I’ve never been a fan of baked apples. As a matter of fact, I may actually hate them. It’s one of those things you get at your grandma’s house. (No offense to grandmas!) You’d have dinner at her house and you ate everything on your plate just so you could have dessert, because that’s the rule. You’re praying for a big piece of deep, rich chocolate cake with heaps of sugary icing or some warm, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies or a triple scoop ice cream sundae and then, she sits a baked apple in front of you… and it’s got raisins in it, and bits of weird fruit and its brown and shriveled and mushy. And you try not to cry. Because it would rude not to eat it and you’d be admonished into sitting there until it was finished anyways because it’s such a “special treat” that she’d made for you.
So you can understand my disdain for baked apples. It’s not something I’d ever make on my own. However, since it’s this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, and I am committed to the task, I made them.
Well, now I am an adult and I get to choose which fruits actually go into the recipe- no raisins in sight! (I will eat a few, once in a blue moon, otherwise, they are not really something I have in the pantry.) I also get to cook the apples until just spoon tender and not to the consistency of a mealy, almost applesauce like hot fruit. These apples are peeled too, so they don’t seem so ugly and shriveled when cooked.
These small changes made a big difference.
The filling is a simple mix of dried fruits, nuts and spices. I used dried mango, papaya, apricots, and dates. I chopped some walnuts and mixed them with the fruit, added some honey and a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. There was actually quite a bit of this filling left over and I have saved it to top my morning oatmeal for the next few days.
The recipe said it could be served with ice cream, crème fraiche or whipped cream. Instead, I chose to serve it with a dollop of mascarpone that I mixed with a bit of vanilla sugar. I absolutely love mascarpone on baked peaches and other fruits (plus mixed in to various other dishes- like last week’s mac & cheese). It’s almost a “super food” in my book since it goes so well with nearly everything! The mascarpone was the true savior for these.
These apples were much better than I expected. I didn’t hate them. But they were not nearly of the same caliber of the Long, Slow Apples we made last year. Those were amazing! Sweet, velvety and delicious! These were fine, but really, it was no comparison to those other apples. Everyone here took a bite and turned their noses up. Spoiled! Apple pie, apple fritters, or even apple turnovers would have seen a better reception.
This is a dish I will share with my neighbors. I hate to let food go waste and since I would be the only one to eat them, off they go. One is plenty for me.
So that said, I won’t be making this recipe again. I also will not ever torture my kids and their future kids by making them sit at the table and eat baked apples when there must be some luscious chocolate dessert around someplace.
Please don’t let my prejudice discourage you from making this if baked apples are your thing. The recipe works and the flavor is quite good. They are also very pretty. You’d probably love them! Really! They are just not my thing.
While I cannot share the actual recipe, you can (and should!) buy the book and cook along with us. It’s great fun! Every Friday we make a new recipe. Looking forward to next weeks! For details and to see how others are recreating the dishes from this awesome book, check out the FFWD site.
Buy the book: