Guajillo Apple Pandowdy

Blue Mesa Grill Recipe

2 cups sugar (divided use)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 1/2 pounds Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch thick
13  tablespoons unsalted butter (divided use)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (divided use)  
3 tablespoons Guajillo Purée (recipe follows)
1 cup flour  
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 egg
10 tablespoons whole milk
vanilla ice cream, to taste
8 ounces store-bought cajeta or dulce de leche

Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking pan or casserole. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 12/3 cups of the sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Add apples and toss to combine. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and Guajillo Puree to the apple mixture and toss to combine. Transfer apple mixture to prepared pan and set aside.

Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add cornmeal and mix completely. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine remaining 10 tablespoons of butter and remaining 1/3 cup sugar at medium speed until fluffy and smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla; scrape down the bowl to avoid lumps. Turn the mixer to low speed and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. When combined, add 1/3 of the milk and mix until combined. Repeat until all the flour and milk have been mixed in and the batter is smooth. Distribute batter evenly over the apples. Press the batter into the top of the apples using your fingers or a rubber spatula so that it settles in between slices in places.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the batter is golden and spongy to touch and the apple mixture bubbles on the edges. Let rest for 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Top each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with cajeta. Makes 12 servings.

Guajillo Purée: Bring 3 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add 6 seeded and stemmed dried guajillo chiles (sold at Hispanic supermarkets); remove from heat and steep for 15 to 20 minutes, keeping chiles submerged with a plate on top. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the soaking liquid, then drain chiles into a colander.

 Place the chiles in a blender with some of the reserved soaking liquid — start with 2 or 3 tablespoons — and blend until the mixture makes a smooth puree. Add additional soaking liquid if needed. Strain the purée to remove seeds and unprocessed skin bits; if mixture is too thick to strain, blend in a little extra water. Transfer puree to a small skillet or saucepan and simmer over medium to medium-low heat until puree is reduced by half. (May be prepared several days ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered; let cool before refrigerating.)

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