It's chilly outside as we are feeling the signs of autumn. I'm craving hot sweet and spicy baked apples. It’s the perfect seasonal fruit and you can buy it on the cheap wherever you shop around town. Instead of apple cake or muffins, I thought, “Why not dress up the fruit and embrace it for the Fall?” It’s apple time!
Back in the 20th century, my mom used whatever kind of apple we had on hand. After all, baked apples aren’t rocket science. No bells and whistles for my family in suburbia. A bit of cinnamon and white sugar and the apples were stuffed into the oven. Once baked, a dollop of whipped cream was the special touch. Done. After all, it was a different era. Convenience food was big, whereas, home-cooking was put on the back burner except on the weekends.
This week I changed it up a bit. I used Fuji and Red Delicious apples. I stuffed each one with stuff in the pantry. Here's my European-style remake of mom's baked apples I ate when I was a kid.
Stuffed Baked Apples
(Nuts, Oats, Raisins)
(Nuts, Oats, Raisins)
2 Red Delicious Apples
Divide for each apple:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons European style butter
½ cup oats, uncooked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate shavings or chips, milk, dark, or white
Rinse and cut apples in half. Scoop out seeds, making a hole. Set aside. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter, oats, cinnamon, nuts, and raisins. Stuff each apple crevice with the mixture. Place apples in a baking dish. Fill with 1 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Serve right out of the oven. Top with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or grate chips. Serves 2.
It was a fun experience. A blast from the past. Eating a warm baked apple with ice cream topped with chocolate is decadent. The Red Delicious apple is soft and mushy like a baked apple should be, whereas the Fuji is crunchy. I suppose Granny Smith apples, the kind apple pies are made of, would be simply perfect. The season is young. One more thing: Save the crisp, fresh Fuji apples to munch on as is.
Garden of Apples
|Organic Apples Are Best|
During one harvest season time in California, I envisioned going to an out-of-town far in Placerville to pick apples (another superfood) off trees. I had images of meeting a friendly farmer who’d take us on a tractor followed by a couple of herding dogs. The autumn sunshine would warm us up while we carried baskets to fill with big, fresh apples. We’d climb on stools and pick nature’s finest fruit. Excited about the rural experience awaiting us, we drove down the winding road, off the hill, there was a glitch.
I didn’t see apples on trees. Not one. A big sign read: “No apple picking.” I left and drove up the road, but the farms and small stores all had signs reading “Closed.” Locals told me, “Tourists can’t pick apples.” I ended up at a busy tourist attraction. Pumpkins and Christmas trees were visible and for sale, and pricey fruit—including apples.
Disappointed I drove back up to the hill. I ended up at our local grocery store and picked up a bag of organic apples at a good price. Later, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who had endured such a wild ride at the apple haven. I was told by the apple organization that it had been a busy harvest time and we had come late in the season. There were farms, though, that did offer apple picking, but I had missed the apple boat. So my fantasy remains in my imagination until next year. Nowadays, it’s places like Apple hill, farmers’ markets, and supermarkets that all do sell organic produce and superfoods for you to enjoy.
Adapted from The Healing Powers of Superfoods: A Complete Guide To Nature’s Favorite
Functional Foods by Cal Orey (Kensington Books, Citadel, 2019). All rights reserved.