Any garden with an apple tree has windfalls, damaged apples that are no good for the table but fine to make a purée. The apples are cooked to a pulp, whisked until frothy, then whisked again with a couple of eggs which transform the applesauce to a delicate pale mousse. For grownups you can add a glass of sherry: “Pour the apple snow into grapefruit glasses and a drop of sherry into the center of each one”, wrote my mother in her kitchen book. The amount of sugar depends on the type of apple and I like a tart variety such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, both of which purée easily.
2-3 (about 1 pound) medium apples
¾ cup water, more if needed
¼ cup/60 g sugar, more to taste
2 egg whites
4 candied cherries
A glass of sherry (optional)
1. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Put them in a saucepan with water to half cover. Cover the pan and simmer the apples, stirring occasionally, until very soft and falling part, 8-12 minutes. Purée them with a stick blender in the pan, or use a food processor. Stir the purée in the pan over low heat until it holds the trail of a spoon, 3-5 minutes. Set it aside.
2. Choose a heatproof bowl and a saucepan that will support the bowl over hot water without touching the water. Bring it to a boil. Off the heat, whisk the egg whites in the bowl until almost stiff, by hand or by using a handheld electric mixer. Set the bowl over the hot water and whisk in the sugar. Continue whisking until the egg whites have formed a meringue that holds a stiff peak, 1-2 minutes.
3. Fold a large spoonful of meringue into the apple purée. Add this mixture into the remaining meringue and continue whisking over hot but not boiling water so the mousse thickens slightly, 1-2 minutes. It should be white and very smooth. Take the pan off the heat and continue whisking 1 minute. Taste, adding more sugar if needed. Pile the snow in coupe glasses or bowls. Serve warm or chilled. Apple snow keeps well for up to 12 hours. Just before serving, top each glass with a candied cherry.