These trifles of caramelized oat-rye-spelt clusters, vanilla-infused applesauce, and whipped cream are a riff on a classic Scandinavian dessert known as Veiled Country Lass. Belle de Boskoop apples, native to the Netherlands, are traditional for making applesauce, but other tart-sweet baking apples like Jonagold or Pink Lady will do. You can use just oats to make the clusters, but the rye and spelt flakes add a lovely nutty note.
4-1/2 lb. tart-sweet apples (about 9), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rye flakes
1 cup spelt flakes
4 oz. (1/2 cup) salted butter, 2 oz. melted and 2 oz. cut into 4 pieces
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
Combine the apples, sugar, vanilla seeds and pod, if using, and 1/2 cup water in a heavy-duty 4-quart saucepan. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water 1/4 cup at a time if the apples become dry, until broken down into a chunky sauce, about 30 minutes. Transfer the applesauce to a medium bowl and add the vanilla extract, if using. Let cool and then refrigerate until chilled, about 1-1/2 hours. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pod, if used.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Toss the oats, rye, and spelt with the 2 oz. melted butter on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread in an even layer and bake, stirring once, until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Melt the remaining 2 oz. butter with the brown sugar in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely melted and bubbling slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the hazelnuts and toasted grains, and toss until clusters form. Spread the clusters on a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.
In ten 8- to 10-oz. parfait glasses, alternate two 1/2-cup layers each of applesauce and clusters, starting with the applesauce.
In a large chilled bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, whip the cream on medium-high speed to medium-firm peaks, about 2 minutes. Top the trifles with the cream and serve.
Make Ahead Tips
The oat-rye-spelt clusters can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored at room temperature, and you can assemble the trifles up to 2 hours before serving.