I'm a big believer in finding uses for cooking equipment that go beyond the specific purpose for which they are made. For example, you might think a rice cooker can only be used for making rice, but did you know it can also make some of the creamiest mac and cheese you've ever tried? Or how about a waffle maker, which we use in our house to produce The World's Greatest PB&J?
As weelicious readers well know, I have a great deal of affection for my panini maker. But if you think I spend a lot of time coming up with fun new recipes for it, you don't know Cathy Strahs of Panini Happy. She's the maestro...make that the madame...make that the princess of the panini press!
Cathy's new book The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook is bonkers good. I went through half a stack of Post-It's marking all the recipes in it that I wanted to make for school lunch before deciding to start with this luscious Apple Pie Panini. I mean, doesn't the name alone seduce you into wanting to try it?
If you have never lightly buttered a slice of bread, sprinkled a touch of brown sugar on it, and then placed it in your panini maker, please run and do so right now. As I rarely make anything as decadent as these Apple Pie Paninis, both of my kids thought I had been swapped for another mom when they discovered these in their lunch box. Toasted cinnamon raisin bread layered with crisp apples and a sweet creamy filling, signaled for them that lunchtime was about to get even better. And if you get Cathy's book, I think you'll find that things will brighten in your world too!
Apple Pie Panini (makes 4 panini )
- 1/2 cup mascarpone or cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 tablespoons Butter, room temperature
- 8 slices cinnamon raisin bread, sliced from a dense bakery loaf
- 1 granny smith or other firm apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1. In a small bowl with a whisk, or in a mini food processor, whip the mascarpone and honey together until well combined and fluffy.
2. Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.
3. For each sandwich: spread butter on two slices of bread, flip over and spread 1 tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture on each slice, top one slice of bread with apple slices, and close the sandwich with the other piece of bread, buttered side up.
4. Sprinkle brown sugar on top.
5. Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the filling is warm and the bread is toasted, with a sweet crust, about 3-5 minutes.