All evidence points to the fact that President Obama and First Lady Obama have an obsession with apples. Rather than flowers, the President keeps a bowl of apples front and center in the Oval Office on his coffee table, and similar bowls are all over the East and West Wings. An apple is part of the graphic logo for Mrs. Obama's Lets Move! campaign. Apples are frequently used for decorating, most recently for the State Dinner for South Korea, where hundreds of apples loaded the floral centerpieces and garlands (these were then recycled into this amazing apple decoration) There are just three fruit trees on the 18-acre grounds, and two are apple trees.* Last year's National Turkey, pardoned for Thanksgiving by the President, was named "Apple." His stunt double was named "Cider."
In 2009, President Obama nicknamed Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses (l) "The Crust Master," thanks to his delirious pie crusts that are made with both butter and lard. But Yosses could just as easily be called "The Apple Master," because he shares the apple obsession. Yosses has just issued his fifth White House recipe starring apples.
Yosses' White House Apple Pie is such a showstopper it was served as the dessert for the "quintessentially American" State Dinner in honor of China's President Hu Jintao. There's also White House Holiday Apple Cake, and the kid-friendly White House Baked Apples, which does double duty as dessert or breakfast. Yosses also has a different recipe for Baked Apples, which uses that "controversial" White House Halloween treat, dried fruit. Yosses' newest recipe, Roasted Apples with Blue Cheese, also uses dried fruit. It's both savory and sweet, and is made with artisanal honey, dried pears, and Maytag Blue Cheese for a perfectly seasonal dessert. It's a snap to create.
White House Roasted Apples with Blue Cheese
*Preheat oven to 475F
2 large Gala Apples cut into half vertically
Two Tbls Lemon Juice
3 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Artisanal Honey
4 dried Pears cut into dice
1 chunk Maytag Blue Cheese, enough for four Tbsp
1. Cut and core Apples, grease a baking pan with olive oil and lemon juice, and place Apples flesh side down.
2. Bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes until tender, but not collapsed.
3. Remove and allow to cool.
4. Place cut side up on a baking sheet.
5. Dice dried Pears and place in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup honey.
6. Simmer for 10 minutes and then strain liquid out.
7. Scoop Pears into center of each Apple.
8. Place one tablespoon of Maytag Blue Cheese on top of each Apple, over Pears, and place in 425F oven for 8 minutes until cheese melts.
9. Remove from oven, serve warm.
*Makes four servings
*White House fruit trees: There are just three fruit trees on the 18-acre White House campus, and two are apple trees. There's a decorative Crab Apple tree by Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden, and a Red Delicious apple tree in the Children's Garden. It's still young, and not yet fruiting, according to White House Chief Horticulturalist Jim Adams. The tree replaces an old tree that was downed in a winter storm in 2010. But it is doing well, Adams recently told Obama Foodorama.
The third fruit tree is also by Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden: It's a fig tree, descended from a Marseilles fig grown by President Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, and donated to the White House in 2009 for Mrs. Obama's garden, where there are two special beds in honor of Jefferson. The fig tree fruited for the first time this Fall.
*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; Yosses photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ ObamaFoodorama.com