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Sugar-Dipped Pan-Seared Apples With Apple Butter

3 pounds Cortland apples, about 12 medium
1 cup apple cider
Pinch salt
9 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups lightly sweetened whipped cream.

1. Wash apples well; set aside 3 for garnish. Quarter and core remaining apples
(do not peel), then cut each quarter in half lengthwise.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine apples, cider and salt. Cover and cook
over medium heat until apples are soft and pulpy, about 25 minutes. Pass apples
through a food mill or a fine stainless-steel sieve set over a medium bowl, then
return pulp to saucepan. Add 6 tablespoons sugar and cook uncovered over
medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated and purée is
quite thick, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Peel and core 3 reserved
apples and cut each into 12 wedges. Place apples in a bowl, add melted butter
and toss well to coat. Sprinkle remaining sugar over apples and toss well to coat.
Lay apple slices individually in hot skillet and sear without turning, until slices
caramelize slightly, 7 to 10 minutes. Turn wedges and brown other side, 5 minutes.

4. Spoon sauce over gingerbread slices and top with whipped cream. Garnish
with hot apple slices.

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