After trying it with the lovely Pink Lady, I'm feeling doubt about the combo.  I tried this with a Jazz apple, which is one of my favorite apples, but it didn't quite do it for me.  I actually paired the Jazz apples with flan, and it tasted lovely, but I think it's because the caramel in the flan is mellowed by the custard. 

Right about now I'm wishing I worked for America's Test Kitchen.  I am a collaborator by nature and thinking into a vacuum like this feels a bit...slow.  I'll bet the people who work for Cook's Illustrated drive to work thinking, "Well, I sure love my job."  They get to do all of this experimenting and they have a bunch of co-workers to talk with about it! How cool would that be? 

My mom just arrived five minutes ago--she's visiting fora couple of days--and she asked if I have tried Fuji with this yet.  Well, no.  So I'll give that a whirl next.  What do you think?  What would you pair with a dark and rich salted caramel?