A few week-ends ago I borrowed a Panini press to experiment a little. I’ve had some good café lunches and wanted to try some of these recipes at home. As a result, we Panini-d our way through the entire week-end and this Apple Pie Dessert Panini with Salted Caramel was born.
I don’t have very many kitchen appliances and I don’t follow too many food fads and now I know why. I become slightly obsessed with a new toy or idea, and I make a ridiculous amount of food with it for a while. Remember the cupcake craze? I didn’t just make cupcakes for every acquaintance I knew, I opened a cupcake shop and made thousands! That cupcake craze nearly did me in. And when I bought our first deep fryer? This place smelled like a fish and chip shop for weeks. Our arteries are still recovering. So yup, when I borrowed that Panini press, I dashed to the grocery store and bought all kinds of breads, meats and cheeses and melt-y things to put inside. I became a bit of a freak about it, grilling something, and then wiping it down and trying something new. I’m not kidding when I say, I made something in it for every meal. As you know, I have teenagers, so when I started making grilled sandwiches again for dinner, a lot of eye rolling ensued. It was getting to be time to back away from that Panini press, before I started planning my next sandwich shop. I’m not even kidding.
But I lured those teenagers back with dessert (I’ll take any small victory with my teens at this point)! I presented them with some golden raisin bread, oozing with brown sugar cream cheese, cinnamon sugar and apple slices. I topped it with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce while still warm. All melt-y and sweet and gooey, this Panini dessert was a real winner. It was a fitting end to a week-end of Panini’s, and a super quick dessert to throw together.
Just to prove to you how over the top I can be, we ate this insanely good treat, and then I packed the press up to return it to its rightful owner. I had to get it out of here, before the next days meals rolled around. But not before I made a batch of homemade cherry pie filling, and showed up at their door with a bag of fresh egg bread, and ice cream. Then I proceeded to invade their kitchen and make dessert Panini’s for them.
Happy week-end everyone!
Apple Pie Dessert Panini with Salted Caramel
- 2 raisin bread slices
- butter to spread on bread
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar cream cheese (store-bought)
- very thinly sliced apple (you will only use 1/4 of it)
- cinnamon sugar (mix 1/4 tsp cinnamon with tsp sugar)
- vanilla ice cream
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Make the salted caramel sauce first. You will have leftovers, so cut the recipe in half if you need to. But seriously, why would you? In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes. Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce. Allow the caramel to cool. The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
- While the Panini press is heating up, butter one side of each slice of raisin bread. Flip the bread over, so the buttered sides are on the bottom. Spread the cream cheese on one piece of bread. Layer some apples slices on top of that. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon sugar, and top with the last piece of bread, buttered side out. Place on the press and grill for 3-4 minutes, until the bread is golden and crispy. Remove, slice the sandwich in half and top with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.