Baked Apples and My Dad

Friday, 8 February 2013

I’ve inherited many things from my Father.  Very fine, flyaway hair, the ability to fall asleep in front of a film (drives my husband nuts), general untidiness and food fads that seem to go on for years. (how many times do I mention porridge on this blog..?).  From the age of ten it was just Dad and I and neither of us had a clue how to cook...  There was the phase of the frozen packet meal closely followed by the years of the jacket potato, sometimes the frozen packet meal with a jacket potato.  For more years than I can remember my Dad followed up every meal with a baked apple.  I never took part in this pudding, most likely because I’d found something more interesting and far less healthy to eat in the frozen food isle.  Baked apples did not appeal to the teenage me.  Last weekend was the first time I tried a baked apple and I declare it to be absolutely delicious.  Clearly my Dad was no fool, keeping the wonder of baked apples to himself for all those years.  I jazzed mine up a bit, adding dried fruit and nuts, a sprinkling of demerara sugar and a little butter.  As with baking other fruits, the naturally sweet juices are released leaving you with a soft, sweet and mouth watering dessert.  The crunch from the nuts and tartness of the dried fruit is the perfect accompaniment.  Ice cream or yoghurt finish it off nicely.  Next time my Dad is visiting, I may have to reintroduce him to the baked apple and see if they are still good friends.
Baked Apples inspired by Dad and Sprouted Kitchen
Serves 2
2 apples (I used royal gala)
1 – 2 tablespoons dried cranberries*
1 – 2 tablespoons roughly chopped pecans*
1 – 2 tablespoons flaked almonds*
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Knob of butter
½ tablespoon demerara sugar or to taste
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F
Slice off the top of the apple about a quarter of the way down and scoop out the centre.  I don’t have an apple corer so I had to hack at it with a knife.  *The amount of fruit and nuts you need corresponds to how much of a hole you managed to create in your apple.
In a small bowl mix together the dried cranberries, nuts and cinnamon.  Place the apples in a baking dish.  Fill with the fruit and nut mixture and cover with the apple tops.  Put a generous knob of butter on each and then sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for about an hour but check after 45 minutes.  Mine began to get a little burnt so I covered them with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent further burning.  Once they are cooked the apples should yield when poked with a knife.  Serve with the juices from the pan.
My Dad, who also instilled in me a love of walking, something else I didn’t appreciate until I was past my teenage years.


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